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Old 06-21-2011, 02:08 PM   #1
6charlong
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Why Doesn’t Someone Sell Interactive Fiction For nook?

There are many interactive fiction titles like the Zork series, many of which are in the public domain. The Infocom games in particular were originally marketed as “games” for MS-DOS machines but they are, in fact, interactive fiction. These stores read like books where the reader controls the story at decision points all through the story. Many decisions only require one or two keystrokes.

“Games” like the Zork series make a perfect fit for the nook. The latest versions of Windows have always required changes to the rendering engine (Windows doesn’t typically support them out of the box). The programs to render these books have been created by fans of interactive fiction. They created Frotz, a free iPad app which renders the Infocom files and a plethora of old and new interactive fiction stories. The nook’s touch keyboard will work much better to interact with the stories than the tiny keys on the iPhone or Kindle.

This seems to me to be a fertile, untapped opportunity for someone to write the code to display these wonderful “games” on the new generations of eBook readers like the Second Edition nook and Kobo Reader. I know I’d be happy to pay for such a service.
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Old 06-21-2011, 02:14 PM   #2
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Honestly, the biggest issue that I can see is that the NC interactive model requires setting up the book as an "app". At least, that's how it seems to me with the "cookbook" that was pushed with the update -- it's a book, but it's in the store as an "app" and you can't download the text content separately to your computer in, say, epub format. At least, not that I can see.

eReaders come and go. I don't want to pay for a book that will only work on one eReader and that can't be backed up to my computer, at LEAST in "text" format. There may be some people who will pay for an interactive book and not worry about it existing 2 years down the line, but I think a lot of us have done enough "repurchasing" of books to last us a life time.

However, if the tech came around to support computer backup and a standard format that would play on other readers, I'd buy something like that.

CYOA stuff is tricky to write, though.
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Old 06-21-2011, 02:24 PM   #3
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I don't know about the Nook Color, I was thinking of using the nook STR. Its form factor and touch keyboard works perfectly for this. With the nook you could slip an entire library of interactive fiction in your backpack or purse.

The interactive fiction texts aren't written in ePub and would have to be side-loaded. You don't need to pay anything for most of them since they are already in the Public Domain. Certainly the Zork series is along with most of the old Infocom library, and there are dozens if not hundreds of other interactive fiction books offered free.
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Old 06-21-2011, 02:32 PM   #4
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On second thought, I suppose you'd have to root it to make something like this get around the B&N interface.
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Old 06-21-2011, 02:40 PM   #5
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There is, kind of:
http://kindlequest.com/

Play Zork on your Kindle at Kindlequest

Though they do have the Kindle name on it, it's just a web browser interface, with a minimalist web interface. These pages where ideal for the K2 which has a basic web browser and 3G, so you could play anywhere.

I'm sure if you look hard enough you might be able to find an app or downloadable versions.
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Old 06-21-2011, 02:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by =X= View Post
There is, kind of:
http://kindlequest.com/

Play Zork on your Kindle at Kindlequest

Though they do have the Kindle name on it, it's just a web browser interface, with a minimalist web interface. These pages where ideal for the K2 which has a basic web browser and 3G, so you could play anywhere.

I'm sure if you look hard enough you might be able to find an app or downloadable versions.
Thank you =X= for the links. So the Infocom games are still in copyright. Activision put the Zork games on the Internet at one point and offered them as a free download. I read somewhere they placed the games in the public domain but that's probably not true. I own most of them and could copy my .dat files to the iPad where I'm finally able to play them again.

Thank you again for correcting my mistake and thanks for the link. Perhaps I can play Zork at least with the K3's browser.
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Old 06-21-2011, 04:29 PM   #7
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I've got a z-machine client called Twisty on my Android phone, which can play the Infocom titles that I own. Would that run on a rooted Nook?

https://market.android.com/details?i...=search_result

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Old 06-21-2011, 04:53 PM   #8
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Funny, I was thinking of writing precisely that kind of book. Less like an interactive game than a maze story (aka "choose your own adventure"). a hypertext adventure.

