Twine games?

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Strident
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Twine games?

#1 Post by Strident » Thu Feb 04, 2021 1:45 pm

I've noticed a few modern Twine games have been added to the site recently.

Are they considered part of the scope of the CASA? I'm sure they're enjoyable but I wouldn't personally think of them as parser games and they are not, unlike some of the multiple-choice games that also stretch the definition, not games that run on old platforms.

I'm not personally that bothered by their inclusion but they seem to be more of the sort of game covered by IFDB.

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Garry
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Re: Twine games?

#2 Post by Garry » Thu Feb 04, 2021 2:02 pm

Oh, please no. They are not classics. They are not in the style of classic text adventures. They are not parser-driven games. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of these games. The database is polluted enough without adding more. Let's just stick to classic text adventures. If someone wants to create another database with solutions to choice-based games, create it somewhere else. Please.

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Re: Twine games?

#3 Post by Denk » Thu Feb 04, 2021 2:58 pm

If the majority of Twine games should not be included, perhaps the ABOUT text of CASA should be modified a bit. Currently, it says:
"What is CASA?
- All about text adventure games, the best (and oldest) type of computer game known to man!
- The site covers all 8-bit and 16-bit formats, and the entire range of games from the earliest titles to modern Interactive Fiction, with emphasis on older titles.
..."

The last sentence says that the site covers the ENTIRE range of modern Interactive Fiction.

I see Text Adventures as a sub-genre of Interactive Fiction. Twine games are also Interactive Fiction but I wouldn't call them Text Adventures, perhaps with a few exceptions if we are flexible, such as "Chuk and the Arena" which has locations, Inventory and puzzles.

So if the intention is to exclude most Twine-like games, the words "..to modern Interactive Fiction,.." could be replaced with "..to modern text adventures,..".

Currently, CASA has 21 Twine games and IFDB has more than 1700 so it doesn't look like CASA users intend to put a lot of Twine games on CASA. Still, it would be good to clarify to the users if Twine games should fulfil some criteria to be included. Perhaps, when users submit a new Twine-game to CASA, they should comment on why they think the game is "text-adventure-like"(?)

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Re: Twine games?

#4 Post by Exemptus » Thu Feb 04, 2021 10:35 pm

I don't consider these games to be part of the same genre as classic text adventures. They may well be covered by IFDB, but not all sites need to have the same criteria for inclusion.

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Re: Twine games?

#5 Post by Garry » Fri Feb 05, 2021 1:25 am

It is very unfortunate that other forms of games hijacked the term "interactive fiction" long after Infocom started using it in marketing materials to describe text adventures. Even the term "adventure" was hijacked by the arcade game world, forcing us to change the term to "text adventure". People are now using "interactive fiction" to describe choice-based books, where there is no interaction at all. Very annoying.

I think you'll find that the CASA description was written many years ago when "interactive fiction" was still synonymous with "text adventure". How things change. Perhaps it could be updated to:

"The site covers all platforms and the entire range of text adventures from the earliest mainframe titles to modern parser-based interactive fiction, with emphasis on those for the older 8-bit and 16-bit personal computers."

Note that "interactive fiction" should be lower case, as it is a common noun (actually noun phrase), not a proper noun.

If you want to get picky, the first bullet point in the About CASA description is also incorrect. To call text adventures the "best" is subjective and they certainly aren't the oldest form of computer games. Perhaps it should be replaced by something like:

"CASA provides a database of text adventures, together with hints, walkthoughs, solutions and maps provided by users."

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Re: Twine games?

#6 Post by Denk » Fri Feb 05, 2021 2:29 am

Garry wrote:
Fri Feb 05, 2021 1:25 am
I think you'll find that the CASA description was written many years ago when "interactive fiction" was still synonymous with "text adventure". How things change. Perhaps it could be updated to:

"The site covers all platforms and the entire range of text adventures from the earliest mainframe titles to modern parser-based interactive fiction, with emphasis on those for the older 8-bit and 16-bit personal computers."
I think that is a fitting description. :thumb:
Garry wrote:
Fri Feb 05, 2021 1:25 am
If you want to get picky, the first bullet point in the About CASA description is also incorrect. To call text adventures the "best" is subjective and they certainly aren't the oldest form of computer games. Perhaps it should be replaced by something like:

"CASA provides a database of text adventures, together with hints, walkthoughs, solutions and maps provided by users."
Also a good proposal. I'm curious to hear if the admins agree or if they think CASA should have a broader scope. The database already contains non-parser games like Maniac Mansion and the Elvira games.

