Speaking of your blog, Chris, where is it? I was looking forward to a nice r*if digest when you mentioned it, but the link seems to be broken.
Hello, everyone. My name is Skye Nathaniel Schiefer; I am 24 years old and have spent most of my life in New Jersey (USA), though not by my choosing. I have a well-credentialed BA in Philosophy (of Religion, as opposed to of Logic), and a very impressive, grossly unfocused resume that could only serve to open unappealing doors. It’s been about two years since I graduated, and I’ve probably spent a little more of that time out of work than in it, stretching that post-collegiate “I-got-a-philosophy-degree” limbo state as long as possible among brief fits and starts of employment, in spite of the pressures applied by my creditors. Read between the lines, people: I LIVE AT HOME WITH MY MOMMY AND DADDY.
My interests, aspirations, and unfinished projects include a long essay interpreting Jason Molina’s music as a kind of philosophy of the blues, a screenplay and storyboard for an original film, a book outlining my scientific interpretation of the universe as a series of self-abstractions in which human society and technology represents the latest redefinition of the natural, a neverending stream of frustration with the oligarchical financial foundations of American democracy and the weakness of the United Nations as an international governmental body in a young global age, the occassional intricate, narrative mix cd, a couple of original videogame designs, and generally being an awesome and brilliant fellow.
My background regarding interactive media lies mostly in the realm of videogames such as (to name a few favorites and important influences) Ico, Earthbound, Silent Hill, Silent Hill 2, Super Metroid, Half-Life 2, Uplink, and Metal Gear Solid 3. I’ve spent the past few years analyzing such works among a forum-based community that does not shy from theoretical debate, and I take interactive media in general seriously a priori as an emerging set of formats whose fundamental designer/player joint authorship presents a new direction for artistic expression that is of ever greater central importance and contemporary relevance. As implied by this feeling, I basically consider interactive fiction to be the future of literature. I told you I was an awesome guy!
Although I am certain I was exposed to the text adventures of the '80s, I honestly remember the likes of TutorDOS more clearly than any games of that time. I was more involved with my Texas Instruments and Commodore 64 than the young personal computers available then. However, when graphic adventures became common, I played Sierra and LucasArts titles prolifically even during the golden years of the SNES. I never became involved in the modern IF community, whether or not I was aware of its existence or size. Then, last year, a member of the videogame forum I mentioned posted something of an announcement about Inform7. We all became very excited, and several members of the community authored their own titles to test the language for themselves (for example). Since then, I have habitually loaded up the I7 homepage just to browse through it for the umpteenth time and dwell upon the implications of a natural language development system’s existence.
About a month ago, something grabbed hold of me and I wildly explored every nook of the modern IF community, browsing, researching, and learning everything I could about the medium. I made an extensive, carefully selected and organized compilation cd including everything from a z-code implementation of Eliza from 1966 to the four Spring Thing 2007 entrants, as well as a library of mini-competitions and projects, documentation such as historical and theoretical papers, abuses and oddities, and installation files for interpreters. I also wrote a .txt file introducing the compilation and providing a basic overview and instructions. Really, the whole thing got started because I wanted to introduce my friend to IF, and somewhere along the line I became obsessive and took the project as far as possible. Unfortunately, it’s not something I can offer to distribute in any way since it includes z-code versions of all the Infocom titles, which Activision has not yet abandoned. Anyway, after I got done with this, I just sort of kept going, continuing to read about IF far more than actually reading IF, mostly because I am so impressed by the depth and sophistication of the IF community and want to soak it all in.
So I have a huge amount of IF lined up to read. Once I have – once I’ve seen how experienced authors have tackled certain prickly design problems, and once I’ve been generally inspired and blown away by everything and seen what I’m up against – I have no doubt that I’ll eventually write my own piece with I7. After all, I found all of this because of my lasting excitement for I7, so becoming an Inform author myself will be a wonderful bit of full circle closure as well as the start of a whole new adventure. In the meantime, I hope to talk about theory and design a great deal with you fine folks. I’m looking forward to it!