Thursday, October 23, 2003

Text Adventures
Just as I am playing with pictures and exploring the new camera, Dennis G. Jerz posts a link to remind me of the value of text. From Things Magazine:

Although the box that sits on the desk is essentially mundane and lacking wonder, inside is a cabinet of curiosities, with each and every machine somehow different, their many functions and properties signified through a myriad of obscure objects, things that must be opened, expanded, collapsed, scrolled, stored, filed, deleted and edited. Of course, we still love to explore the physical world of objects, but this seems to be increasingly about those personal, internal environments.

It is exactly the internal environment that is the beauty of texts. Barnetimen, with the radio plays I used to listen to as I grew up, used to quote a letter from one of the audience: "Pictures are so much better on the radio." And they are. Pictures are better in text. The beauty or horror of the people my character met could never have been created in images: the bloodspattered armour of Marconi, and his grisly habit of hanging the fingers and ears of his enemies in a chain about his neck - even the scent of decay of the pieces attached to his armour in the last days of his splendour and insanity - was conveyed by his description. Not to mention the ephemeral beauty of Fey, the hinted landscapes just outside of the room descriptions, or the intricate splendour of the Moon Palace, a confusing labyrinth of doors opening in on them self, no one door leading the same place from both sides.

It is this inner landscape that lends life to text, sound and music, just like images lend shape and colour to the same. But it seems to be more inspiring to go from text to image than from image to text: not many books have been written about paintings, photos or movies.

An other advantage of the text based game is that it allows participation at a much higher level than the graphic games, as it easily includes people with less computer skills in creating them. That is important too, in my book.

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