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Re: Twine games?

#7 Post by Alex » Sat Feb 06, 2021 10:56 am

First of all, I don't know what a Twine game is, but what I read from your comments, these don't seem very interesting to me. I was never very interested in the modern adventures with a lot of text and just a few puzzles (more like reading a book with a few interactions). A lot of people talk about the classic verb-object commands very inferior, but to be honest I prefer SEARCH TABLES rather than LOOK CAREFULLY BEHIND THE LEFT TABLE.
Garry wrote:
Fri Feb 05, 2021 1:25 am
I think you'll find that the CASA description was written many years ago when "interactive fiction" was still synonymous with "text adventure". How things change. Perhaps it could be updated to:

"The site covers all platforms and the entire range of text adventures from the earliest mainframe titles to modern parser-based interactive fiction, with emphasis on those for the older 8-bit and 16-bit personal computers."
I would prefer:
"The site covers all platforms and the entire range of text adventures from the earliest mainframe titles to modern interactive fiction, with emphasis on the parser-based games for the older 8-bit and 16-bit personal computers."
The reason for this is that I don't think we should get rid of all the multiple choice games, icon adventures, and other exotic games that have entered the realms of this site over the years, but yes, I think admins should be critical of adding new exotic games.
Garry wrote:
Fri Feb 05, 2021 1:25 am
If you want to get picky, the first bullet point in the About CASA description is also incorrect. To call text adventures the "best" is subjective and they certainly aren't the oldest form of computer games. Perhaps it should be replaced by something like:

"CASA provides a database of text adventures, together with hints, walkthoughs, solutions and maps provided by users."
Yes, you are right, it is subjective and that is how it was intended. The sentence is only intended to convey an opinion and not to be politically correct. And yes if you want to be very precise maybe “one of the oldest form of computer games” would be better.

Your replacement proposal is not entirely correct I think. As far as I know, and Jacob correct me when I'm wrong, this site is never intended to be a complete database of text adventures (that's what you have IFDB for), but as the name Classic Adventure Solution Archive implies, it's meant to be an archive for solutions, a place where people can help each other solving games and where people can come into contact with each other to solve a game together. I know the interest of visitors has changed over the years. It used to be more common to play games with various other users, but nowadays most of them have disappeared and the majority of users nowadays seem to be more interested in collecting all kinds of snippets of production information about each game rather than actually playing them and try to solve them. No offense intended, everyone is free to have their own form of interest, I just notice a change of interest. However, the emphasis in the description should be more on solutions than on being a database.

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Strident
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Re: Twine games?

#8 Post by Strident » Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:35 pm

For me, CASA is invaluable *both* as a database of solutions and as a reference source for information about old text adventures. I use it daily. It is far more accurate, and comprehensive, than the IFDB when it comes to the old pre-2000 games that are often ignored, and to be honest often poorly-regarded, by the "modern IF" community.

The original post wasn't necessarily meant as a prompt to re-evaluate the focus and future direction of the site; I seem to remember a lot of disagreement about that the last time we discussed things like "competition games"... I was just seeking clarification about Twine games themselves... They're not my cup-of-tea at all so, with my personal bias, I don't feel I could make a decision about their inclusion.

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Re: Twine games?

#9 Post by Alastair » Sun Feb 07, 2021 12:16 am

I have made the What games should we include? thread "sticky" (partly because doing so will save me spending time searching for it in future). As the title indicates the thread is meant to address what sort of games should CASA cover and it may be well if people read/re-read it to get an idea of the thinking behind CASA's current coverage.

With regards to Twine games, I am not familiar with them but all the Twine games on CASA seem to be IF competition entries. If CASA were to restrict its coverage of Twine games to just those that were created for an IF competition - so long as the competition also included parser driven games - would that reduce the number of Twine games on the site to manageable numbers? Does such a restriction find favour with everyone else?

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Re: Twine games?

