Interactive Fiction, Authorial Autoasphyxia, and Twitter


I had no idea, as of yesterday, that text-based adventure games are still being developed today, that there are annual awards given, and that most of these games are available for free online. I learned all this because it’s the closest genre to my current novel-esque project: “interactive fiction”. More recent IF games feature complex, branching trees with a vast multitude of endings. Graphic-oriented games take time to develop and code, while text-based adventures buy their depictions wholesale, which gives them much more latitude when it comes to variety.

I’m gonna check out a few of these and see what’s what. Maybe get some ideas. Depending on how the various compilers and interpreters work, I might have (inadvertently) saved myself a lot of time and energy by not having to learn a new programming language and then trying to contort it to do the things I need my story to do.

What If/If…Then=>IF=>Interactive Fiction? Well, I like the discourse.


I’m currently playing through Gone Home–fantastic game; highly recommended–and one of the “characters” in it is a dad who is a washed-up would-be writer. I won’t say any more–discovery is the core game experience–but, as with all fictional deadbeat writers, seeing the ruination of his life put a chill of pure and perfect dread into my still-beating chest.

Please, I pray to all the gods and muses of writing, don’t let that happen to me.

Ironically, most washed up writers are depicted as having the same flaw. They’re disingenuous. Or, more broadly, they want to be writers, but not necessarily to write.

Writing may not be easy, but it’s hardest when you’re trying to make your thing be something instead of just letting it become whatever it is, as reflected from inside the wordmonkey that is you.

Does that make any sense?

In another analogy, you can’t write or live trapped inside a narrow box. Life experiences, when wholly accepted and absorbed, will broaden your mind, just as others’ creative works will stretch your language skills

It’s fine to be afraid to dance, but facing that fear is what makes you more than what you once were.


“Reading, I find, is good for me. Reading books, that is. Feels like it takes a scrub brush to my brain and cleans out all the bullshit.”

©2013 by Blake Vaughn. The text of this story may be redistributed freely in its original form with attribution to the author, Blake Vaughn, and his website,, as under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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