Three Hundred :: Mechanic #153 Sites:     Webcomics   |   Three Hundred Mechanics   |   Three Hundred Prototypes
 Three Hundred
   - Index Page
   - About...
   - By Year

   - Comp-Grid
   - Procedural
   - Tactics
   - Tiny Crawl
   - Misc

PreviousMechanic #153Next

  Mechanic #153 - Interaction Fiction
Posted: 07/18/12

Not so much a game, so much as a community lead interactive experience that plays like a game.

  Interaction Fiction

This one isn't so much a game idea. It's more like, I don't know... performance art or something. The basic idea is that you start off with a small interactive fiction game that has maybe one or two puzzles in it. Something simple with a few rooms. Maybe you have to go buy a carton of milk from the corner grocery. You release it to the world and let them play it.

Have the players send you a list of all the commands that they tried that didn't work. Maybe they tried to examine something that isn't there or attempted to go a direction that you didn't create. You take that list of all the commands that didn't work and you pick ten of them to implement. Then you release the new version to the world along with a list of the ten new commands that now work. Players will experience the slightly more detailed game and come up with another list of ten new failed commands for your to implement the next day.

The idea began as a way to deal with the "guess the word" problem of interactive fiction. Does the game want me to type "bush" or "shrubbery"? Well, here's your chance to figure out where people are making mistakes and to correct them. Some might call this simply fixing bugs, but you know some player is going to type in something weird like "pee on shopkeeper". So implement that action. Perhaps spawn a puddle of urine and change the shopkeep's description to include the fact that he is now wet and smells like a toilet.

The next day, people will see that they can pee on the shopkeeper. And then one of them is going to try to do something even dumber. Like drink the urine, eat the shopkeep's trousers, or simply try to go north where there is no north to go. The game will keep growing in possibilities for each action you implement. What happens when you go north? Now you are in a pet shop. Somebody is going to attempt to pee on the iguana. Or worse.

There's not like a destination to this idea. Just that the players dictate the journey. Whoever is in charge of it will need to have a sense of humor and know when a failed command should lead to interesting possibilities (why stop at peeing on the shopkeep when you can now make it so that the player can pee on anything?). Just grab a few friends and create a horrible, hilarious text adventure together.



Copyright 2007-2014 Sean Howard. All rights reserved.