Sunday, November 20, 2011

Twisty Little Passages

My earliest exposure to adventure gaming was not actually D&D but the interactive fiction software produced by companies like Infocom in the 80s, which I played on my trusty Atari 800. In particular, it would probably be hard for me to overestimate the influence the Zork games had on my young imagination. So naturally, as soon as I discovered the existence of Twisty Little Passages by Nick Montfort, which purported to be a kind of history of interactive fiction, I had to buy and read it immediately. I was not disappointed.

According to Montfort, the first work of interactive fiction, Adventure, was inspired as much by its author's Dungeons & Dragons campaign as his caving and spelunking activities; and indeed the book contains a lot of material that I think anyone interested in the history of RPGs in general and fantasy adventure gaming in particular would find fascinating. Chapter three even contains a sort of sub-chapter exclusively devoted to Dungeons & Dragons, complete with quotes from Gary Gygax and Dragon magazine. I'm not going to lie: this book is definitely not for everyone; it's a rather dry, academic exploration of a relatively obscure subject. But for the right reader (me), this is gold.