August 31, 2007

When Musicians Play Interactive Fiction

by Nick Montfort · , 10:07 pm

Leonard Cohen

Manhattan: Taken.
Berlin: Taken.

The Rolling Stones

Satisfaction: That’s fixed in place.

John Lennon

The word ‘imagine’ isn’t in your vocabulary.

The Beach Boys

Rhonda has better things to do.

REM

You’re already standing.

The Talking Heads

This dangerous act would achieve little.

The Velvet Underground

Time passes.
Time passes.
Time passes.
Time passes.
Time passes.
Your man arrives.

Bruce Springsteen

You will have to be more specific about which direction you want to run.

Otis Redding

That’s not something you can sit down on.

The Eagles

You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike.
A sepulchral voice reverberating through the hotel says, “We are closing soon. Adventurers may check out anytime they like.”

29 Responses to “When Musicians Play Interactive Fiction”


  1. Allen Varney Says:

    The Rolling Stones:
    I see no shelter here.

  2. Allen Varney Says:

    Duke Ellington:
    The A-Train is too large to fit in your inventory.

  3. Q. Pheevr Says:

    Van Halen, or the Pointer Sisters, or Madonna
    You jump on the spot, fruitlessly.

    Stan Rogers
    The passage to the northwest is blocked by heavy ice.

    Violent Femmes
    You go out the window. Splat!
    *** You have died. ***

  4. Chris Says:

    Johnny Horton

    You begin the long journey north. You cross the majestic mountains to the valleys far below and mush on through the snow to…

    Alaska
    The northern lights are a-running wild in the land of the midnight sun. The river is winding, and from all you’ve heard, this is where big nuggets they’re finding. The year is nineteen-one: The rush is on!

  5. Dennis G. Jerz Says:

    Harry Nilsson

    >put lime in coconut.
    You put the lime in the coconut.

    >drink
    You drink them both together.

    >put lime in coconut.
    You put the lime in the coconut.

    >drink
    Then you feel better.

  6. Jerz's Literacy Weblog Says:

    Grand Text Auto » When Musicians Play Interactive Fiction

    Nick Montfort, Grand Theft Auto:Leonard Cohen Manhattan: Taken. Berlin: Taken….

  7. Matt K. Says:

    PINK FLOYD

    There is a Wall here. There are some Hammers here.

    >climb wall
    It’s too slippery.

    >go around wall
    It’s too wide.

    >look wall
    The bricks look like you.

    >put ear against the wall
    Someone’s breaking bottles in the hall.

    >play guitar solo
    You have become . . . well, you know.

    >tear down the wall
    What do you want to tear down the wall with?
    >hammers
    You better RUN.

  8. Mike Duncan Says:

    JIMI HENDRIX

    >stand next to fire
    I don’t see a fire here.
    >stand next to fire
    I don’t see a fire here.
    >stand next to fire
    Oh, you mean… oh. Gotcha.
    >move Rover
    Rover moves over.

    >unlock door
    The key won’t unlock this door. You have a bad bad feeling about this.
    >go back way back yonder over the hill
    Might as well.

  9. Rafale Says:

    Korn:
    Something takes a part of you.
    >shout gibberish
    That´s not in your vocabulary.
    >shout gibberish
    That´s not in your vocabulary.
    >go
    Go where?

    Syd Barrett:
    You are getting the munchies.
    The newt hits! The cockatrice hits! The mordor orc hits!
    You hit the goblin!
    The Battlemech hits! The manes hits! The incubus hits!
    You hit the Pushmepullyu!

  10. scott Says:

    There is a thumb here. You are under it.

  11. mythago Says:

    Harry Belafonte:

    > examine boat

    Which boat do you mean?

    > examine banana boat

    The banana boat is empty. There is a tally-man standing next to the banana boat.

    > south

    The tally-man blocks your way.

    > inventory

    You are carrying:
    a crate full of bananas

    > put bananas on boat

    You put a bunch of bananas on the banana boat.

    > put bananas on boat

    You put a bunch of bananas on the banana boat.

    > examine banana boat

    There is a banana boat here. On the deck of the banana boat is a stack of bananas.

    > examine stack

    The stack of bananas is six feet high. There is a black tarantula in the stack.

    > examine tarantula

    It looks deadly.

    > put bananas on boat

    You put a bunch of bananas on the banana boat.

    > put bananas on boat

    You put a bunch of bananas on the banana boat.

