Electronic Literature, Chapter 4: Interactive Fiction and Other Gamelike Forms

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This research collection includes references from the third chapter of Electronic Literature by Scott Rettberg (Polity, 2018), on Interactive Fiction and Other Gamelike Forms. Computer games and electronic literature share a rich common history. Computer games are clearly the dominant form of contemporary entertainment produced within digital environments and are the sites of some of the most developed thinking about the potentialities of computation for narrative, interactivity, and multimedia. Computer games are also, at this point in history, the focus of the largest popular entertainment industry, dwarfing even the film industry. As discussed in this chapter of Electronic Literature, at least one genre of electronic literature, interactive fiction (IF), is directly derived from some of the earliest games made for personal computers – the “text adventure” games of 1980s. A community of “amateurs” coalesced around the genre in subsequent years, developing its own creation and distribution platforms, competitions, publications, and databases. If interactive fiction is the genre of electronic literature most explicitly embedded within a gaming context, other types of games and the cultures that have formed around them also provide form and fodder for the creation of electronic literature.

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Scott Rettberg