It's Armchair Arcade Radio episode three, featuring the talents of Matt Barton, Rob Daviau, Bill & Christina Loguidice, and Chris Kennedy. I *love* this episode! Everything came together so beautifully; anyone who cares about classic games should not only download it, but take pains to preserve it!
Download the episode here (128K format).
This week I interview R.A. "Ray" Montgomery, author and publisher of the famous Choose Your Own Adventure series. If you haven't ever read one of these books, I strongly suggest you get your butt to the local bookshop and pick up a few--they're still very fun today (and they've been updated and re-published by the author's own publishing company). In the video, Ray talks about the origin of the series, what makes them so fun, and also shares some moving personal history involving the loss of his amazing son (who also penned some of the books).
Infocom games have been among the earliest emulated games you could play online (Telnet anyone?), but this is one of the better looking browser-based implementations I've seen, complete with multiple same game releases! Check it out here.
As many of you are well aware, I've always been a big fan of Infocom and interactive fiction. Although text adventures aren't nearly as ubiquitous as they were back in Infocom's heyday, they are still being developed and published today--and, thanks to the chutzpah of one man, Howard Sherman, they are becoming commercially viable once again. Sherman's company, Malinche Entertainment, is, to quote Sherman, "Infocom 2.0." I think you're going to really enjoy reading the following interview, in which Sherman talks about his ideas and goals to promote and support the interactive fiction community. Howard is a great guy, and I really appreciate what he's doing for an often underrated (and unappreciated!) genre. Big thanks to Howard and Malinche Entertainment for taking time out to answer my questions!
Thanks to Dan Chisarick on the SWcollect mailing list for the heads-up on the info for Waxy.org's posting, Milliways: Infocom's Unreleased Sequel to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It is truly an extraordinary discovery, as the post begins, "From an anonymous source close to the company, I've found myself in possession of the "Infocom Drive" — a complete backup of Infocom's shared network drive from 1989." There's even a playable version of "Milliways", the never completed sequel to one of the company's best-selling games, Hitchhiker's Guide. I'm flabbergasted and there's even a great story in the blog post!
THIS IS THE TEXT OF AN EMAIL I SENT TO MATT AND BILL. PERHAPS OTHER READERS WILL FIND IT INTERESTING.
Perhaps you gentlemen can help me. I saw Mr. Barton's article, "The Game of Dialog: Simulating Conversation in Games" from Sun, 09/03/2006 - 12:44 pm on your Armchair Arcade blog. I am a professor of linguistics and have developed patented NLP dialog software that has been largely ignored (though not richly advertised) by almost all game developers. I am presenting it at WorldComp 07 in Las Vegas at the end of June and wonder if you might no of game developers (serious researchers and decision makers) who may be attending that conference. I also think you might find the software to be a good article for your magazine as what the software can do is far beyond anything that was described in the review you wrote. If you have further interest I can give you more detailed accounts or previously prepared materials, but briefly stated the parser is developed from a theory of syntax created by myself and another linguist which we turned into software tools. As we use a very comprehensive technique, it makes knowledge bases by typing in sentences and then allows you to query that knowledge based with standard English questions. For example, if you type in
Well, it's finally over: Check out the results of the 12th annual IF competition. As you can see, there were plenty of entries and plenty of judges. The winner (no big surprise) was Emily Short, a very notable IF author whose game "Floatpoint" scored 113 points. Runners up include "The Primrose Path" by Nolan Bonvouloir and "The Elysium Enigma" by Eric Eve. Even my own humble entry "The Initial State" didn't fare as poorly as I feared, but came in at #28 with 63 points. Download them all and revisit the days when Infocom was king.
Her Interactive's fourteenth and latest entry in the Nancy Drew series, Danger By Design, has met with mixed reactions among fans of the series, and I'm no different. There are certainly some interesting innovations here, and I have to give Her Interactive credit for being willing to take the series in new directions and experiment with new types of gameplay. This is the first time in the series that Nancy Drew has actually fought an opponent in hand-to-hand combat. It also introduces one of the series' wackiest yet memorable characters, the masked Minette. Finally, like much of the Broken Sword series, it's set in Paris, a setting which never fails to provide amusing cultural eccentricities for the bumbling American. Overall, I must admit to being somewhat disappointed by Danger By Design, but it's nevertheless a highly playable and enjoyable game. The key problem is a couple of counter-intuitive puzzles that'll probably leave you stumped--a problem that must explain why Her Interactive decided to include "the official strategy guide" with the game. In cases like this, Her Interactive is its best competition--if we consistently compare each new game to past masterpieces like The Final Scene and The Secret of Shadow Ranch, we're raising the bar a bit high.