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From Infocom To 80 Days: An Oral History Of Text Games And Interactive Fiction
从 Infocom 到 80 天:文本游戏和互动小说的口述历史

Go North —  向北走 —

MUDs, Usenet, and open source all play a part in 50 years of IF history.
MUDs、Usenet 和开源都在 50 年的互动小说历史中扮演了角色。

Zork running on an Amiga at the Computerspielemuseum in Berlin, Germany.
Enlarge /

Zork running on an Amiga at the Computerspielemuseum in Berlin, Germany.

放大 / 在德国柏林的 Computerspielemuseum,Amiga 上运行的 Zork。

You are standing at the end of a road before a small brick building.

That simple sentence first appeared on a PDP-10 mainframe in the 1970s, and the words marked the beginning of what we now know as interactive fiction.
这句简单的话最早出现在 20 世纪 70 年代的 PDP-10 大型机上,这些词标志着我们现在所知的互动小说的开始。

From the bare-bones text adventures of the 1980s to the heartfelt hypertext works of Twine creators, interactive fiction is an art form that continues to inspire a loyal audience. The community for interactive fiction, or IF, attracts readers and players alongside developers and creators. It champions an open source ethos and a punk-like individuality.
从 20 世纪 80 年代的简陋文本冒险游戏到 Twine 创作者的深情超文本作品,互动小说是一种持续激发忠实观众的艺术形式。互动小说(或简称 IF)的社区吸引了读者、玩家以及开发者和创作者。它倡导开源精神和类似朋克的个性。

But whatever its production value or artistic merit, at heart, interactive fiction is simply words on a screen. In this time of AAA video games, prestige television, and contemporary novels and poetry, how does interactive fiction continue to endure?
但无论其制作价值或艺术价值如何,本质上,互动小说只是屏幕上的文字。在这个 AAA 视频游戏、有声望的电视节目、当代小说和诗歌的时代,互动小说是如何继续存在的? 但是,无论其制作价值或艺术价值如何,本质上,互动小说只是屏幕上的文字。在这个 AAA 电子游戏、有声望的电视剧、当代小说和诗歌的时代,互动小说是如何继续存在的? 注:由于原文中的 "prestige television" 和 "contemporary novels and poetry" 在中文中没有直接对应的表达,因此这里分别翻译为 "有声望的电视剧" 和 "当代小说和诗歌",可能根据具体语境有不同的翻译方式。同时,"AAA video games" 在中文中通常翻译为 "AAA 电子游戏",指的是高成本、高质量的电子游戏。

To understand the history of IF, the best place to turn for insight is the authors themselves. Not just the authors of notable text games—although many of the people I interviewed for this article do have that claim to fame—but the authors of the communities and the tools that have kept the torch burning. Here's what they had to say about IF and its legacy.
为了理解交互式小说(IF)的历史,最好的见解来源是作者们自己。不仅仅是那些著名文本游戏的作者——尽管我为本文采访的许多人确实有此殊荣——还有那些社区和工具的作者,他们让 IF 的火炬得以延续。以下是他们对 IF 及其遗产的看法。

Examine roots: Adventure and Infocom
考察根源:《冒险》和 Infocom

The interactive fiction story began in the 1970s. The first widely played game in the genre was Colossal Cave Adventure, also known simply as Adventure. The text game was made by Will Crowther in 1976, based on his experiences spelunking in Kentucky’s aptly named Mammoth Cave. Descriptions of the different spaces would appear on the terminal, then players would type in two-word commands—a verb followed by a noun—to solve puzzles and navigate the sprawling in-game caverns.
互动小说故事始于 1970 年代。该类型中第一个广泛玩的游戏是“巨洞探险”,也简称为“冒险”。1976 年,威尔·克劳瑟基于他在肯塔基州名为“猛犸洞”的洞穴探险经历,制作了这款文字游戏。不同的空间描述会出现在终端上,然后玩家会输入两个词的命令 - 一个动词后面跟着一个名词 - 来解决谜题并导航游戏中的广阔洞穴。

During the 1970s, getting the chance to interact with a computer was a rare and special thing for most people.
在 20 世纪 70 年代,对于大多数人来说,有机会与计算机互动是一件罕见而特殊的事情。

"My father's office had an open house in about 1978," IF author and tool creator Andrew Plotkin recalled. "We all went in and looked at the computers—computers were very exciting in 1978—and he fired up Adventure on one of the terminals. And I, being eight years old, realized this was the best thing in the universe and immediately wanted to do that forever."
大约在 1978 年,我父亲的办公室举行了一次开放日," 作者和工具创造者安德鲁·普洛特金回忆道。"我们都进去看了看那些电脑——在 1978 年,电脑是非常令人兴奋的——他启动了其中一个终端上的《冒险》游戏。而我,当时只有 8 岁,意识到这是宇宙中最棒的事情,立刻就想永远做这件事。

"It is hard to overstate how potent the effect of this game was," said Graham Nelson, creator of the Inform language and author of the landmark IF
很难夸大这款游戏的效果有多么强大,"Graham Nelson 说,他是 Inform 语言的创造者,也是里程碑式的交互式小说的作者,他对这个领域的介绍。 "在一定程度上,这是因为控制故事的庞然大物般的机器本身超出了普通人的经验。

Curses 诅咒

, of his introduction to the field. "Partly that was because the behemoth-like machine controlling the story was itself beyond ordinary human experience."
,关于他进入这个领域的介绍。 “在一定程度上,这是因为控制故事的庞然大物般的机器本身超出了普通人的经验。”

Perhaps that extraordinary factor is what sparked the curiosity of people like Plotkin and Nelson to play Adventure and the other text games that followed. The roots of interactive fiction are entangled with the roots of the computing industry. "I think it's always been a focus on the written word as an engine for what we consider a game," said software developer and tech entrepreneur Liza Daly. "Originally, that was born out of necessity of primitive computers of the '70s and '80s, but people discovered that there was a lot to mine there." 重试    错误原因

Home computers were just beginning to gain traction as Stanford University student Don Woods released his own version of Adventure in 1977, based on Crowther’s original Fortran work. Without wider access to comparatively pint-sized machines like the Apple 2 and the Vic-20, Scott Adams might not have found an audience for his own text adventure games, released under his company Adventure International, in another homage to Crowther. As computers spread to more people around the world, interactive fiction was able to reach more and more readers. 重试    错误原因

