November 16, 2007

Grunk win award!

by Nick Montfort · , 7:19 am

The winner of the 2007 Interactive Fiction Competition was just announced. It is Lost Pig And Place Under Ground, a brilliant work which may quickly become my main example of what interactive fiction can do. It has a character you can converse with, unusual physical laws that allow for a system of magic, a riddle-like object recognition puzzle, a mini-maze, pants, fire, and loads of in-jokes. There is a good explanation of how IF works, and the writing is brilliant. The game is attributed to the orc Grunk although the author’s “real” name (in the IF community) is Admiral Jota. Grunk explains the concept of interactive fiction on his livejournal:

In normal story, one person tell story and other person listen to story. … But this not like that. In this kind of story, one person tell story and other person help tell story. It other person job, figure out what person in story do next. Some time, person in story have really tricky problem, so person that helping can only finish story by thinking really hard to figure out how person in story can do that thing. Like “PUT BUTTER ON BOTTLE THEN TAKE FROG OUT OF BOTTLE AND EAT FROG”. Or some time it easy like “EAT FROG”. It depend on story.

Congratulations also go to Christopher Huang, who wrote #2 An Act of Murder, Sam Gordon who wrote #3 Lord Bellwater’s Secret, and all the others who fielded games that people played and enjoyed. The game with the highest standard deviation wins a rotating trophy called the Golden Banana of Discord, and this year that game is none other than Alan DeNiro’s a-peel-ingly named and very inventive Deadline Enchanter, which took twelfth place. The implementation of the game has a bit of the MS Paint aesthetic to it, but it’s one I’ll be showing people and talking about for a while.

All the games and interpreters are available from the download page. The full results of the Comp are also up. The Comp has been run annually since 1995 and is judged by whoever play at least five games and then registers their votes. Thanks once again to Stephen Granade, who has run the Comp for the seventh year in a row.