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Archive for games

Gray Matter

After eleven years, there is a new adventure game by Jane Jensen who is best known for her Gabriel Knight Mystery series. Once again, the story is grounded in real locations and weaves facts with supernatural occurrences. The protagonists are obviously new – Sam, a street magician, and Dr Styles, a neurobiologist – and the chapters alternate between them just as we saw in Jensen’s two last full games.

A painting from Gray Matter

Sam is after an illusive Deadulus Club for magicians while Dr Styles goes to extremes to prevent his memories from ever fading

Continues » 

Modern Text Adventures
The Rise of the Community

Commercial interactive fiction practically disappeared by 1989 with the demise of Infocom. In retrospect, it was probably good for the new medium. Let’s see why.

See also the first part describing the beginnings and the commercial era.

Amateur programmers were trying their hands at producing text adventures of their own already during the commercial era. Writing a game from scratch in a general-purpose programming language is a daunting task though, with most of the effort spent on the ‘backbones.’ Soon, specialized authoring systems started to appear, and the online services (and later Internet) allowed enthusiasts to connect with each other. Continues » 

Modern Text Adventures
Beginnings and Commercial Era

Imagine a moment from your favorite adventure movie or drama. Imagine you are the hero. And imagine what happens next is up to you. “Text adventures” (or interactive fiction) are a modern text-based medium that opens up worlds of possibilities not limited by cgi effects or a single story-line but only by your imagination. Let me briefly touch on its fascinating history that includes cave explorations, early virtual computers and the rise of graphic adventures, to finally emerge in its state-of-the-art with the spread of the Internet.

The story starts with Will Crowther, one of the three software developers of arpanet (the forerunner of Internet), who managed to overshadow this achievement by writing Colossal Cave Adventure game (or simply Adventure). Continues » 

What Makes a Schattenjäger

Portrait of Gabriel Knight, the main protagonist of the series

A portrait of Gabriel Knight, the main protagonist of the series

“A mix of good mystery, writing and music,” would be a correct answer. If you are thinking “What is a schattenjäger?”, you will find the answer in the game series written by Jane Jensen. The first game, Sins of the Fathers, could not appear at a different time. Published in 1993, it came at the end of the golden age of adventure games: targeting the broadest audience possible was not the priority and companies were spending on lavish productions (the package included a companion full-color comic book) even though the genre has a high cost of content creation (compared to laying new levels for first-person shooters). Continues »