Proposal: New board directory "GameBooks"

“the actors are not the audience”

they are in IF

and thus, we may consider theater interactive if we take its true (small) audience to be the actors playing the roles

we may consider it specially interactive if we are to open a new section here for it. :mrgreen:

Thinking of the player as an actor in a play doesn’t seem like a good analogy. Normally the actors don’t significantly change their actions from performance to performance, but a player might.

Your post made me remember this interesting article, … birth.html .

There are some small segment of stage works which are audience-interactive; Ayn Rand (never a great example to hold up and be proud of, but eh) first made a splash in the US by writing a play in which a jury was selected from members of the audience and their verdict had an effect on the outcome of the play. I prototyped a CYOA song suite last fall where limited audience input (eg. choice a or b?) was needed between every song to influence which set of lyrics would be sung next. (Outcome: much work, small rewards. Middling novelty.)

Oh no there aren’t!

(Edit: that was a pantomime joke. Pantomimes exist outside England, right? Thinking about it now they seem very English.)

I feel some gamebooks are almost more of a domain of RPGs than IF or adventure.

Having said that, I’m not against the discussion of them in this forum… but if we have a board for gamebooks, don’t we need a board for CYOA? And then, don’t we also need a board for parser IF? Then don’t we start having a board for… and for… not to mention…

I don’t see the need for a separate board. We can discuss gamebooks quite freely.

In this moden era generic web searches will often result in erroneous or repeated links. The term ‘gamebook’ often finds search results directing you to board games, game manuals, or role playing games instead of the much desired ‘cyoa’ style “gamebook”.

I do realize that there is a TON of overlap between gamebooks and IF.
The idea is to provide assistance in finding well known and usefull forum threads.
A collection of links to gamebook specific threads.
A central guide for those whom may not see the crossover between gamebooks and IF.

The real question here, to my mind, is whether this particular board will ever truly embrace Choice games (whatever their nature, which includes Gamebooks), or simply remain firmly focused on traditional IF despite all the changes and advances in the broader “interactive fiction” hobby which have taken place ever since… well, ever since way back when I first figured out to ‘put babel fish in ear’.

I appreciate that some traditionalists hereabouts don’t really want us unclean Choice gamers dirtying their hallowed halls with our filthy perversions. I can live with that, so I mostly just lurk in the shadows to keep one eye on traditional IF developments. But believe me when I say that this ‘hardcore’ minority has tainted outsiders’ perception of this forum for at least as long as I’ve been signed up here, so the rest of the community here really has to decide whether that highly-vocal minority speak for you, too.

Like it or not, people, there are two main branches of Interactive Fiction on the net - Parser Games and Choice Games.

Your choice (no pun intended) is simply whether to embrace the whole of the hobby or remain fixated on only a part of it. That’s what this thread is really all about.

It’ll be interesting to see how many hearing this remembered to insert their own babel fish, or are still only hearing meaningless babble.

I certainly don’t have an issue with there being a separate part of the forum for Choice Games, or for CYOA for that matter. It might not be IF in the traditional sense, but it’s still IF of a kind; and if we’re going to be really picky about the definition of IF, then half the games written today wouldn’t have been classed as IF in the 80’s when the whole thing kicked off.

That question would work better if you phrased it in a more leading way. People remain focused on what interests them - how could it be otherwise?

Quoted for truth.

This particular board was born out of parser IF. We are interested in CYOA, but to be blunt, it’s not what drove most of us here.

A bit less of that, I think. Those are your words and I’d much rather you didn’t put them in our collective mouth.

Hmmm, you can put them in namekusejin’s mouth, he’d appreciate it, but only his.

EDIT - I’m sorry, I think I’d misread your post slightly, and I think my response is actually saying the same thing you were saying. I’m not sure that that vocal minority does speak for everyone, though - if you’ve been lurking, you’ll have noticed that every time someone comes off like you’re saying, they get stamped on pretty damn hard, because we don’t like that kind of hostile attitude either, that just leads to death of IF and/or CYOA. Which would be bad. We’re all for fair discussions, even if it means people saying how much they hate it - as long as it stays constructive, surely that’s helpful.

What we have is a free-for-all where everything can be discussed, CYOAs, gamebooks, even graphical adventures and RPGs and FPSs if we want to (and feel it’s relevant). I fail to see how separation would be better.

To be fair, GangsterFiction did say ‘some’.