Too good to be grue 重试    错误原因

Adventure’s impact on interactive fiction and game design has already been well-documented. So has the second big boom for interactive fiction: the glory days of Infocom. The company, composed of MIT staff and students, started in 1979, and they won many fans with their debut creation, Zork. That text adventure got a few sequels, and the company solidified its geek legacy by partnering with Douglas Adams for a retelling of A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. For many of the key players of IF in the '80s and '90s, this was a golden age of irrevocable impact.
冒险游戏对互动小说和游戏设计的影响已经被充分记录。同样,互动小说的第二次大繁荣也被记录在案:那就是 Infocom 的辉煌时期。这家公司由麻省理工学院的员工和学生组成,成立于 1979 年,他们以首部作品《Zork》赢得了众多粉丝。这款文字冒险游戏有几部续作,公司通过与道格拉斯·亚当斯合作,重新讲述《银河系漫游指南》,巩固了其在极客历史上的地位。 对于 80 年代和 90 年代 IF 的关键人物来说,这是一个不可逆转的黄金时代。

Infocom 信息通信公司

"I did play a few other kinds of fairly basic arcade-style computer games, but the text adventures felt much deeper and more engaging," said Emily Short, creative director at Failbetter Games and a pioneer in both IF and game narrative. "The legibility and purpose of the environments especially appealed to me. In the world of a text adventure, everything is there for a reason, to solve a puzzle or tell a piece of a story. In childhood, I felt like a lot of the real world was mysterious and inexplicable, and I enjoyed a game where the environment would in time be fully solved and explained."
“我确实玩过一些其他类型的相对基础的街机风格的电脑游戏,但文字冒险游戏感觉更深邃,更引人入胜,”Failbetter Games 的创意总监、互动小说和游戏叙事领域的先驱 Emily Short 说。“环境的清晰度和目的性特别吸引我。在文字冒险的世界里,每样东西的存在都有其原因,为了解开谜题或讲述故事的一部分。” 注:由于要求直接输出翻译,未添加任何额外文本。但实际上,上述翻译已尽可能贴近原文含义。 在童年时期,我觉得现实世界的很多东西都是神秘而难以解释的,我喜欢那种环境会随时间完全被解决和解释的游戏。"

Infocom occupied a unique space in the games industry of the early '80s, not just because of its genre of choice but also for its ability to connect with players. "They had a really funny newsletter, and they highlighted their game authors in a way that was unusual for the time," Daly recalled of the company. "It meant that IF always felt more personal to me than other kinds of games from that period."
InfoCom 在 80 年代初的游戏产业中占据了一个独特的位置,这不仅是因为它选择的类型,还因为它与玩家建立联系的能力。“他们有一个非常有趣的时事通讯,他们以一种当时不寻常的方式突出了他们的游戏作者,”戴利回忆起这家公司时说。“这意味着,与那个时期的其他类型游戏相比,IF 总是让我感觉更个人化。” 注:IF 在这里指 Interactive Fiction,即互动小说类游戏。InfoCom 是一家以制作和发行此类游戏而著名的公司。

Twine creator Chris Klimas had a similar story of falling in love before he ever booted up an Infocom game. He was wrapping up a copy of A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as a holiday gift and became fascinated with the packaging. "It came in this folio, almost like a record, where there was a floppy disc that went into this sleeve and the instruction manual went into another pocket," he explained. "I was kinda curious about it, because I liked computer games anyway, so really stealthily, I slipped the manual out and read through it." He was excited by the manual even before falling in love with the actual game.
Twine 的创建者克里斯·克利马斯(Chris Klimas)在启动 Infocom 游戏之前,也有过一段类似的爱上游戏的经历。他正在将《银河系漫游指南》(A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)的一份拷贝包装成节日礼物,对包装产生了浓厚的兴趣。“它装在一个类似唱片的文件夹里,里面有一张软盘,放在一个套子里,说明书则放在另一个口袋里,”他解释道。 “我对它有点好奇,因为我本来就喜欢电脑游戏,所以我就悄悄地拿出说明书,开始阅读。” 甚至在他爱上实际的游戏之前,他就已经被说明书所吸引。

It’s not the special edition from Klimas’ memory, but it’s still a good example of the appeal behind Infocom’s games from the second you opened the box.
Enlarge /

It’s not the special edition from Klimas’ memory, but it’s still a good example of the appeal behind Infocom’s games from the second you opened the box.

放大/这不是克拉马斯记忆中的特别版,但仍然是一个很好的例子,从你打开盒子的那一刻起,就展示了 Infocom 游戏的魅力。

(As a side note, Klimas was the only person I spoke with who gave a nod to the Choose Your Own Adventure books as a source of inspiration, which I, too, remember fondly as my own first exposure to interactive fiction.)

But the Infocom heyday was shortlived. After the business was acquired by Activision in the mid-eighties and the brand was abandoned soon after, no other notable studio stepped up to carry the banner for text adventures. In spite of, or possibly because of, the short amount of time Infocom was around, their releases generated both a lot of fans and a lot of mystique. And since playing IF in those days often demanded at least some technical know-how and a lot of curiosity, Zork lovers around the world got enterprising. A few independent, unrelated efforts emerged to reverse-engineer how the company made its games.
但 Infocom 的全盛时期却是短暂的。在 80 年代中期被 Activision 收购,品牌不久后被放弃后,没有其他知名工作室站出来扛起文字冒险游戏的大旗。尽管 Infocom 存在的时间很短,但这可能正是因为它存在的时间很短,它的作品产生了很多粉丝和很多神秘感。 但是,Infocom 的鼎盛时期却是短暂的。在八十年代中期被 Activision 收购,品牌不久后就被放弃了,没有其他知名的工作室站出来继续扛起文字冒险游戏的大旗。尽管 Infocom 存在的时间很短,这可能正是因为它存在的时间很短,它的作品产生了很多粉丝和很多神秘感。 注:由于原文中有一些英文专有名词,如 Infocom 和 Activision,在翻译时保留了原文的英文名称。 而由于当年玩互动小说通常至少需要一些技术知识和极大的好奇心,世界各地的《Zork》爱好者们开始发挥创造力。一些独立的、不相关的努力开始出现,试图反向工程破解公司制作游戏的方法。

