Is interactive fiction art?

I would hesitate to call Infocom egalitarian. At least, not in any way that we would recognize today. Brian Moriarty declared the Enchanter male in 1987–years after the Zork III gaffe. That gaffe, in turn, was new content that did not appear in the original PDP game. These things happened after Infocom became a company.

What is true is that, as an audience, we expect egalitarianism from game developers. I doubt many noticed or cared about oversights with regard to “everyone” and “anyone” at the time. We’ve evolved, but Infocom is unfortunately forever trapped in the 1980s.

Infocom’s only woman-developed game released in 1987, after the gray box had been retired. I think that’s too late to pass for egalitarianism.

The larger point stands, though: we’ve changed as an audience and expect different and better things than 80s customers did.


There’s a reason I put the “somewhat more” in there! Distinctly less egalitarian than we’d expect by modern standards, but at least acknowledging that women can also use computers.


That’s different. Amy Briggs and Liz Cyr-Jones were very well regarded as testers that gave valuable feedback and suggestions, so far as I know.

Regarding the content: they never had a handle on it, and messed things up after Spellbreaker. While porting Zork, too. There was no company push toward gender-inclusive protagonists. Some individuals likely cared, but if it mattered to Infocom as a company, Beyond Zork would never have made it out the door. It’s unmissable content: the first lines of the game.

“Our doom is sealed.”
Y’Gael turned away from the window overlooking the Great Sea. “The Guildmaster nears the end of his final quest,” she said softly. “When he succeeds, for succeed he will, our powers shall cease to be.”

Sorry to keep picking at this, but I want to hold them accountable for their decisions. I mean, I love the games and the people, but they were careless about this. They weren’t as good about this as everybody seems to think.

I’ll stop talking about it now.


[harrumphs to put away the ladder]


What type of tart?


You ruined it.


I think it’s subjective, just like art! :wink: