Monday, 7 July 2014

A Fictionally Interactive Oddity…

…Or, why the death of the text-adventure has been greatly exaggerated.

What is a text adventure?

There are those that would dismiss text-adventures as gaming-dinosaurs that rightfully died out decades ago.
And to be fair I suppose it is now possible that a generation has grown up without ever seeing, let alone playing, the genre.

Or perhaps you only know them as their latter-life nom-de-plume of ‘Interactive Fiction:’ a name that a lot of purists loathe with a passion, and although I wouldn't place myself firmly in that camp, I must admit that I do prefer the name ‘Text-Adventure.’

So what is it? Well, it’s essentially a story-based text only puzzle game, where you communicate with the computer by typing in common-language phrases and the computer responds. This response may be based on any number of conditions, not least of which may be your location, items you are carrying, objects or characters that share your location, things you may or may not have already done, or how you have actually phrased your commands.  And if all that sounds confusing and dull, you may be half-right. Confusing – undoubtedly, but dull? Like anything else that entirely depends on the player. There are people, like me, who began playing text-adventures in the early to mid-eighties, and still occasionally find something interesting in them now. But there is also a dedicated core of people still playing old and new text-adventures, and there is no shortage of new interactive fiction being written. So the text-adventure is still very much alive and not an extinct dinosaur medium at all. Hopefully this blog will go some ways to showing you the how, why, and where’s of this…

Sunday, 6 July 2014

When is a TV not a TV?

...When It's a Vectrex.

Welcome to the wonderful world of the Vectrex. The worlds one and only vector graphics bases console. 

Now you may think you have seen vector graphics on everything from old home-computers right up to modern day browser based games. 

But the chances are you really haven't. What you probably have seen are line-based games made up of pixels, on a CRT rastascan or LCD matrix based screen.

Ah, you say, but all computer graphics are made out of pixels. Well no actually, vector systems displays aren't, and only a handful of Arcade cabinet games from the eighties, and the Vectrex console; by Milton Bradley, no less; have truly been capable of proper vector graphics.