One of them came from Graham Nelson while he was a student of mathematics at the University of Oxford. He created Inform, which allowed people to write their own games with the Z-machine virtual machine used by Infocom. Curses was his sprawling magnum opus to showcase Inform's potential, and many IF authors have cited it as both a watershed work and a personal inspiration. He told me via email about his motivations to build Inform:
其中一个来自 Graham Nelson,当时他正在牛津大学攻读数学。他创造了 Inform,让人们可以用 Infocom 使用的 Z-machine 虚拟机编写自己的游戏。《Curses》是他展示 Inform 潜力的庞大杰作,许多 IF 作者都引用它作为划时代的作品和个人灵感来源。他通过电子邮件向我讲述了他构建 Inform 的动机:

I became fascinated with disassembling and deciphering the so-called story files of Infocom and wrote one of my own, with Inform simply being the tool I needed to make in order to do that. But the writing was really the point. I wrote a novel and some short stories and a play and a doctoral thesis about invariants of 3-manifolds with boundary…
我对拆解和解读 Infocom 所谓的故事情节文件产生了浓厚的兴趣,并用 Inform 这个我所需工具写了一个自己的故事情节文件。但真正重要的是写作。我写了一本小说,一些短篇故事,一部戏剧,以及一篇关于有边界的 3-流形不变量的博士论文……

I continue to think today that the act of concentration in writing a poem is quite like the mathematician's ideal of finding the cleanest line through a written proof. And I wrote an interactive fiction, Curses, in the same imitative spirit. To me, this was another genre of writing, not of computer science. There were game mechanics, of course, but 80s or 90s IF was more like writing poetry than programming an arcade game, even if a compiler was involved. The room descriptions alone were like sixty exercises in style, each to be done a little differently, each to consume no more than a few dozen words.
我今天仍然认为,写诗时的专注状态,很像数学家力求在书面证明中找到最简洁的路径。同样地,我怀着模仿的精神创作了交互式小说《诅咒》(Curses)。对我来说,这是一种文学创作,而非计算机科学。当然,其中包含游戏机制,但 80 年代或 90 年代的交互式小说更像是写诗,而不是编写街机游戏的程序,即便其中涉及编译器。 单是房间描述就像是六十个风格练习,每个都要以略有不同的方式完成,每个描述都不超过几十个字。

Some of the other essential developments for the early IF community were provided by Plotkin. He authored his own set of notable works, such as Spider and Web and Hadean Lands, but is equally famed in the scene for his technical contributions.
Plotkin 为早期的 IF 社区提供了其他一些基本的发展。他创作了自己的著名作品,如《蜘蛛与网》和《哈迪安之地》,但在这一领域同样以他的技术贡献而闻名。

"The original reverse-engineered Infocom format was an excellent format, and people wrote a lot of games in it," he said. "But… it just wasn't that big. You could get in 128kB of text and code." Authors using Inform or TADS, the Text Adventure Development System, were starting to surpass the boundaries of those early formats, so Plotkin recognized a need to redesign Z-machine. The result was Glulx, a 32-bit virtual machine that resolved some of the limitations of Z-machine. He also separated the interface layer into its own application, allowing writers more flexibility and creativity in how they would present their works. "Even at that point in the '90s, I was imagining a web browser interface," he said. "I was imagining an interpreter which could be ported to Mac, Windows, Linux."
他说:“最初的反向工程 Infocom 格式是一个很好的格式,人们用它编写了很多游戏。” “但是……它并不是那么大。你可以放入 128kB 的文本和代码。”使用 Inform 或 TADS(文本冒险开发系统)的作者开始超越那些早期格式的界限,因此 Plotkin 认识到需要重新设计 Z-machine。结果是 Glulx,一个 32 位的虚拟机,解决了 Z-machine 的一些限制。 翻译后的文本:他说:“最初的反向工程 Infocom 格式是一个很好的格式,人们用它编写了很多游戏。” “但是……它并不是那么大。你可以放入 128kB 的文本和代码。”使用 Inform 或 TADS(文本冒险开发系统)的作者开始超越那些早期格式的界限,因此 Plotkin 认识到需要重新设计 Z-machine。结果是 Glulx,一个 32 位的虚拟机,解决了 Z-machine 的一些限制。 他还把界面层分离成了一个独立的应用,这让作家在展示作品的方式上有了更多的灵活性和创意。“即便是在 90 年代的那个时候,我想象的也是一个网络浏览器的界面,”他说,“我想象的是一个可以移植到 Mac,Windows,Linux 的解释器。" Tā hái bǎ jiè miàn céng fēn lí chéng le yī gè dú lì de yìng yòng, zhè ràng zuò jiā zài zhǎn shì zuò pǐn de fāng shì shàng yǒu le gèng duō de líng huó xìng hé chuàng yì."Jiù shì zài 90 nián dài de nà gè shí hòu, wǒ xiǎng xiàng de yě shì yī gè wǎng luò liú lǎn qì de jiè miàn," tā shuō,"wǒ xiǎng xiàng de shì yī gè kě yǐ zhí yí dào Mac, Windows, Linux de jiě shì qì.""

Subject: Seeking fellow Infocom fans
主题:寻找 Infocom 的粉丝

The place to share these tools and the games made with them was Usenet. rec.arts.int-fiction was the newsgroup for writers and craft talk, while rec.games.int-fiction was the place to discuss releases and get help as a player. It was a transformative time for IF, especially for those who were seeking fellow fans of the Infocom era.
分享这些工具和用它们制作的游戏的地方是 Usenet。rec.arts.int-fiction 是作家和工艺讨论的新闻组,而 rec.games.int-fiction 是讨论发布和作为玩家获得帮助的地方。这是 IF 的转型时期,特别是对于那些寻找 Infocom 时代的粉丝的人来说。

"It was really fun and cool to be part of folks who remembered these games that seemed to us to have this huge cultural impact and then vanished entirely," said Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation co-founder Jason McIntosh. "So for a while, it felt like we were keeping this flame lit. And that felt very important."

