By Jason Ehrlick
Interactive Fiction has changed the way we think about games, and it has changed the landscape of gaming overall. In this day and age where the big games industry is operated in a capitalist nature and driven by the ideals of consumerism, our choice of games have diminished greatly. With gamer choice becoming sparse and creativity being limited in how games are created, interactive fiction has emerged to give gamers an alternative form of interaction. Interactive fiction can be considered a form of gaming because it encourages player choice and some personal freedom within a confined environment. Most of all, interactive fiction has expanded to appeal to all types of gamers, whether casual or hardcore, and it also appeals to non-gamers given how accessible it has become. One of the most positive aspects that can be drawn from interactive fiction is that it has given people incentive to create their own works of interactive fiction simply by using a variety of free programs available on the internet. The world of interactive fiction is at your finger tips, you can choose to be the player or the creator.
Porpentine’s article Creation Under Capitalism and The Twine Revolution demonstrates how interactive fiction is still very relevant to our world, and how it presents gamers with an alternative to creating and playing games. When talking about creativity and capitalism Porpentine writes, “the system they desire is one where a select few create for the many, instead of the many creating for each other”. Game creation has been argued as requiring a deep knowledge of programming and years of skill, something that only a few privileged people have access to with years of experience. However, this idea has changed because of software like Twine, a program which allows anyone to make a piece of interactive fiction with a few minutes of learning. Twine and other user friendly software are the beginning of something positive because it allows for people to become more engaged in interacting with games, it also makes creating games more accessible to any aspiring artists. For those who have creative ideas and stories they want to tell in the form of a game, they have the opportunity to do so, and other people can inhibit the role of the player in their own creation.
While playing Howling Dogs by Porpentine, it became clear that interaction was done through clicking on the words highlighted in blue, by doing so you progress to the next stage. The story unfolds as you click on the interactive words, and player choice is abundant as there are many different actions which lead to various scenarios. Howling Dogs is not simply a game where you press words at random in order to progress, rather, it requires a sense of responsibility on the players part by carefully following the story and making decisions which change the context of the game. A game like Howling Dogs proves that games are becoming more accessible, easy to distribute, and easier to make which will have a positive impact on gaming and creativity as a whole.
Porpentine. “Creation Under Capitalism and The Twine Revolution.” Nightmare Mode. 25 November 2012. http://nightmaremode.thegamerstrust.com/2012/11/25/creation-under-capitalism/