January 27, 2009

Interactive Fiction Goes to Market

by Nick Montfort · , 5:14 am

Textfyre, headed by David Cornelson, is planning to market three games in coming months, each the first of a new series:

Cornelson has a blog about Textfyre. His latest entry discusses how the ESRB ratings of Everyone or Everyone 10+ with Mild Violent References, which Textfyre was originally seeking for all of its games, wouldn’t allow for the meaningful reading (e.g. The Catcher in the Rye) that Cornelson and many other were doing in middle school. So, the company will be enlarging the scope of its publications.

Josemanuel, who has been developing a new IF system called Gesaku, has his own thoughts about commercial IF. In a post today, he argues for individual authorship (not corporate development) and a physical IF device, a la Kindle. Now, I must point out that a hardware interactive fiction device has already been released, but perhaps in this new era of wirelessness, there’s room for something else in the market.

3 Responses to “Interactive Fiction Goes to Market”


  1. David Cornelson Says:

    Thanks Nick. I continue to be aggressive with dates and they keep sliding. But we’re actively pushing the testing, the artwork, and the user interface to come together soon for Secret Letter. Klockwerk should follow shortly afterwards. I think Empathy will lag until late summer.

    I love the idea of an IF device, but I think the netbooks, the 6″ x 9″ laptops, are going to become ubiquitous in middle and high schools. In the next few years they will likely be the defacto device for reading and doing homework. School books are going to be licensed software (probably already are). Since this is just a PC, IF games will certainly be compatible…the issue will be how the games are presented, which has always been my mantra. IF is great..we just need to sell it better.

    I don’t see why individual authorship can’t happily coexist with corporate development and in fact I’ve argued they would eventually feed off of each other.

    Anyway…look for Secret Letter soon.

  2. josemanuel Says:

    David, I, personally, don’t see the relationship between an IF device and the use of computers for educational purposes. My idea was really more oriented toward adults going to work or college on the bus or on the train, than toward children in class. (Though I wouldn’t mind seeing kids go to school playing IF.) Also, since I wrote the article, I realized that my initial idea was too restrictive: Why impose a limit on the uses a device can have? Why just interactive fiction, and not also e-books, or images, or even music and videos given that Gesaku is supposed to have multimedia support?

    As for individual authorship vs corporate development, that idea is intimately related with interactive fiction being a literary genre. If IF is sold as a kind of book, and not as a game, then it could be seen as something new, and that should give more commercial appeal to it. It’s not that it shouldn’t be created by corporations. It’s just that, then, it would have to be marketed as a gaming genre, and it would be less interesting to potential buyers, in my opinion. Of course, if the corporation is also a (books) publisher, then there should be no big difference between individual and corporate authorship, as far as costs and commercial appeal are concerned.

  3. ross Says:

    planescape: torment was made by a gaming company

    good text in that one

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