IF and the Album Flood

Interactive fiction, and in particular Zork and HGTTG, is mentioned in the book They Might Be Giants’ Flood by S. Alexander Reed and Philip Sandifer:

“Among the most popular early genres of computer games were puzzle-solving challenges, whether in an explicit manner, as in Cliff Johnson’s The Fool’s Errand and 3 in Three or the phenomenally successful 1993 release of The 7th Guest, or more implicitly, as in the adventure game genre popularized by Sierra and Infocom with titles like King’s Quest and Zork. This latter genre is instructive in understanding the emerging geek sensibility to which Flood so appealed. Adventure games focus on exploring a large world, interacting with people within it, collecting objects, and figuring out how to combine them so as to solve puzzles and advance the plot. … (Those familiar with the Hitchhiker s Guide to the Galaxy text adventure game might recall a similar ordeal [difficult puzzles with unorthodox solutions] in obtaining the elusive Babelfish - a squishy animal you’re supposed to put in your ear.) … There are some parallels with Flood in this respect, and indeed both were cultural touchstones of 1990–even if the game [King’s Quest] is considered a
nostalgia piece today. … it rewards the steady conquering of what initially seems an unmanageable flood.”

The book discusses how Flood fits in with the rise of geek culture in the early 90s. It is part of the 33 and 1/3 series of books. Each book in the series features a different artist and a particular album by that artist, and it discusses how the album fits into a wider social or cultural context. The series doesn’t, as far as I can tell, go into the details of how each album was made.


Makes Apollo 18+20: The IF Tribute Album even more appropriate. :slight_smile:

Flood and Apollo 18 were on repeat play as I was working on System’s Twilight and early Z-code interpreter stuff, 1993-4, yeah.

The book compares TMBG with another artist, Jonathan Coulton, who had a similar geek influence. Coulton sounds almost exactly like TMBG. The book also suggests other artists that can be compared to TMBG but that are not quite the same:
The Pixies, Weird Al, Devo, Moxy Fruvous, The B-52s, Wall of Voodoo, Camper Van Beethoven, Tom Lehrer, and Robyn Hitchcock.

I would add Jim’s Big Ego to this list. Any others?