Interactive Fiction Communities: From Preservation through Promotion and Beyond

Abstract (in English): 

The interactive fiction (IF) community has for decades been involved with the authorship, sharing, reading, and discussion of one type of electronic literature and computer game. Creating interactive fiction is a game-making and world-building activity, one that involves programming as well as writing. Playing interactive fiction typically involves typing input and receiving a textual response explaining the current situation. From the first canonical interactive fiction, the minicomputer game Adventure, the form has lived through a very successful commercial phase and is now being actively developed by individuals, worldwide, who usually share their work for free online.

Although it is typical to speak of "the IF community," there have actually been several communities representing different interests, different types of authoring systems, and various natural languages. Until around 2005, online archives, discussions, newsletters, and competitions focused the energies of IF community members. But since the middle of the 21st century's first decade, interest in IF has broadened beyond its earlier boundaries and academics, students, and players of indie games who are not IF community members have become active as IF players. Groups have met in person in different cities to play games and discuss work in progress. We consider the IF community's early formation and the way it, along with concept of interactive fiction, has evolved in recent years.

The Form and Conventions of Interactive Fiction
From Minicomputers to the Marketplace
The Early IF Communities
Expanding Communities and Beyond the Community
Changes in Game Distribution
IF for Other Players
Changes in Resources and the Community
Playing and Writing Together
Expanding Concepts of Interactive Fiction
IF in the Browser
High-Tech and Low-Tech Advances

Works Cited

(Source: Authors' abstract from Dichtung Digital 41)

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Eric Dean Rasmussen