    > examine stack

    The stack of bananas is eight feet high. There is a black tarantula in the stack.

    > tally-man, tally me banana

    The tally-man looks over your stack of bananas. With a grunt, he unlocks the gate to the south and waves you through.

  12. Guy Parsons Says:

    TRAIN

    There is a barrel here.
    There is a scraper here.

    You smell platinum.

    >

  13. Fernando Says:

    David Bowie:

    >give cigarette

    Time takes a cigarette.

    >open mouth

    Time puts a cigarette in your mouth. Your knuckles ache.

    >pull finger

    You pull on your finger.

    >pull finger

    You pull on another finger. Weren’t you smoking?

    >pull cigarette

    You pull on your cigarette. The wall-to-wall is calling.

    >forget

    The wall-to-wall lingers, then you forget about it.

    >suicide

    You’ll have to be more specific.

    >rock n’ roll suicide

  14. Flying Squid Says:

    Bill Haley and the Comets:

    >Shake
    Nothing Happens.
    >Rattle
    Nothing Happens.
    >Roll
    Whee! That was fun!

    Donovan:

    > Look
    There is a mountain here.
    > Climb Mountain
    There is no mountain here.
    > Look
    There is a mountain here.
    > Climb Mountain
    There is no mountain here.
    > Look
    There is a mountain here.
    > Call Juanita

    Aerosmith:

    > Look at Dude
    He looks like a lady!

    The Police:

    > Go to Sting
    Sting moves away. He looks annoyed.
    > Go to Sting
    Sting moves away. He looks annoyed.

    T-Rex:

    > Get on
    A gong rings out!

    The Bangles:

    You are in a donut shop.
    > Walk like egyptian
    The cops say, “way oh, way oh, way oh, way oh.”

    Madness:

    You are in a corner pharmacy. There is an old woman behind the counter.
    > Buy condoms
    The old woman looks confused.

    Ace of Base:

    It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.
    > Look at sign
    Your eyes open.

    Mister Mister
    > Take broken wings
    Taken.
    > Take aviation instruction manual
    Taken.
    > Escape prison
    You have escaped!

  15. Brian Moriarty Says:

    BEATLES

    >look at the girl with the sun in her eyes

    She’s gone.

    >take a sad song

    The sad song is better now.

    >look through the plate glass tulips

    You can see how the other half lives.

    >say “high”

    Low.

    >say “why”

    I don’t know.

    >pick up the bags. get in the limousine.

    You are soon away from here.

    >lay down all thoughts. surrender to the void.

    The void is shining.

  16. If popular music were interactive fiction » bardinelli.com Says:

    [...] he newly launched Play This Thing! pointing to an article on Grand Text Auto titled “When Musicians Play Interactive Fiction“. Basically it& [...]

  17. andrew Says:

    TOM WAITS

    There is a donkey here.
    There is a phone here.
    There is a car here.

    >pay

    They paint the donkey blue. The phone rings.

    >answer the phone

    An operator from Istanbul asks if you will accept the charges.

    >say “yes”

    Your baby is coming home today.

    >drive the car

    You are dead.

  18. CL Says:

    (Chumawumba)
    Cigarette: Given.

    (Mötley Crüe)
    The Devil winces. “Keep your voice down, for Heaven’s sake.”

    (The Rolling Stones (again))
    > look
    You see a red door
    > paint it black
    (Red door) Painted.
    > exa door
    Black as night. Black as coal.
    Time passes.
    The sun is blotted from the sky.

  19. Phil Nelson – When Actors Play Interactive Fiction Says:

    [...] e Fiction With apologies to Grand Text Auto’s quite funny When Musicians Play Interac [...]

  20. Avery Says:

    CHUMBAWUMBA:
    The bully punches you in the face and you fall to the ground.
    >stand up
    The bully punches you in the face and you fall to the ground.
    >stand up
    The bully punches you in the face and you fall to the ground.
    >stand up
    The bully punches you in the face and you fall to the ground.
    >stand up

    You see a bartender. “Hello, what can I get for you?”
    >ask for whiskey
    The bartender hands you a whiskey drink.
    >ask for vodka
    The bartender hands you a vodka drink.
    >ask for beer
    The bartender hands you a lager drink.
    >ask for something fruity
    The bartender hands you a cider drink.

  21. Morgue Says:

    (Men at Work)

    Vegemite Sandwich: Taken.

