This all-text game improved upon Adventure by better understanding commands, more richly simulating its world, and adding a character, the theif, who appeared throughout to challenge and motivate the player. Zork was originally written for fun by researchers, who developed this interactive fiction collaboratively on a computer at MIT and made the program available for online play. The game was later adapted into successful commercial software, as the Infocom trilogy Zork I-III for home comptuers. Ethan Dicks has made the “original” MIT version of the game available for modern platforms.
In this game of Solitaire the reader has a hand of three cards. Each card holds an image and a text, each portraying a stark moment in a potentially disturbing narrative. Any of the current cards can be played into the story or discarded in favor of another, and patient readers will be dealt joker cards — which allow for the insertion of one’s own text. Taken together, it adds up to a system for constrained composition and play.
Make a contribution to decade,an online writing project being launched this week to celebrate ten years of innovative digital activity at trAce Online Writing Centre at Nottingham Trent University, UK. The completed project will take the shape of a writing ‘quilt’ of many different responses to technology and change.
The introduction to the project notes:
“In the last ten years there has been an explosion of new technology, especially related to computers and the internet, and for some of us it has changed forever the way we live and write. As the trAce Online Writing Centre reaches its tenth anniversary, we invite you to reflect on your own personal decade of living and writing with technology.”
trAce Artistic Director Gaven Stewart invites contributions of brief statements of 100 words to the project about the technology you love, hate or anticipate; and the ways in which technology has changed your life.
This year’s Interactive Fiction Competition, the 11th annual “comp,” was won by Jason Devlin’s Vespers. There was a tie for second place between Beyond, a game by Italian authors Roberto Grassi, Paolo Lucchesi and Alessandro Peretti, and A New Life by Alexandre Owen Muñiz. Voting in the competition was open to the public; more than 100 people downloaded the competition entries, interacted with at least five, and voted. The full results have been posted; all the pieces entered remain available for free download.
The University of South Carolina has two openings for tenure-track assistant professors. The Department of Art invites applications for an assistant professorship in New Media Design. The department seeks a cutting-edge new media artist with creative research in digital/new media, including computer animation, motion graphics, web design, and/or other aspects of digital media production. Teaching duties will include courses in digital media production and design. Qualifications include an MFA or Ph.D. in digital media (or equivalent) with demonstrated excellence in research and teaching. For additional information and application procedures, contact Search Chair Laura Kissel.
The second position, an assistant professorship in New Media Studies, is a joint appointment in the Film Studies Program and the Media Arts area of the Department of Art. Applications are sought from cutting-edge scholars of new/digital media and culture. Teaching duties will include relevant courses in media theory, criticism, and/or history, at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Qualifications include a Ph.D. in media studies (or equivalent) with demonstrated excellence in research and teaching. For addtional information and application procedures, contact Search Chair Ina Hark.
Applications for both positions will begin being reviewed on November 15, 2005, and continue until the positions are filled.
The UC Santa Barbara Department of English will host a launch event for William Gibson’s “The Agrippa Files” website on December 1, 2005, from 4:00-6:00 p.m, in the Mary Cheadle Room (Room 3591) of UCSB’s Davidson Library. The event will include an exhibition of a rare copy of William Gibson’s 1992 collaborative book project, which featured a “disappearing” poem by Gibson that was included on a read-once-only, self-encrypting diskette. There will also be a panel discussion about the project and the book, with UCSB Department of English professors Alan Liu and James Hodge, and UCSB Department of Art professors Harry Reese and Brian Springer.
“The Agrippa Files” website, whose URL will not be released until the launch event, will include rare images of pages from the book, a unique archive of correspondence and other materials dating from the book’s creation and early reception; a simulation 0f what the book’s intended “fading images” might have looked like; a “virtual lightbox” for comparing and studying pages from the book; commentary by the book’s publisher and scholars; and an annotated bibliography.
For parking and directions to UCSB and the Davidson Library, visit the UCSB
ELO Vice President Nick Montfort has just released a large-scale interactive fiction, his first original work of interactive fiction in more than five years and the first since he wrote the book Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction (MIT Press, 2003).
Book and Volume simulates a curious near-future city, one that is headquarters to the media division of a large computer company. The main character, a system administrator, can uncover unusual things about this place while attending to tasks and getting ready for a mind-bending demo. Book and Volume is all-text and was written in Inform. It is free, and runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, and a wide variety of other platforms. Completing Book and Volume should take between six and ten hours.
Download, preview, and read more about Book and Volume: http://nickm.com/if/book_and_volume.html
Screen was created in Brown University’s “Cave,” a room-sized virtual reality display. It begins as a reading and listening experience. Memory texts appear on the Cave’s walls, surrounding the reader. Then words begin to come loose. The reader finds she can knock them back with her hand, but peeling increases steadily. Screen is the first work of electronic literature for which novelist Robert Coover is a co-author. See the Directory entries (1, 2) for more information about this piece.
Digital writer/artist Jason Nelson will give a presentation at UCLA on Tuesday, November 15, at 6 pm, in the EDA room at 11000 Kinross Ave., Westwood. The event will also be streamed live on the web.
Nelson, currently an instructor at Australia’s Griffith University, has had his works shown at galleries and in online journals around the world. He promises that his presentation will be a “combination of digital magic show, technical tutorial, and poetry reading.” For anyone interested in electronic textuality, Nelson’s rare appearance in L.A. is not to be missed.
View the archived webcast at the EDA website.
Jointly sponsored by the UCLA Department of English, UCLA Design/Media Arts, and the Electronic Literature Organization, and the Griffith University Centre for Public Culture and Ideas, this event is free and open to the public.
November 17th. (John’s an old hypertext hand.)