October 29, 2004

IF Walkthroughs

by Scott Rettberg · , 12:14 am
IF Walkthroughs
Nick, Scott, Star, Dan, and Emily after IF Walkthroughs

Wednesday night at the Kelly Writers House at the University of Pennsylvania, I played host and interactor for the IF Walkthroughs event. Although Nick has done a pretty good job of familiarizing me with the world of interactive fiction (incessantly) virtually since the first moment I met him at DAC ’99, I have never felt as engaged with this form, with its heritage in the ancient riddle and the Zork games of my adolescence, as I did after interacting with Slouching towards Bedlam by Daniel Ravipinto and Star C. Foster, Nick’s work-in-progress Book and Volume, and Emily Short‘s Savoir-Faire.

The evening went very well. I played the neophyte interactor, typing and speaking my way through the commands, while the authors read their very well-crafted responses, and afterwards I was able to ask some questions, followed by a Q/A with the audience. The authors all read their work very well, and the crowd of about 25 people was very engaged in the reading and with the form. One of the things I enjoyed most about the event was the fact that each of the three works revealed not only different kinds of settings and plots (Bedlam‘s nineteenth-century Steampunk, Book and Volume‘s contemporary parody of technocratic labor, and Savoir‘s fantastical exploration of an eighteenth-century manor), but also three very different prose styles and authoring strategies. I think this is also the first time that I have authentically been hooked on a work of IF — I’m still puzzling my way through Emily Short’s Savoir-Faire. All four of the authors talked about their work, and about IF generally, after the reading, and shed some light on the creative process involved in creating IF, alone, collaboratively, and as part of a creative community. I was asking questions, and not taking notes, but fortunately, a complete recording of the event will soon appear on the web, accessible through the Kelly Writers House site.

5 Responses to “IF Walkthroughs”


  1. nick Says:

    Scott, thanks a great deal for hosting the event and getting behind the wheel of these three works. It felt like the most natural thing in the world for you to lead everyone through these three IF pieces, or two and a half IF pieces, anyway. (I still have a lot to do on Book and Volume.) It was a really great experience for me, even beyond the cool e-lit readings that I am lucky enough to participate in now and then, since I got to hear some responses and some encouragement to work further on this project of mine. And I’m really glad I got to hear Dan, Star, and Emily read, too, and got to converse with them, and you, about IF, both at the event and informally.

    Of course we’ll get the link up here as soon as the audio is online.

  2. William Wend Says:

    I am sorry I missed this it sounds like it was fun,

  3. nick Says:

    Star’s blog has a pre-Walkthroughs writeup and comments from many folks, before and after the event.

  4. Dennis G. Jerz Says:

    Great photo of Emily. Hilarious. I still have no idea what she looks like. Keep the mystery alive!

  5. Grand Text Auto » Star C. Foster Says:

    [...] er. Two years ago she joied me and Scott, along with Dan Ravipinto and Emily Short, at the Interactive Fiction Walkthroughs event at the Kelly Writers House. On the Web, along [...]

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