February 7, 2007

Emily Short on Second Person and IF

by Nick Montfort · , 4:47 pm

Leading IF author Emily Short has just posted a review of Pat Harrigan & our own Noah Wardrip-Fruin’s Second Person – perhaps the first full length review of the recently-released book? At the risk of providing spoilers, I’ll mention that Short, who contributed a two-page article to the volume, gives a detailed assessment of what the book has to offer to those interested in interactive fiction, and concludes:

Second Person blew me away. I was expecting good things when I saw the contributor list, but I wasn’t expecting anything quite this good. The book explores abstract theoretical and political questions that come with the kind of work we do; it also provides thorough, detailed discussions of design problems and solutions, illustrating many articles with images, diagrams, code snippets, and even full-length sets of RPG rules. It spans the production spectrum: professional games intended for large commercial audiences, start-up games by indie designers, hobbyist and fan freeware, academic experiments, pedagogical tools, one-time art installations.

The result is both grounded and inspiring. Of all the books on game design or new media I’ve read, Second Person is the one I would most strongly recommend to IF authors seeking a deeper understanding of their own work and of the work being done in related fields.