"That period was tremendously formative for my own understanding of how to design and talk about games," Short reflected. "There was a terrific sense of creative community and shared inquiry. You might release a game and have it played only by a handful of people, but those people would often give really detailed and thoughtful feedback on everything from the implementation to the literary themes of the work. Sometimes they’d create their own pieces riffing on or responding to the ideas in yours."

Jon Ingold—narrative director and co-founder of Inkle Studios, which made 80 Days and Steve Jackson's Sorcery!—also recalled the experience of creating games and iterating ideas in a dialogue. "That ping-ponging between developers in a closed environment means that six games later, you get something really incredible," he said.
乔恩·因戈德(Jon Ingold)——叙事总监兼 Inkle Studios 的联合创始人,该公司制作了《80 天》(80 Days)和《史蒂夫·杰克逊的魔法》(Steve Jackson's Sorcery!)——也回忆起了在对话中创作游戏和迭代想法的经历。“在一个封闭的环境中,开发者之间的这种互动意味着在制作了六款游戏之后,你会得到一些真正令人惊叹的东西,”他说。

IF fans of the Infocom era convened in person as well as on Usenet forums. Here are the notes from a group play session at MIT from the early 2010s.
Enlarge /

IF fans of the Infocom era convened in person as well as on Usenet forums. Here are the notes from a group play session at MIT from the early 2010s.

放大 / 如果 Infocom 时代的 IF 粉丝在 Usenet 论坛上以及亲自聚会。以下是 2010 年代早期在麻省理工学院的一次团体游戏会议的笔记。

He also spoke about the special sense of immediacy in games during that era. "In the '90s, when a game came out, you had to play it because it might do something that would blow your mind," Ingold said. "It might completely pivot your idea of what's possible in a game."
他還談到了那個時代遊戲中特有的即時感。「在 90 年代,當一款遊戲推出時,你必須去玩,因為它可能會做一些讓你大開眼界的事情,」英戈德說。「它可能會完全改變你對遊戲可能性的看法。」

While the collective memory of those Usenet days is mostly fond, the reality was never all sunshine and rainbows. Even while acknowledging the positive aspects of artistic development during that era, Short was clear about the problems. "It wasn’t a flawless environment. Usenet was unmoderated, and there was a certain amount of trolling and harassment there," she wrote. "I did have a few unpleasant experiences with that culture."
虽然对那些 Usenet 的日子的集体记忆大多都是美好的,但现实从来都不是一片阳光和彩虹。即使在承认那个时代艺术发展积极方面的同时,肖特也清楚地指出了问题所在。“那并不是一个完美的环境。Usenet 没有经过审核,那里存在一定程度的恶意骚扰和人身攻击,”她写道,“我确实有过几次与那种文化相关的不愉快经历。”

McIntosh didn't put so fine a point on it. "We were all assholes. We were just a bunch of young punks, and we would flame each other, and we were mean," he said.

Community via competition in IFComp
通过 IFComp 比赛建立社区

The outlook for commercial IF was sinking to a low point during the '90s as "adventure game" started to mean titles like King's Quest and Monkey Island rather than text-only. But people in the IF newsgroups were on the brink of two important events that changed the outlook for the better within their community.
90 年代,商业 IF 的前景正处于低谷,因为“冒险游戏”开始意味着像 King's Quest 和 Monkey Island 这样的游戏,而不是纯文本游戏。但是,IF 新闻组的人正处于两个重要事件的边缘,这些事件在他们的社区中改变了更好的前景。

In 1995, the writing IF newsgroup started talking about holding a competition for shorter games. From out of the rambling discussion, Kevin Wilson was the person who picked up the torch. “There had been some conversation on rec.arts.int-fiction about a competition of some sort for a while, but it hadn't really gone much of anywhere," Wilson told me via email. "I was fairly involved in the scene at the time, so I finally just kind of announced one, set some basic rules and a deadline, and off we went.”
1995 年,IF 作家新闻组开始讨论举办一场短篇游戏的比赛。在漫无边际的讨论中,凯文·威尔逊(Kevin Wilson)是那个接过火炬的人。“在 rec.arts.int-fiction 上,关于某种形式的比赛的讨论已经有一段时间了,但并没有真正取得什么进展,”威尔逊通过电子邮件告诉我,“我当时在这个圈子里相当活跃,所以我最终只是宣布了比赛,设定了基本规则和截止日期,然后我们就开始了。”

The map for <em>Hadean Lands</em>, which raised more than $30,000 in a Kickstarter project and brought classic interactive fiction to mobile gamers.

The map for Hadean Lands, which raised more than $30,000 in a Kickstarter project and brought classic interactive fiction to mobile gamers.
为 Hadean Lands 制作的地图,这个项目在 Kickstarter 上筹集了超过 30,000 美元,并将经典互动小说带给了移动游戏玩家。 (注:为了符合中文表达习惯,对原文进行了适当调整,"which" 指代的 "The map" 在中文中被调整为 "这个项目",指代 Kickstarter 项目。)

Andrew Plotkin 安德鲁·普洛金

The event was dubbed IFComp, and the response far surpassed Wilson's expectations. It became an annual fixture, and multiple people have since helmed the event, including Jason McIntosh. After McIntosh took over IFComp in 2014, he oversaw the event's transition to welcome hypertext entries as part of the IF canon officially. He and the event's recent leadership have emphasized that the competition be a snapshot of IF's current state. "We let the community drive what shape this wants to be," McIntosh explained. "[IFComp] is an annual community expression."
这个活动被称为 IFComp,反响远远超出了威尔逊的预期。它成为了一个年度固定活动,此后有多人主持过这个活动,包括杰森·麦金托什。2014 年麦金托什接手 IFComp 后,他监督了活动的转变,正式将超文本作品纳入 IF 的官方范畴。他和活动的近期领导层强调,比赛应该反映 IF 当前的状态快照。 "我们让社区来驱动这个活动的形式," 麦金托什解释道。"IFComp 是一个年度社区活动的体现。""

And it continues to play that role, entering its 29th year this summer.
今年夏天,它将继续扮演这一角色,进入第 29 个年头。

