Same story as choice and parser IF?


Just out of curiosity: are there any examples of one story being told in both choice IF (CYOA) and parser IF versions? And if so, how do they relate to each other? Are they very different? Is one to be considered an adaption or a sketch of the other?

I’m thinking of maybe using Undum or some other choice IF tool, basically as a tool for myself in sketching out a (parser) IF story I’m working on. Instead of just using a pen and paper to do it. Does anybody else do this?

The only one I know of is my own Starborn (parser version here and hypertext version here), but it might not fit your requirements: the parser version uses keywords instead of a full parser and the hypertext version uses the same keywords except they’re clickable. Apart from the user interface they are practically identical in content.

Simon Mark’s game Vicious Cycles was a parser IF first, and then (much later) he adapted it into a CYOA-ish game using his Bloomengine system. I’ve only played the Bloomengine version, but my understanding is that it’s not very different from the parser IF version. Bloomengine, as I understand it, is designed to produce games which are half-way between parser IF and CYOA: they can have a world model, inventory and so on, but interaction with the world model is via links and buttons instead of the parser.

Yup, that’s not strictly CYOA as we know it, but it’s a field with quite a few examples of the same story told/played in both ways.

Infocom’s Journeyused a menu driven user interface over a Z-machine world model. This inspired a lot of stuff in the late 80’s/early 90’s, including spanish Aventuras AD’s “Aventura Espacial”, which used a similar system over a game written with their own customized variant of Gilsoft’s “Professional adventure Writting System” parser-based system.

But those were games you could only play using the menu. Soon there would be things like Rainbird’s “Legend Of The Sword” or all of the IF works from Legend Entertaiment. In these cases player was free at any time to select using either a traditional parser based input or a dynamically created menu with all the available actions (which could lead, if needed, to a sub-menu with all the suitable objects).

Inspired by the menu system used in “Aventura Espacial” I wrote a brief demo in BASIC for the ZX Spectrum which I entered into a spanish comp of experimental works some ten years ago. I later wrote the same story with inform in the traditional parser-based way. I must say, even when the diference between parser-based and this menu-driven UI isn’t as obvious as the diference between parser and pure CYOA, it still implies a very diferent experience and approach for both, players and authors.

(my experiment is playable on-line in its both incarnations here, but it’s in plain spanish and most modern browsers seem to complain against the java emulators I used back then, so don’t worry if you can’t get anything from it ^_^’)

So, gamebooks, essentially? But with clicking instead of page-turning?

Didn’t you also do a clicky version of Cloak of Darkness which would apply? (I was in the middle of designing one the labour-intensive way when that one came up. Defeat!)

I’m currently porting my visual novel CRS Escape to IF. (People that played it said it should have been IF in the first place.)


I was thinking more along the lines of “like point-and-click adventures, but with text”, but “like gamebooks, but with clicking” works too, as long as you’re talking about the kind of gamebook that’s strongly influenced by parser IF. I’m not sure to what extent this is built into the engine or just the design of the games built with it so far, but the options I’ve seen in Bloomengine games are pretty much all adventure game style: do you examine this object, pick it up, use it, go to this or that other location, and so on.

(You might have guessed already that I’m not particularly familiar with the world of gamebooks; I could probably count the gamebooks I’ve read on the fingers of one hand. I know gamebooks in the adventure game style exist, but I’ve never read any of them, so they’re not what comes to mind first when I hear the word “gamebook”.)

Oh yeah, I guess that counts too.