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TIGSource ForumsPlayerGamesJonathan Blow conversation with Emily Short about interactive fiction
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Author Topic: Jonathan Blow conversation with Emily Short about interactive fiction  (Read 5593 times)
valzi
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« on: February 18, 2011, 09:47:34 AM »

This is an interesting discussion:
http://emshort.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/you-can-also-see-some-marketing-here/
It's between Jonathan Blow (Braid) and Emily Short (unofficial leader of the interactive fiction community.) They're discussing the merits of interactive fiction and adventure games in the comments, in response to Short's blog post about Blow's PC Gamer interview.


-Valzi
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gimymblert
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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2011, 09:58:53 AM »

THANKS A LOT!
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gimymblert
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2011, 11:16:21 AM »

After reading that and the article "do we need parser", I think there is a more global problem at end for game and interactivity in general: VERBS.

Game are about verbs, but we can only use significantly just a small number of them and build challenge around them (jump for platformer, shoot for shooter). While IF have a problem with parser because of a great number of verbs we can draw a parallel with modern controller: Too many buttons > too many options > too much complexity > BUT still not enough nuance. The controller problem is less a problem than the IF parser but to have richly detailed and nuanced interaction we need to find a new interface, something not as consuming as parsing and yet complex enough to convey nuance.
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milk
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2011, 11:47:50 AM »

Quote from: Jonathan Blow
It’s a very existential game.

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Silbereisen
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2011, 11:51:17 AM »

I didn't read the article but is it just me or do the graphics of that Witness game look kinda... not that great?
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valzi
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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2011, 11:58:58 AM »

I find the graphics pleasantly abstract, but with terrible textures. The game isn't out yet and it's by Blow, who made Braid, so I expect it to be pretty later. Graphics are one of the last things one usually does in game design.
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JoGribbs
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« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2011, 12:05:58 PM »

The

didn't look great. Blow said it's not final art though so  Shrug
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Silbereisen
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« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2011, 12:11:14 PM »

So wait, all you do in this game is solve these little mazes?
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JoGribbs
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« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2011, 12:13:14 PM »

No you solve little mazes and contemplate philosophy. At the end Jonathan Blow appears and tells you that you didn't understand what the game was about.
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salade
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« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2011, 12:15:36 PM »

I think Blow is making some valid points about the IF interface, and it's surprising that the community is getting up in arms about it.

It's kind of obvious that just about any interface is going to have it's flaws. There are limits - some aren't accessible, some aren't feasible, some are too simple, or complex...

It's hard to argue that anything having to do with logic in a game can be done with a text interface (not that it doesn't have its benefits). You would think that any like minded developer of adventure-inspired games would encourage others to consider and learn from interfaces - finding what works, what doesn't, and combining it into a (hopefully) great game!

Perhaps this is really just a reaction to the way Blow was talking. When you call out a genre for being "fundamentally broken" people are going to react. This is where verbal interviews kind of break down - it's really easy to take things out of context. That statement comes straight after the admission that he was trying to capture the gameplay ideas that a lot of IF and adventure games have.

Also - IBM needs to get going on an IF game that uses Watson as a parser.
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milk
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« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2011, 12:20:04 PM »

guys why aren't you discussing the existentialism in teh game
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gimymblert
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« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2011, 12:20:54 PM »

I think Blow is making some valid points about the IF interface, and it's surprising that the community is getting up in arms about it.

http://emshort.wordpress.com/2010/06/07/so-do-we-need-this-parser-thing-anyway/
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gimymblert
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« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2011, 12:22:22 PM »

guys why aren't you discussing the existentialism in teh game

Because it's icy domain right?
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milk
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« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2011, 12:23:42 PM »

guys why aren't you discussing the existentialism in teh game

Because it's icy domain right?

OR IS IT

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gimymblert
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« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2011, 12:25:04 PM »

guys why aren't you discussing the existentialism in teh game

Because it's icy domain right?

OR IS IT



ask Nietzsche
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milk
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« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2011, 12:25:58 PM »

ask Nietzsche

what

that means reading gay books

i'll just wait till jonathan blow makes a game about it thx
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DavidCaruso
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« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2011, 12:27:06 PM »

So wait, all you do in this game is solve these little mazes?
Guess this game...



...is going to blow.

YEAAAAAAHHHHHHHH
« Last Edit: February 19, 2011, 09:57:07 PM by DavidCaruso » Logged

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JoGribbs
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« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2011, 12:28:38 PM »

Booooo. Boo for puns.
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thecatamites
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« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2011, 12:48:35 PM »

it's a good convo. exchange of ideas!! general agreement without cringing relativist compromise... true face of games blogs........ essentially humane?! i like that someone wrote about an interview and the interviewee openly responded and they talked about it. this is probably mundane thing for indie games community but it was a nice surprise for me that it didnt turn into some awful internet drama thing and i'd like to preserve that feeling.

i like the idea of trying to figure out and process being dropped into a strange and disjointed experience although i'm not sure why a game dev guy dealing with this stuff would write off early videogame things where this is a huge part of what makes them enjoyable! (even when the core gameplay etc is kind of horrible i've often kept playing old commodore64 games just from fascination with bizarre and exciting world they offered) (there was a c64 game called DIE PYRAMID where the opening scene was a longish sequence of a man urinating on the top of a mysterious pyramid filled with ghouls and i think this is entirely laudable approach to game design in general) (is this a metaphor?? u   d e c i d e . . .)
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salade
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« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2011, 12:52:00 PM »

I think Blow is making some valid points about the IF interface, and it's surprising that the community is getting up in arms about it.

http://emshort.wordpress.com/2010/06/07/so-do-we-need-this-parser-thing-anyway/

But that's exactly what I mean: you would think the first reaction would be "hey John, we too have been actively thinking about and working on the limitations of our interface, and here is what we have come up with" rather than "here is a list of reasons why you are wrong".

I'm glad this is getting discussed on her blog however - it's kind of a happy ending. Johnathan Blow could have just ignored it, and this whole exchange wouldn't have been very helpful. The willingness to discuss and work through ideas is a testament to both Blow and Short.
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