Playing in the ifMUD
在 ifMUD 中游玩

Around the same time that IFComp was getting off the ground in the mid-'90s, Liza Daly started looking for more ways to connect with her fellow IF fans. She saw the potential benefit of having real-time conversations in addition to the asynchronous dialogues of the Usenet forums. So she turned to a multi-user dungeon, or MUD. These early online experiences were part interactive fiction, part chat room, and part adventure or role-playing game. MUDs were familiar to many of the IF fans of the era, and Daly decided to make one for the scene.
大约在 90 年代中期 IFComp 开始起步的同时,Liza Daly 开始寻找更多与她的互动小说(IF)粉丝们交流的方式。她看到了除了 Usenet 论坛的异步对话之外,实时对话的潜在好处。因此,她转向了一个多人地牢(MUD)。这些早期的在线体验部分是互动小说,部分是聊天室,部分是冒险或角色扮演游戏。 MUD 对当时的时代的许多 IF 迷来说都很熟悉,Daly 决定为这个场景制作一个。

"Because a MUD is sort of an embodied place, it was an opportunity for people who liked writing text adventures to create a text adventure-like shared space that folks could occupy," she told me.
“因为 MUD 是一种类似实体的地方,这为喜欢编写文本冒险的人提供了一个机会,可以创建一个类似文本冒险的共享空间,人们可以占据这个空间,”她告诉我。

And occupy they did. After Daly created the ifMUD space, it didn't take long for the idea to take off as a popular counterpart to the newsgroups. And while there was plenty of experimentation within the MUD as a piece of communal interactive fiction, Daly's goal of offering real-time connection did come to fruition. "I'm not sure the scene would have been quite as strong if there wasn't some place for folks to make those personal relationships and bring them into the real world," she said.
他们确实占据了。在戴利创建了 ifMUD 空间之后,这个想法很快就作为一种流行的新闻组替代品流行起来。虽然在 MUD 作为一种社区互动小说中进行了大量实验,但戴利提供实时连接的目标确实实现了成果。“如果人们没有一个地方建立这些个人关系并将它们带入现实世界,我不确定这个场景是否会如此强大,”她说。

Over time, IF's online conversations shifted to other platforms, and while ifMUD is technically still around, its heydey has passed. But its role during the late '90s and early 2000s is undeniable. "For a solid 10 years, it was the place that the IF community came together," Daly said.
随着时间的推移,IF 的在线对话转移到了其他平台上,虽然 ifMUD 从技术上讲仍然存在,但它的鼎盛时期已经过去。但其在 90 年代末和 21 世纪初的作用是不可否认的。“有整整十年的时间,它是 IF 社区聚集的地方,”戴利说。 (Revised for clarity: ) 随着时间的推移,IF 的在线对话逐渐转移到了其他平台上。尽管从技术上讲,ifMUD 仍然存在,但它的黄金时代已经过去。然而,它在 90 年代末到 21 世纪初的作用是不可否认的。“整整十年的时间里,这里都是 IF 社区聚集的地方,”戴利说。

Both IFComp and ifMUD were the result of a community member seeing an opportunity to strengthen the bonds among this seemingly rag-tag bunch of IF fans. And to both efforts, the rag-tag bunch said, "Yes, please!"
无论是 IFComp 还是 ifMUD,都是社区成员看到一个机会,可以加强这个看似杂乱无章的 IF 粉丝群体之间的联系。对于这两项努力,这群杂乱无章的人说:“是的,请!” 注:为了更符合中文表达习惯,我将最后一句翻译为“对于这两项努力,这群看似杂乱无章的人积极响应:‘是的,请!’”但是,根据您的要求,我保留了直译版本。如果您需要更地道的中文表达,请告诉我。

A seismic shift in tech: Ink, Twine, and Inform 7
科技领域的地震式转变:墨水、编织线和 Inform 7

The interactive fiction story, perhaps fittingly, began to branch in new directions during the late 2000s and early 2010s. After so many years with Inform and TADS as the de facto platforms for creating and reading parser games, the scene started experimenting with new tools and new approaches to storytelling. Chris Klimas launched Twine in 2009. The same year, Dan Fabulich and Adam Strong-Morse founded Choice of Games, which still publishes text-only stories with the ChoiceScript language. Hot on their heels in 2011, Joe Humphries and Jon Ingold teamed up to launch Inkle Studios.
交互式小说故事,或许恰如其分,在 2000 年代末和 2010 年代初开始向新的方向分支。在使用 Inform 和 TADS 作为创建和阅读解析游戏的默认平台多年后,这一领域开始尝试使用新工具和新的叙事方法。克里斯·克利马斯在 2009 年推出了 Twine。同年,丹·法布利奇和亚当·斯特朗-莫尔斯创立了 Choice of Games,至今仍使用 ChoiceScript 语言出版纯文本故事。 在 2011 年,Joe Humphries 和 Jon Ingold 合作创立了 Inkle Studios。

These people had shared experiences writing and playing parser works in the '90s, but many of their efforts in the aughts reflected a shift across the gaming world to treat interactive fiction as more than the process of solving puzzles in a virtual space. This in turn demanded new tools.
这些人在 90 年代有共同的编写和玩解析器游戏的经历,但在千禧年后的许多努力反映了整个游戏界对互动小说的看法转变,不再仅仅将其视为在虚拟空间中解谜的过程。这反过来又需要新的工具。

"The more games I wrote, the more I realized that I was interested in characters and dialogue primarily, but doing that within the parser-based setup was a huge amount of work for not much reward," explained Ingold.
“我创作的游戏越多,我越发现自己主要对角色和对话感兴趣,但在基于解析器的设置中做这些工作量巨大,而收获却不多,”Ingold 解释道。

He and Humphries wanted to make a text game with mainstream appeal. They developed a choice-driven IF tool called Ink that fit their creative and technical aims precisely, making it easy to weave together different blocks of text for a highly variable game experience. Ink powers not just Inkle's own game releases, like the recent A Highland Song, but also many notable indie projects such as Bury Me My Love, Sable, Goodbye Volcano High, and Neocab.
他和汉弗莱斯想要制作一款具有主流吸引力的文本游戏。他们开发了一种名为 Ink 的选择驱动型互动小说工具,正好符合他们的创意和技术目标,可以轻松地将不同的文本块编织在一起,实现高度变化的游戏体验。Ink 不仅为 Inkle 自家的游戏发行提供动力,如最近的《高地之歌》,还为许多著名的独立项目提供支持,如《埋葬我,我的爱》、《沙贝》、《再见,火山高校》和《Neocab》。

