IF: visuals greater than regular video games?

The reading this week, titled “Interactive Fiction,” discussed what encompasses Interactive Fiction. It involves a text-based role playing game in which you can give a variety of different commands (such as touch, smell, exit, go north, etc.) to the player. You can explore the world through using these various commands.

For instance, in the game Bronze you set in the scene of a medieval castle. You can explore different rooms in the castle by going north, south, east or west. The game starts out by telling you about a “Beast,” with whom you are well acquainted. You can explore various rooms in the castle, such as the State Rooms, the kitchen, the Tower, and many others.

What is interesting about this game is that for the player to become aware of their digital world they must actively look, smell, take, or perform some other action. Items can also be obtained or manipulated within a given space (Montfort defines rooms vs locations and areas). So within a particular room there can be a sword, shield, or spear that the player can use to help them complete the game. Montfort defines rooms as “a simulated place from which a certain set of elements in the IF world can be sensed, manipulated, or otherwise acted upon.”

These games in a way achieve more than the high resolution HD graphics of many games today. Because the only thing visible to the player is the text, it leaves the appearance of the digital world up to the imagination of the gamer. No two people are going to mentally construct the castle in Bronze the same way. In this respect, then, do games like Bronze achieve better visuals than games like Call of Duty or Battlefield 3? After all, the images the human imagination produces is hard to compete with.. What is more realistic: a room digitally constructed by programmers or one produced by the human imagination?

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