Is there anyone writing about specifically text-centred IF in a such a way, not as to give an overview of all the games being released and trying to boost the whole community, but more from the point of view of calling out specifically those games – and generally only those games – that break new ground formally as works of art? And entirely omitting mention of the 80-95% of releases that tend to be also-rans, i.e. repeats of a proven formula?
Let’s say, using the distant past as allegory to avoid needlessly hurting feelings, that I were very interested in Adventure and Planetfall (because of Floyd) and Suspended and Deadline and A Mind Forever Voyaging, but not at all interested in Zork II or Enchanter or basically, most of the rest of Infocom. (None of this is true; I loved all the Infocom games, but I’m not as interested in playing plain retreads of the same types I played before, as when I was younger – even if those games were good and the retreads are good.)
There are plenty of critical magazines that take this kind of approach in other media (though they have been slow to come online), and with indie games in general there is also a growing number of critical blogs. Text IF journalism, however, seems stuck in a sort of cheering, ‘grow the community’ mode, which is great for the community but typically results in a very poor signal-to-noise ratio for someone trying to keep up with important developments in the field on limited time.
I ask this with apologies to anyone who believe they are already doing this on your blogs or other forums. I am sure that any inaccuracy in my perception would be due to the aforementioned limited time on my part, but I do perceive a gap here in what kinds of writing are done about text-based IF.
What is the best critical blog or website about IF that you read? Where you go to find out who is really innovating? I’ve read too many ‘explosion of new CYOA’ articles – I don’t want to read about an explosion. I want to read about only the stuff has a chance to move the medium forward.
Any help in my quest for enlightenment would be greatly appreciated.
P.S. Here’s what I don’t want though: I would be disappointed if this turned into an argument over what is the IF ‘canon’. A canon presupposes some kind of agreement of the elites over what is worthwhile. While I’m sure there is some informal agreement, I have always failed to find a point in designating one ‘official’ story on what is important in the literary and film worlds; those canons have been pretty decisively struck down as speaking from any authoritative place, and with good reason, so I don’t wish to see IF go down that road. Everybody has a different opinion and they should all be able to co-exist, and with that being fully acknowledged – who is actually attempting a more critical perspective on their blogs?