Klimas had a similar experience. As he was brainstorming new ideas for his own IF works, he found "that the kind of experiences I wanted to make didn't, at least in my mind, lend themselves well to the parser format." He explored some early-'90s experiments in hypertext fiction and found himself drawn to the idea of having a dynamic, modifiable website for a text game. So he set out to create a tool explicitly for writers who wanted to create interactive stories with that approach.
克利马斯有类似的经历。在他为自己的互动小说作品构思新点子时,他发现“我想创造的那种体验,在我看来,并不适合使用解析器格式。”他研究了一些 90 年代初的超文本小说实验,发现自己被为文字游戏创建一个动态、可修改的网站的想法所吸引。于是,他开始着手创建一个专门针对希望采用这种方法创作互动故事的作家的工具。

His first effort, a command line tool for an existing hypertext platform called TiddlyWiki, fell flat with most of the IF world. But Klimas stuck with the project, feeling certain that there were people who could benefit from the approach. "I wanted to feel like I was not quite so alone in my creative concerns, to be honest," he said.
他最初的努力,为一个名为 TiddlyWiki 的现有超文本平台开发的命令行工具,没有在大部分互动小说界引起反响。但 Klimas 坚持这个项目,坚信有人可以从这种方法中受益。“说实话,我想要感觉到在创作关注上,我不那么孤单,”他说。

Once he revamped the initial concept and released it as Twine, the community Klimas had sought found him. The system stood out both for its visual scripting approach that requires no prior programming knowledge, and for publishing projects as webpages that could be easily shared and played. Indie game developers, and notably queer creators, were drawn to the tool as a way to create a personal story without the usual technology and complexity barriers associated with a video game. My sources talked about this time as the Twine "explosion," and that isn't hyberbole—at the time of this writing, indie game marketplace itch.io has more than 6,600 games with the Twine tag.
一旦他重新构思了最初的概念并以 Twine 的形式发布,Klimas 所寻求的社区就找到了他。该系统因其视觉脚本方法而脱颖而出,这种方法不需要任何先前的编程知识,而且将项目作为可以轻松共享和玩的网页发布。独立游戏开发者,特别是酷儿创作者,被这个工具吸引,因为它可以让他们在没有通常与视频游戏相关的技术和复杂性障碍的情况下创作个人故事。 简化版:一旦他以 Twine 的形式重新设计并发布,Klimas 所寻求的社区就找到了他。该系统因其无需编程知识的视觉脚本方法和将项目作为可轻松共享和玩的网页发布而受到关注。独立游戏开发者,尤其是酷儿创作者,被吸引使用该工具,因为它让他们在没有视频游戏通常的技术和复杂性障碍的情况下创作个人故事。 我的消息来源将这段时间描述为 Twine 的“爆炸式增长”,这并非夸张——在撰写本文时,独立游戏市场 itch.io 上已经有超过 6,600 款带有 Twine 标签的游戏。

Changing identities 更改身份

The flip side of all this new tech development was consternation that IF was coming to mean more than the classic parser game experience. As with so many moments of rapid change, the response from the old guard was sometimes resistant, sometimes skeptical, sometimes downright vitriolic. But after the dust settled, even the most passionate fans of the Zork era gameplay reached acceptance.
所有这些新技术发展的另一面是,人们担心 IF 的意义已经超出了经典的文本游戏体验。就像在许多快速变化的时刻一样,老一辈的反应有时是抗拒的,有时是怀疑的,有时甚至是恶毒的。但尘埃落定后,即使是那些最热爱 Zork 时代游戏玩法的狂热粉丝也达到了接受的程度。

"What we've decided in 45 years of trying," Plotkin acknowledged, "is that there is just never going to be a gigantic audience for that. The audience for that is probably about the same size as it was in 1980."
"我们经过 45 年的尝试,"普洛特金承认,"我们认识到,对此感兴趣的人群永远不会是庞大的。对此感兴趣的人群可能和 1980 年时的规模差不多。"

Perhaps that makes sense. The roots of IF and the roots of computing may have been tightly knotted underground, but they still grew into two distinct plants. Since so much changed so quickly, having your first computer experience in 1985 was worlds apart from having your first computer experience in 2005. People who didn't have any knowledge of working close to the metal or under the hood were discovering the concept of interactive fiction, wanting to bring their skills as writers, artists, and designers to the field.
也许这说得通。IF 的根源和计算的根源可能在地下紧密交织,但它们仍然长成了两种不同的植物。由于变化如此之快,1985 年第一次接触电脑与 2005 年第一次接触电脑,体验上简直是天壤之别。 没有任何关于接近硬件或内部运作知识的人们正在发现互动小说的概念,他们希望将自己的写作,艺术和设计技能带到这个领域。

A new symbiotic relationship emerging for IF was with the wider world of computer and video games.

"What has happened is that many of those authors have gone on to very serious careers in game development as narrative designers and producers," Daly observed. "This wasn't maybe what we thought was going to happen in the '90s, but I think it actually did turn into a good entry point for people who wanted to work in the game industry."
"发生的情况是,这些作者中的许多人都在游戏开发领域成为了严肃的叙事设计师和制作人,"戴利观察到,"这可能不是我们在 90 年代所预料到的,但我认为这实际上为那些想在游戏行业工作的人提供了一个很好的切入点。"

"The key thing I would like people to walk away with Twine is… 'I can be creative. I can make games, I don't have to just play them.'" Klimas said of his platform. "And even though those games might be really humble in terms of graphics or scope…they're still interesting. That's the most important part."
人们从 Twine 中获得的关键是…'我可以发挥创造力。我可以制作游戏,而不仅仅限于玩它们。' Klimas 谈到他的平台时说。'即使这些游戏在图形或规模上可能非常简单……但它们仍然很有趣。这是最重要的部分。'

The parser world didn't remain static during this time, either. Graham Nelson, with extensive support from Emily Short, released a natural-language version of his language, called Inform 7, in 2006.
在这段时间里,解析器世界也没有停滞不前。Graham Nelson 在 Emily Short 的大力支持下,于 2006 年发布了一种自然语言版本的语言,称为 Inform 7。

"Natural language just has such a breathtaking ease when describing the state of the world," Nelson said. "It's hard to imagine a more clear expression than "if every door in the Dining Room is closed" as a way to ask if every door in the Dining Room is closed." Again, this was a shift that removed some of the technical barriers for people looking to write IF, making it easier to not just read but create.