The namekian is definitely the most vocal anti-CYOA person on this board, and it’s apparent to me that a majority of the best innovators in IF – zarf, emshort, matt w et al – are actually very curious about and accepting of choice type games.

The IFComp reviews that I read, however, make it clear that namekuseijin isn’t alone in disliking choice games for their own sake, and it makes me wonder if the others are keeping quiet because they don’t want to be associated with such a noisy crank? I dunno.

Returning to the actual discussion at hand, though; I think this space is best as a free-for-all space. I like that gamebooks can be discussed here just as easily as parser IF and I don’t think that splitting off boards is necessary.

Hmm, I’m guilty of misreading the post, methinks. Edited my respose accordingly.

That’s exactly it for me.

Parser IF is going the way of the dodo. Too bad! I’m finally old enough to tire of the repetitive mindless shooting with cutscenes in console games and now that I finally have true patience and time for IF and its breadth of action, riddles and puzzles, it’s being replaced by mindless clicking. (I actually finished one whole such cyoa without even reading anything)

hey, I’m sure most people are silent just out of politeness. Being a noisy crank is a bonus I get from using an anonymous coward Internet handle. :slight_smile:

I’m flattered but mostly confused. How did I get on this list? Are you perchance thinking of Matt Wigdahl, or of someone who posts on the board as often as I do but has written Matt Wigdahl’s games?

Namekusejin isn’t the only snarling anti-choice squid that we’ve seen here.

Yet there are some community luminaries speaking up in favor of choice-based games and experimentation - Emily Short and Andrew Plotkin come immediately to mind. I think there is and should be space for both here, and for the increasing number of people who choose to investigate both types of gameplay.

For my part, I still think it would be beneficial to open a section of our Authoring board that is specifically for choice-based systems, because that would send a clear message that choice-based authors are welcome here. But when I advocated for this previously, the counterargument (not enough discussion to warrant it) prevailed. That counterargument seems as valid for gamebooks as for Twine.

…with that said? I’d rather see authoring folders open for both gamebooks and Twine than for neither. Showing inclusivity is a good thing.

I am more than interested in choice-based games; I am much more likely to write choice-based work than parser-based work in the future (especially if under choice-based you include systems like StoryNexus, Varytale, and the custom-rolled system underlying First Draft of the Revolution). Years of work on the quality of the parser and on the tutorial help surrounding it have persuaded me that these strategies are never going to accomplish as much as I once hoped. We would need some very disruptive, novel solution, such as no one has yet been able to demonstrate, to make a classic command-line UI accessible or attractive to more than a very small audience. Indeed, I think the best and possibly the only way to get more attention on some of the IF community’s genuine interactive storytelling breakthroughs over the years is to present those elements of craft in some format that the larger indie game community finds tolerable to play.

To that end, I am interested in how to preserve a lot of the positive qualities I’ve generally associated with parser IF (and found lacking in much CYOA) under a non-parser surface. In this list, I’d include a rich world model, exploratory gameplay, systematic mechanics, and the possibility of puzzles. Actually, I’m lying. There are few parser IF games with systematic mechanics; I just wish there were, and I bring that interest with me to choice-based interfaces.

With that in mind, I’d be pretty interested in forums for Twine and for gamebooks, though my impression is that Twine at least has a thriving community elsewhere and that it might be difficult to get much traffic here if there’s split attention and a better audience over there. I would have guessed that some community for gamebook authoring does exist, but perhaps it doesn’t; whether it does or not, I would be quite interested in hearing more about the craft of gamebook writing, because I imagine it dovetails with issues about narrative branching and world modeling under a choice-based surface that I, at least, find extremely relevant to the future of IF.

Can you please define systematic mechanics? I don’t think I know this term.

The link to “systematic puzzles” in IFDB captures the kind of thing I mean: games where, instead of a series of uniquely coded and unrelated puzzles, there is an effort to consistently model a learnable system that the player can manipulate. This often allows for multiple solutions to puzzles, sometimes ones the author hadn’t anticipated; it’s also, in my view, fairer on the player.

I know there are Google and Yahoo Groups for gamebooks because I’m a member of them myself, but the only major forum I know of ended up dying a slow death after the administrator went mad*. I’m not sure a forum here for gamebooks would be a runaway success, but there’s no harm in setting one up to see what happens. Even if it fails miserably, I’m sure it’s a small task for the admin to set it up.

  • Random bannings, posts deleted, tyrannical rants, etc, etc.