#10 Post by Strident » Sun Feb 07, 2021 12:27 am

Definitely useful to have that thread made sticky.

Although, this comment from the thread was never really addressed...
Further on the subject, what us the policy concerning those thousands of hypertext and multiple choice "games" being made these days?
...and that's basically Twine games.

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Re: Twine games?

#11 Post by Garry » Sun Feb 07, 2021 4:51 am

Let's stop referring to Twine games. Twine is just an authoring system. There are plenty of other authoring systems for these types of games, like ChoiceScript, Ink, Undum and many others.

What we are really talking about is choice-based games, also known as choose your own adventure (CYOA), multiple choice, branching narrative, menu-based, hyperlinked and so on (depending on the game mechanics). In other words, games that do not use command-line entry, do not use a parser, do not use lexical analysis, pattern matching and semantic analysis. These are games that show you a block of text, then present you with a number of options and you choose which option in order to determine which branch to follow to get the next block of text.

I would put the question to you another way. Does the choice-based community use CASA? Will the choice-based community maintain the database of choice-based games? Will the choice-based community submit solutions to choice-based games? If the answer to these questions is 'no', then choice-based games have no place on CASA.

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Re: Twine games?

#12 Post by Alex » Sun Feb 07, 2021 12:48 pm

Garry wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 4:51 am
I would put the question to you another way. Does the choice-based community use CASA? Will the choice-based community maintain the database of choice-based games? Will the choice-based community submit solutions to choice-based games? If the answer to these questions is 'no', then choice-based games have no place on CASA.
Well, I don't see myself as a community, but I like to play some of the classic multiple choice games. Angel of the Hell and The evil Prince for example were pretty good.
And yes, I think you can say I make "some" use of this website :). I did get some response to my solutions of these games (some have even been used to make youtube videos) so I'm not the only one interested.

I don't usually play modern games or they need to have a classic look and feel. Many of them are more like reading an interactive book rather than an adventurous mappable puzzle game.

To answer the question, do we need to maintain and update the database of all modern published multiple choice games? I do not think so. Maybe only those who are sent a solution.

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Re: Twine games?

#13 Post by Garry » Sun Feb 07, 2021 1:29 pm

Alex wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 12:48 pm
I don't usually play modern games or they need to have a classic look and feel. Many of them are more like reading an interactive book rather than an adventurous mappable puzzle game.
I couldn't agree more, but you can't start omitting games just because you don't like them. There is one hell of a lot of adventures from the classic period that are also terrible, but maybe for different reasons.

Inform 7 is responsible for most of those modern games you're referring to. It made it too easy for non-programmers to write text narratives with little or no puzzles. Blame Inform 7, don't blame modern games. There are lots of modern games that are just as much a text adventure as the classics. (Think Adventuron, Dialog, ZIL, Scott Adams, TAB, TADS, Inform 6, custom adventure engines et al.)

Getting back to the subject of what to include, I like Pac-Man, too. It has text, it's interactive and it's fiction. That doesn't mean we include the solution on CASA.

Excuse the cynicism. My point being that 'we' (meaning Jacob) have to set boundaries. We're flat out keeping up with the games from the classic period, let alone modern stuff and a whole raft of new genres. Just follow some of the Facebook pages on adventures and interactive fiction. They're chock full of just about everything EXCEPT text adventures, even books!

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Re: Twine games?

#14 Post by Mr Creosote » Sun Feb 07, 2021 2:52 pm

Since a number of participants to this thread remarked not being familiar with the subject in question, let me try and explain a further distinction. I'd say there are two different kinds of games in question there.

1. "Classic" CYOA type games. You have a paragraph of text (or three paragraphs, or five pages etc.) and then you're presented with two to five explicit choices of possible action, each of which takes you to the next paragraph.

Example:
After following this winding dirt path for several hours, it is suddenly intersected by a paved road. Could it lead you back to civilization? Do you
a) continue following the path northward?
b) follow the road to the east?
c) follow the road in western direction?
2. Hypertext games. You have the same paragraph or wall of text of whatever length, but instead of explicit choices at the end, some words inside the text are links. Following these links could have effects which may not necessarily be foreseeable before the fact.