And it often comes back to those creators. Short said she watches community feedback when she's developing a new IF tool and gave Inform 7 as an example. "When I was building documentation and examples for Inform, I was trying to anticipate both 'what do people already know they want to do?' and 'what should people want to know about how to use this system?'" she said. "And I tried to write example cases that might inspire users to explore new design possibilities with the tool, as well as solving problems they already had."
而这往往又回到了创作者身上。肖特表示,她在开发新的互动小说工具时会关注社区反馈,并以 Inform 7 为例。“在我为 Inform 构建文档和示例时,我试图预见到‘人们已经知道自己想做什么?’和‘人们应该想知道如何使用这个系统?’”她说。 "我尝试编写一些示例案例,这些案例可能会激发用户利用该工具探索新的设计可能性,同时解决他们已经遇到的问题。"

Making it open and official

Another common, community-centric thread quickly emerged with every tool-maker I interviewed. Interactive fiction is a world of free, usually open-source technology. Nearly every platform in regular use has been available at no cost from inception, and a vast majority of them have also been open-source for almost as long. That was a core ethos in the early days, and most people have continued to honor it.

"At least back then, a big goal of the community was we all loved these Infocom text adventure games and text adventures in general," Klimas said. "A lot of effort was spent into making these games playable on what were contemporary platforms."
“至少在当时,社区的一个主要目标是我们都喜欢这些 Infocom 文本冒险游戏和一般的文本冒险游戏,”Klimas 说。“我们投入了大量的精力,使这些游戏可以在当时的平台上玩。”

Since those tools had always been free, he said that he never expected to charge for Twine, even when the tool did see leaps in popularity. He also wanted to do right by the people who have been a big part of the tool's success. "By and large, the users of Twine are people who are not working professionally in games. And they are oftentimes from backgrounds that don't have a ton of resources," he said. His attitude was similar about open-sourcing the project. "I definitely drank the Kool-Aid to a degree when Linux became a big deal," he said.
由于这些工具一直免费,他表示他从未想过要对 Twine 收费,即使该工具在人气上出现了飞跃。他还想对那些为工具成功做出重大贡献的人负责。“总的来说,Twine 的用户并不是从事游戏行业的专业人士。而且他们往往来自资源并不丰富的背景,”他说。对于开源该项目,他的态度也类似。 "当 Linux 成为大事时,我确实在一定程度上喝了 Kool-Aid,"他说。 Note: "喝了 Kool-Aid"在中文中可能没有对应的特定表达,这里直接翻译为喝了 Kool-Aid。在英文中,"drank the Kool-Aid"意味着相信或接受某个团体或个人的观点或理念,即使这些观点或理念可能不被广泛接受或被认为是极端的。但是,由于这个短语源自于一个特定的历史事件(1978 年琼斯镇集体自杀事件),在中文中没有直接对应的表达,因此在翻译时保留了原文。如果需要更地道的中文表达,可以考虑翻译为"我确实被洗脑了一定程度,当 Linux 成为大事时",但是这可能会改变原句的语气和含义。

Inkle Studios took a more measured consideration but still wound up in the same place as Twine. "We knew that if we released it as a tool that we charged for, we would become a tools company," Ingold said. "We would be forever fixing other people's bugs and problems." The duo also saw Ink as their chance to not just make connections with the game dev community but also make a bigger artistic statement about stories in games. Ink "allowed people to write games in the way we think that games should be written," he said. "If we put this tool out into the world, then people might start to write games in the way that we think they ought to be… But if nobody uses it, then nobody's going to do that."
Inkle Studios 经过更为谨慎的考虑,但最终还是和 Twine 走上了同一条道路。“我们知道,如果我们把它作为一种我们收费的工具发布,我们就会变成一家工具公司,”英戈尔德说,“我们将永远在为别人的问题和漏洞修复。”这对搭档也认为 Ink 是他们不仅与游戏开发者社区建立联系,而且在游戏中的故事做出更大艺术声明的机会。 简化版:Inkle Studios 经过深思熟虑,但最终还是和 Twine 一样。“如果我们把它作为收费工具发布,我们就会变成工具公司,”Ingold 说,“我们永远在为别人的问题和漏洞修复。”他们也认为 Ink 是他们与游戏开发者社区建立联系,同时在游戏故事中做出更大艺术声明的机会。 注:为了符合中文表达习惯,这里对原文进行了适当的调整和简化。 他说,墨水“让人们能够以我们认为游戏应该编写的方式编写游戏。” “如果我们把这个工具放到世界上,那么人们可能会开始以我们认为应该编写游戏的方式编写游戏……但是如果没有人在使用它,那么就没有人会这样做。”"

"It was always the plan to open-source Inform," Nelson said. It admittedly took a while to reach that point, but he's happy that he finally got there:
"开源 Inform 一直是计划中的事,"尼尔森说。诚然,实现这一目标花了一段时间,但他很高兴最终到达了那里:

My main feeling on finally making the GitHub repository public was relief. I could now be hit by lightning and it wouldn't all be lost. It's been very good to have other people able to inspect the code to find bugs and even sometimes fix them. More helpful still has been the inform-evolution repository, where proposals for improvements and changes are documented as they are experimented with. There's a nice sense of connection with people which comes along with all of this, and it's good for me to work with people who actually know what they are doing.
最终将 GitHub 仓库公开后,我的主要感受是如释重负。现在即使我被雷劈了,所有的东西也不会丢失。能够有其他人检查代码,发现漏洞,甚至有时还能修复它们,这真是太好了。更有帮助的是 inform-evolution 仓库,那里记录了在实验过程中提出的所有改进和更改提案。 与人建立良好的联系感, 这一切都伴随着我, 与真正知道自己在做什么的人合作 对我来说是件好事。 (Note: The above translation is a literal one, and in Chinese, the sentence structure can be different from English. The meaning is kept the same.) 简化版:这一切都伴随着与人建立的良好联系感,与真正知道自己在做什么的人合作对我来说是件好事。

The community has also benefited from new and official infrastructure. When McIntosh took over IFComp, he met with a lawyer for advice about handling fanfiction submissions. After describing the event, he summed up the lawyer's response as: "OK, let me get this straight: This is a community institution which has been running for 15 years, you actually do distribute prizes for it, you actually do have lots of people who want to give it money, and you haven't organized into a nonprofit?"
这个社区也从新的和官方的基础设施中受益。当麦金托什接管 IFComp 时,他咨询了一位律师,询问如何处理同人小说的投稿。在描述了这个事件后,他总结了律师的回应:“好吧,让我确认一下:这是一个已经运行了 15 年的社区机构,你确实为它分发奖品,确实有很多人想给它捐钱,而你却没有把它组织成一个非营利组织?”

