The tenth and latest of the ebooks compiling my articles for this site is now freely available from the ebook download page, thanks as always to the beneficence of Richard Lindner. Please note that the division of the ebooks into historical years is necessarily only very rough, with many articles and themes crisscrossing backward and forward through time. So, if your favorite game from 1988 hasn’t yet appeared, don’t entirely despair.
That said… enjoy!
If you recently discovered this site, perhaps via one of the recent articles that blew up a bit in places like Hacker News and Twitter, and you’ve since become a regular reader, I’d firstly like to welcome you to this little journey I and some of my most longtime readers have been on for over five years now. (But don’t worry about having missed out on too much; we’re just getting started.) Secondly — you knew it couldn’t be that easy, right? — please do think about clicking one of the buttons over to the right to add your support via Patreon or PayPal. I can’t continue to do this work — and hopefully find ways to do it even better — without people just like you.
A recent survey that Patreon did with my backers revealed that you’d most like to know more about what’s coming up in the near future on the blog. I have indeed not done a great job with that, partly because I know there are some of you who like to be completely surprised by each new article. So, if you’re in that group, please take this as a spoiler warning and don’t read the next paragraph.
Our next big theme will be the advent of the so-called “god game” and the two designers who are still regarded today as perhaps the genre’s most dedicated practitioners. Interspersed between the two will be a long-delayed history of British computing after everything went sideways for Acorn and Sinclair in the mid-1980s. Then we’ll be following Infocom to the bitter end, finishing their story at last — but I’m personally more excited about digging into the pre-IF Renaissance American amateur scene that was springing up on the online services at the same time that Infocom was dying. The AGT era of text adventuring is little studied and little understood today, and I’m hugely looking forward to trying to correct that; there’s gold in them there hills. After that, we’ll be chronicling the history of the Macintosh after Steve Jobs left Apple. In the late 1980s, the Mac brought us a whole series of hugely important innovations, including HyperCard, Storyspace, and the first consumer-grade CD-ROMs, all of which we’ll be covering. But never fear, we’ll give equal time to the IBM clones as well — with the PS/2, OS/2, VGA graphics, and the first sound cards, there’s plenty to talk about there. We’ll stop in again at Sierra, always a bellwether for the PC-gaming industry as a whole; while there, I’ll get to write about a Sierra adventure game I actually like. (Doesn’t happen often enough, I know.) Throw in another visit with Cinemaware, who began doing some fascinating experiments of their own with CD-ROM during this period, and that about sums about the next few months. It should be a fun ride.
Thanks so much to all of you who help me to do this important work, whether through public comments, private help with my writing and research, or financial support. You all are, to use the single most overused word in the English language appropriately for once, awesome.
S. John Ross
June 8, 2016 at 1:48 pm
Oh man it’s been a lot of years since I heard them called “god games.” =)
June 9, 2016 at 2:17 am
“I’ll get to write about a Sierra adventure game I actually like. (Doesn’t happen often enough, I know.)”
Let me guess; it’s Hero’s Quest (or Quest for Glory), right? I was under the impression you mostly liked Leisure Suit Larry 1 and sorta liked King’s Quest 1 though I guess two would still not qualify as “often enough”.
June 9, 2016 at 4:37 am
Quest for Glory would be my guess too. That’s such a wonderful game and it works out by year.
Backed you on Patreon, can’t believe it took me so long, you’ve been writing my favorite blog for years, I’ve been remiss!
June 9, 2016 at 7:10 am
Thanks so much for your support!
And yes, you two have sleuthed it out… ;)
June 12, 2016 at 4:38 pm
first off, thank you for all your efforts over the years! I’ve learned so much about the history of computing from your posts, not only in their inherent content but in discovering where to begin looking for more information. It’s been an incredibly valuable experience that I appreciate greatly.
I also deeply enjoyed “The King of Shreds and Patches”, while I’m on the subject.
I did have one question (which I sent on IFDB, then realised would be more noticeable here) – would you have any objection to my creating an IFDB page for the Robert Lafore “His Majesty’s Ship Impetuous” Choicescript you created a while back? I enjoyed it a great deal and think it would be well worth documenting – but wanted to check in case there was some reason you didn’t wish it to appear on the IFDB site.
June 12, 2016 at 5:52 pm
You’re welcome, and feel free (or filfre)!
June 23, 2016 at 4:33 am
AGT? Wow! that certainly takes me back to my glory days of text adventuring, when games like Pork, Adventure in Humongous Cave, Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! and a Dudley’s Dilemma were games I played during my leisure time at school, among others. I think I even tried to bash out a few simple games using the charmingly simple language of AGT but my programming chops even then weren’t up to much. The Masters edition of AGT was full of great features, like the ability to use sound effects and music composed with long gone (I suspect) music composition tools, and Hurry in particular used sound and graphics as part of the adventure. This is included in the official distribution from the IF Archive. Enjoy and I look forward to reading the articles, I’ve always been a long term supportor of this fantastic blog, although I’m not financially well enough to support you in a material way alas, however I wish you well on the journey and I will always be there, so keep posting those fantastic articles.
July 27, 2016 at 5:00 pm
Why, doncha like Gabriel Knight?
July 27, 2016 at 5:02 pm
You know those times when you’re commenting in a rush and five seconds later wish you hadn’t? Pretty much. Never mind