Example (asterisks indicating links):
After the fight with my *sister*, I stormed back into my *room*. *Tears* flowing down my cheeks, I considered my options. Why was the *world* so cruel to *me*?
Clicking "sister" may reveal further thoughts about the sister or right away trigger some sort of revenge action against her. Equivalent for all the other options. Maybe even more importantly, some hyperlinks may simply reveal some additional text, either as pop-up, overlay bubble, or inserted inline, but without leaving the current text node (whereas in classic CYOA, you will for sure only get to choose exactly one option every time).

But then, as with every format or tool, they all can be used to finally emulate the same thing. For example, consider this example:
After following this winding dirt path *northward* for several hours, it is suddenly intersected by a paved road running from *east* to *west*. Could it lead you back to civilization?
Formally, this would fall into the hypertext genre, but the effects of the links would be the same as in the first (CYOA) type.

Finally, the same situation could occur in a parser driven text adventure:
After following this winding dirt path for several hours, it is suddenly intersected by a paved road. Could it lead you back to civilization?
Now simply make "north", "east" and "west" the only accepted verbs.

The other way around, unforeseeable consequences can be had in any format as well.

Text adventure or CYOA same description text about the path and the road:
> NORTH
You encounter a group of bandits which chase you off to the east. You wander aimlessly until you finally reach a city.
…or…
> EAST
The road goes on and on and on. Sun sets and you set camp under a tree. Waking up the next morning, you find you've been robbed. All your belongings are gone!
Finally, I think the lesson is: you can do anything with any tool and any format. Though some formats and tools may "suggest" specific styles of writing your narrative/game more strongly.

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Re: Twine games?

#15 Post by Gunness » Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:43 pm

As always, I'm a bit late to the party :)

To the extent that it's possible, I'd rather not open this can of worms again, because there's a certain Catch 22 quality to it. The discussion seems to pop up from time to time. Each time I'm asked to make a "managerial" decision as site owner, and when I try to do so, I'm usually met with a number of (more or less fair) protests. "Why do you include game X when game Y was nixed?" and "Game Z certainly doesn't adhere to the criteria you've set up" (games like Zak McKracken jump to mind).

As Hannes so precisely documents in his last post, it's just damn difficult to set up exact guidelines on what types of games to include. As I've said before, much as I enjoy old 8-bit games, there's no getting around the fact that a lot of them are a) fairly terrible and b) pretty much CYOA in parser based form, meaning that often you'll have exactly one choice, one command that's valid in a given situation. Are those games more or less relevant than modern incarnations?

I'm not familiar with TWINE, but it certainly does not appear to be my style or what I understand by "text adventure". So I don't see the need to actively seek out games written in this form. And, as the site is largely driven by user input, I have a hunch that the number of these games being submitted will be fairly small.
tl;dr: Unless anyone can convince me otherwise, live and let live :)

As for the whole "text adventure" vs "interactive fiction" debate, I think it's a fairly academic one. But I've consciously used it in the site's intro text to accomodate "modern" users, while also trying to cater to "classic" ones. Incidentally, this segues into my final point.

Regarding the About text: It's not a Wikipedia entry, nor was it meant to be. It's my way of trying to inject a bit of lightheartedness into the site. You know, "Welcome, stranger - feel free to have a look around and see if you find anything you like". So yes, I've allowed to cut myself some slack. Does anyone actually think that "the best type of game" is meant to be objective? :)
Alex writes: "this site is never intended to be a complete database of text adventures". Exactly - it's not. As I write under the "What is CASA not?" header: An all-encompassing encyclopaedia with every game under the sun.

Listen, I'll be happy to give the intro another look-over and see if it - and my feeble attempts at humour - need adjusting. However, I also have to reiterate the site's mission. Yes, I'd like our database to be reasonably exact (and compared to many other sites, I think we're doing a fine job). But equally important, I want the site to be welcoming. Enjoyable. Engaging. Other retro sites allow themselves to have fun, to wallow in nostalgia, to welcome players who haven't seen a text adventure in years.
Balancing those two parameters is extremely important, because if we only make the "as exact as possible" part a priority, I think we'll only cater to a small, closed circle of visitors. Our audience isn't huge in the first place, so I don't see any reason to limit ourselves.

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