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Retro Gaming Hacks by Chris Kohler

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Play Interactive Fiction in One Minute

Enjoy quality text adventures quickly and effortlessly, no assembly required.

One of the best things about interactive fiction—the fancy-schmancy name for text adventures, but also a good catchall term for the type of game, since they don’t always strictly rely upon text—is how easy it is to get up and running with a game. Installing an interpreter (the “platform” for the games) and getting some adventures for it [Hack #64] is much easier than poking around with MAME or emulating old operating systems.

For the moment, however, we’ll set aside even operations as simple as those in favor of showing how you can get started with interactive fiction inside of a minute; no assembly required. All you need is a web browser, preferably one with Java enabled, and a capacity for lateral thinking.

Gameplay Basics of Text Adventures

Text adventures are the perfect videogames for people with poor hand-eye coordination: there’s never anything rushing at you or any pressure to perform your next move, and the prompt will let you take all the time you need to enter your next command. If you can hunt and peck on a keyboard, you can play text adventures. The demands this sort of game makes are more mental than physical: it’s a good thing that you’ll usually have plenty of time and plenty of moves to find a solution, since puzzles in text adventures are usually more obscure than they might seem.

In fact, they can be surprisingly difficult when you consider how relatively ...

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