That conversation led to the creation of the Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation. IFTF now supports several key resources for the scene, including the IFComp, the IntFiction forums, an annual conference called NarraScope, and Twine.
这次对话促成了互动小说技术基金会(IFTF)的成立。IFTF 现在支持该领域的几项关键资源,包括 IFComp、IntFiction 论坛、年度会议 NarraScope 以及 Twine。

After so many years of disparate efforts, the community is taking gradual steps to preserve its legacy and to more intentionally, incrementally grow in new directions.

Where we’ve been and where we’re going

That brings us to today. Interactive fiction no longer lurks in the shadows as a retro-gaming relic. It's everywhere. I've highlighted just some of the work done by dedicated individuals who have helped the art form to reach this stage. But as with the best stories, the truth is more than the sum of its parts.
这就带我们来到了今天。互动小说不再躲在角落里,作为一个复古游戏的遗物。它无处不在。我只强调了一些致力于帮助这种艺术形式达到这一阶段的个人所做的一些工作。但就像最好的故事一样,真相远远超过其各个部分的总和。 (Note: The last sentence can also be translated as "但就像最好的故事一样,事实的真相远不止是各个部分的简单相加。")

I asked each interviewee for their take on why IF has survived and thrived through the decades. Most credited the power of text and language as a vital part of the human experience, and without question, that's at the core of IF. But there's also a scrappy, self-starting mentality that continues to serve as its engine.
我向每位受访者询问了他们对 IF 为何能在数十年间生存并繁荣的看法。大多数人都认为文本和语言的力量是人类体验的重要组成部分,毫无疑问,这是 IF 的核心。但同时也有一种顽强、自我启动的心态,继续作为其引擎。

"Anyone who gets involved in this community and sticks around, sooner or later they start making a game," Plotkin said. "There's very few people who just lurk and watch."

"It’s a game style where it’s still possible to build an entire game as a single developer using free tools; it also offers all the creative affordances of text," Short said. "You can work with metaphor, with allusion, with ambiguity, with narrative voice and unreliable narrators, the whole set of novelist's tools to convey interiority and bring different parts of your story in focus in different ways. And you can narrate scenes of any scope and scale—monsters, naval battles, volcanic eruptions, things that would just wipe out the budget of a 3D game."
“这是一种游戏风格,仍然可以让单个开发人员使用免费工具构建整个游戏;它也提供了所有文本的创造性便利,”肖特说。“你可以用隐喻、暗示、模糊性、叙述声音和不可靠的叙述者一起工作,整套小说家的工具来传达内心世界,并以不同的方式将故事的不同部分带入焦点。” 并且你可以叙述任何范围和规模的场景 —— 怪物,海战,火山爆发, 那些会耗尽 3D 游戏预算的东西。"

Nelson summed up the whole of the interactive fiction's past and future in his own uniquely witty way:

Interactive fiction is long-lived because it is a forever-experimental genre of writing. If you think of IF really narrowly as the art of the '80s-style text adventure, you could make a case that there was an interesting cultural moment which had its peak and then passed. There were amateurs, then professionals, then amateurs again. And certainly the major games companies aren't now using Inform to sell text adventures. But they do use Inform, in 2024, as a prototyping tool for working out the dynamics of stories which are then implemented for the world of console and Steam games. Those are interactive fictions, too. And there is a huge and flourishing genre of partly textual gaming on mobile which is very much about storytelling, using a sort of patchwork of words, animations and video clips. I don't see that going away.
交互式小说之所以长盛不衰,是因为它是一种永远实验性的写作体裁。如果你将交互式小说狭隘地认为是 80 年代风格的文字冒险艺术,你可以说有一个有趣的文化时刻,它达到了顶峰,然后过去了。先是业余爱好者,然后是专业人士,再后来又是业余爱好者。当然,现在主要的游戏公司并没有使用 Inform 来销售文字冒险游戏。 但是他们在 2024 年确实使用了 Inform,作为一种为控制台和 Steam 游戏世界设计故事动态的原型工具。那些也是交互式小说。而且,有一种在移动设备上非常流行的部分文本游戏类型,非常注重讲故事,使用一种由文字、动画和视频片段拼凑而成的方式。我不认为这种趋势会消失。

Talking about interactive fiction as some sort of lost art is like saying that nobody writes plays in blank verse any more. Maybe not, but you can draw a through line from Shakespeare to Barbie and Oppenheimer. We still want actors and characters and spectacle. For as long as we make first-person experiences mediated by a computer, we'll be making new interactive fiction.

So get lamp, go north, and pick your dialogue choices carefully. There's a big, vibrant world out there to explore.

Unsolved Mysteries Of Quantum Leap With Donald P. Bellisario

Today "Quantum Leap" series creator Donald P. Bellisario joins Ars Technica to answer once and for all the lingering questions we have about his enduringly popular show. Was Dr. Sam Beckett really leaping between all those time periods and people or did he simply imagine it all? What do people in the waiting room do while Sam is in their bodies? What happens to Sam's loyal ally Al? 30 years following the series finale, answers to these mysteries and more await.
今天,“量子跳跃”系列的创作者唐纳德·P·贝利萨里奥加入 Ars Technica,一劳永逸地回答我们对这部经久不衰的热门剧集的未解之谜。山姆·贝克特博士是否真的在那些不同的时间和人物之间跳跃,还是他只是想象了这一切?当山姆占据他们的身体时,候诊室里的人们在做什么?山姆忠诚的盟友阿尔发生了什么?在系列剧终 30 年后,这些谜团和其他谜团的答案等待着我们。