    (Journey)

    You maintain your belief.

    (Jimmy Buffet)

    I don’t see any shaker of salt here.

    (The Cars)
    You dance for a while.
    The sky has become lighter. Dawn approaches.
    You play. Wheee!!!
    The sky has become darker. It is night.
    You shake it vigorously, to no effect.

  22. » Grand Text Auto » When Musicians Play Interactive Fiction - ScatteredGenius.com Says:

    [...] gh the hotel says, “We are closing soon. Adventurers may check out anytime they like.” Grand Text Auto » When Musicians Play Interactive Fiction Th [...]

  23. Pyros Says:

    Rolling Stones:

    You see a red door.
    >paint it black

  24. Tablesaw Says:

    This reminds me of the Napster Error puzzle from the Haystack: http://thehaystack.org/2006/hl3-napstererror.pdf

    Also,

    Aimee Mann

    Me.sav created.

    Pet Shop Boys

    *Forest*
    This is a forest, with trees in all directions. To the east, there appears to be sunlight.

  25. Merelii Toluth Says:

    Semisonic:

    You see a Jacket here.

    > Get Jacket.

    You get the jacket, and move toward the exit.

    > Go to beginning.

    You have found the Beginning’s end.

    > Walk home.

    Who do you want to take you home?

  26. Technohazard Says:

    Judas Priest:
    >head out
    You are standing next to a highway. Here you see a can of spraypaint.
    >inv
    You have nothing to lose at all

    >get spraypaint
    Done.
    >use spraypaint
    You deface the side of the highway onramp.
    Suddenly, a bright light shines in your face. A thundering wall of blue and shiny buttons slams into you. Officer O’Malley flings you up against the side of the car and cuffs you. “We gotcha this time, punk!”

    Metallica:
    Bodies fill the fields.
    >wait
    Amidst the thunder of artillery, Sarge screams at you. “Back to the front!”
    >wait
    A vein bulges in Sarge’s neck. “You will do what I say, when I say!”
    >inv
    You clench your gun, alone.

    >say prayers
    Who do you wish to pray for?
    >include everyone
    You pray for everyone. Suddenly, the lights go out.
    You hear a noise.
    >wait
    Your ear discerns slithering noises from underneath your bed and closet. Some of the noises are undoubtedly in your mind.

    And just for giggles, Raffi.
    A phone rings.
    A phone rings.
    A phone rings.
    A phone rings.
    A phone rings.
    A phone rings.
    A phone rings.
    >answer phone
    The phone is yellow and shaped like a banana. A voice on the other end says “boop boop de doop de doop”
    >compare yellow phone to cell phone
    You dig your cell phone out of your pocket. The yellow phone is definitely superior.

  27. Dolohov Says:

    (Pet Shop Boys)

    You can’t go that way. Visible exits are north, south, and east.

  28. Grand Text Auto » Oulipian Larding Says:

    [...]

    Nick turned Grand Text Auto into a platform for literary gameplay with his post on When Musicians Play Interactive Fiction. Then a recent email query f [...]

  29. Warren B. Says:

    >WOODY, TAKE ME RIDING IN YOUR CAR CAR
    Woody looks at you quizzically.

    > ENTER CAR
    You are now riding in Woody’s car.

    >WOODY, TURN ON THE ENGINE.
    The engine, it goes brrrr-brrrrr.

    >WOODY, TURN ON THE WIPERS
    The wipers, they go swish-swish.

    >WOODY, HONK THE HORN
    The horn, it goes beep-beep.

    >BUCKLE SEATBELT
    The seatbelt, it goes click-click.

    ————————–

    >ENTER STORE
    Store.
    There is a sign on the wall.
    You see a clerk.

    >I
    You are holding Sexy and a receipt.

    >EXAMINE SEXY
    It really needs to be brought back.

    >EXAMINE RECEIPT
    It is dated April 23.

    >TIME
    It is 3:00 PM on May 24.

    >GIVE SEXY TO CLERK THEN ASK CLERK ABOUT REFUND
    The clerk asks for your receipt.

    >GIVE RECEIPT TO CLERK
    The clerk reads the receipt, then points to the sign.

    >READ SIGN
    The sign reads: “Sexy may be brought back for refund within 30 days of purchase.”

    >CLERK, DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?
    The clerk looks you up and down. “I dunno… some douchebag in a fedora?”

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