The "50 Years of Text Games" book is now crowdfunding!

Delighted to announce to my Intfiction pals that my book on the long strange history of interactive fiction (which I posted chapter by chapter on Substack and in the forums here during 2021) launched TODAY on Kickstarter. Find out how to reserve your copy now!

The book features:

  • The revised final version of each of the fifty game articles
  • 650 pages and over 200,000 words of text game history
  • Professionally offset printed with quality paper and ink
  • For the hardback, a beautiful faux-leather and foil-stamped cover
  • A lengthy introduction on the pre-history of digital text games , including fascinating early experiments from the 1950s and 60s
  • An introduction to each decade capturing larger trends and movements
  • Custom maps and diagrams to reveal each game’s structure
  • Extensive version and release histories for each game
  • A full index and research bibliography
  • Backer reward tiers with some awesome exclusive perks

If you’re planning to back, it would be AMAZING if you could make a pledge by end of day TODAY, of ANY amount . Projects with early backers get boosted in the Kickstarter system.

There are tons more specifics on the project on the crowdfunding page , including on the really cool backer rewards available. Thanks, and I hope you’ll consider joining me on this next phase of this project’s journey!



Wahoo! I’m in.

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Congrats on already funding your book! I’m excited to back it and read it when it’s out


Congrats! I’m so looking forward to this book.


I just backed this. Can wait. Congratz on hitting the 50k mark.

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Wow, first day is going great, Aaron! 2X for sure!


Congrats, Aaron – really looking forward to this! Also hoping that there’s like a secret stretch goal where you implement the full book in Inform :slight_smile:


Dang, way to spoil my mid-campaign reveal that if you read the book upside down and backwards while holding it in front of a mirror, it’s actually the 2nd edition of Creating Interactive Fiction With Inform 7 :joy::joy::joy:


I feel greedy to want even more out of this book, but I’ll say it anyway in case the contents aren’t already set:

I would really love to see Rogue and Nethack covered. Or just one of them (but I can’t pick which!)

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Rogue and Nethack are graphical games.

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(I know, I know, so is Super Star Trek. The history of roguelikes is well-covered in its own field, though.)


One of my favorite things about this series/book is that I gave myself a series of rules but allowed myself to break each of them every once in a while.

  • No roguelikes, except dnd (and arguably various others, but i.e. Dwarf Fortress has a ton of text-as-text to engage with. dnd came closest to not having any actual text to talk about, but the PLATO ecosystem was just such a damn interesting story.)
  • No games with graphics, except The Hobbit (and some modern ones like 80 Days)
  • No non-digital games, except Choose Your Own Adventure
  • No visual novels, except Digital: A Love Story
  • etc…

I highly recommend this approach and actually find it a lot more illuminating and interesting than rigidly sticking inside whatever boxes are important to you.

(All that said, there will probably not be any roguelikes covered in “Further Explorations.”)


How does this make sense?

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How does it not make sense*?

(*If you read the whole post which explains very clearly about how Aaron set himself clear rules but allowed himself to break each one in the case of very specific, interesting games to cover.)

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Because he didn’t actually say “but allowed himself to break each one in the case of very specific, interesting games to cover”

Very much enjoyed the articles online, so looking forward to receiving my backer copy of the digital book. Wish I could’ve splashed out for all the cool extras. Really cool to see it’s gone over $115,000 already.


I am going to try backing a second time to get a paperback edition. I ordered the hardback for the extras. I will mostly read the digital version due to low vision. I would definitely like to have the paperback as well.

Just a note: you should be able to adjust your existing pledge from your Kickstarter account page, and use the “Add-Ons” option to add a paperback to your existing order, which will probably be easier than doing a second pledge. Thanks for the support! =)

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I was able to do an addon. It was confusing though, it dropped the deluxe hardcover and replaced it with the paperback. I then had to do an addon for the deluxe hardcover. Should be good to go.

I am so glad this publishing venture is working out so well.


125 €, jeez. This better be good. :slight_smile: