Thinking about interactive fiction again led me to remember a game I played about 8 years ago, that left a lasting impression on me in a way that games rarely do. In the last 5 minutes, I tried hard to remember what it was called, and eventually found it mentioned on the Wikipedia entry on Interactive Fiction.
Photopia. It’s really, really good. If you still have a DOS-capable system, you owe it to yourself to run through it once. It’s more like a linear story that you read, but you need to enter some commands along the way to advance the story. In my memory, it was a fantastic circular narrative story that had some really clever moments. The bit where you wander about in a canyon comes to mind. It feels like a Zork maze and you wander about for a bit. I won’t spoil it for you, but don’t give up. You’ll find a way, and I think I will remember the moment that I did until my dying day. It worked in a way that simply isn’t possible in the literal, visual, games of today. Imagination went hand in hand with narrative and interactivity, and it’s a shame that’s mostly lost now.
You can download Photopia and other IF games free from Adam Cadre’s site here.
Praise for Photopia:
- “Photopia is an amazing piece of work.” —Paul O’Brian
- “It is a beautiful piece of work, haunting, evocative.” —Lelah Conrad
- “It’s the greatest game I have ever played.” —Aris Katsaris
- “Photopia is quite possibly the most skillful, creative, and affecting piece of short fiction I have ever experienced.” —Suzanne Skinner