BTW, here's some fascinating background about the choose-your-own-adventure book series.

http://www.tcj.com/hoodedutilitarian/2010/09/9447/
http://samizdat.cc/cyoa/

the main problem with such hypertext fiction is that it seems too "gamey" and that it requires a lot of time to set up all the branches. Even then, the payoff is relatively small. The writer can take days or weeks, and the reader can fly through the hypertext in 5 minutes....

Still, there are lots of possibilities.
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Old 06-21-2011, 05:16 PM   #9
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There's a subset of the CYOA books that are D&D CYOA books. Which means that you get choices........ with dice rolls. My husband owns a bunch of those for nostalgic reasons.

These would be rather perfect for a eReader that could perform calculations in the background. You don't have to keep a X-sided die on hand AND the reader can't cheat.
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Old 06-24-2011, 01:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjnagle View Post
Funny, I was thinking of writing precisely that kind of book. Less like an interactive game than a maze story (aka "choose your own adventure"). a hypertext adventure.

BTW, here's some fascinating background about the choose-your-own-adventure book series.

http://www.tcj.com/hoodedutilitarian/2010/09/9447/
http://samizdat.cc/cyoa/

the main problem with such hypertext fiction is that it seems too "gamey" and that it requires a lot of time to set up all the branches. Even then, the payoff is relatively small. The writer can take days or weeks, and the reader can fly through the hypertext in 5 minutes....

Still, there are lots of possibilities.
I love that second article; very colorful. It was actually very inspiring in a nostalgic kind of way -- maybe we need a NaNoWrMo style CYOA-with-hyperlinks contest? I'd participate.
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Old 06-24-2011, 02:02 PM   #11
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I wonder what would be the market for playing old text-only games on a e-reader?

That said, most early interactive fiction is much too boring and full of non-sense mazes and complex puzzles to make you feel your money was well spent. I very much prefer what the amateur interactive fiction community has been producing for the past 20 years, many of them available to be played through a web browser through virtual machine interpreters written in javascript:

http://parchment.toolness.com/

It runs in my android, but don't know about e-readers with browsers. It certainly needs a speedy javascript implementation.

you can play almost anything by Andrew Plotkin, Emily Short, Graham Nelson, Adam Cadre and Jon Ingold without fear. Solid authors.

a good spot to know more:

http://ifdb.tads.org/
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Old 06-24-2011, 02:46 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by =X= View Post
There is, kind of:
http://kindlequest.com/

Play Zork on your Kindle at Kindlequest

Though they do have the Kindle name on it, it's just a web browser interface, with a minimalist web interface. These pages where ideal for the K2 which has a basic web browser and 3G, so you could play anywhere.

I'm sure if you look hard enough you might be able to find an app or downloadable versions.
Oh, my. I am loving this.
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Old 06-24-2011, 03:15 PM   #13
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The Android Market has the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 'game', and there's a series of interactive fiction apps by Choice of Games, Inc. and some others.

The Choice of games are fun and of various genres.

So the answer to your question is that they do - but for Android.
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Old 06-07-2012, 02:45 AM   #14
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There are some CYOA books available for the NOOK. These are an entertaining flavor of interactive fiction, that when written well can have the look and feel of a classic text adventure game. They are not very easy to find when using the shop feature of the device (or even the BN search). A search for CYOA or Choose Your Own Adventure does not seem to pull them up. If you search in "nook Books", "Role-Playing Games - General & Miscellaneous" you will find some mixed in with other books. Take a look, be sure to get the sample first to make sure it is a CYOA. Luck and Enjoy!
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Old 06-08-2012, 08:31 AM   #15
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I just rooted my Nook Simple Touch, which has gone fairly smoothly though I did manage to almost brick it by recklessly deleting system files.

Anyway, there is a z-machine interpreter in the app store called JFrotz. I bought a collection of Infocom games for PC many years ago. I installed JFrotz on the Nook and moved all the .dat files from my Infocom CD over to a folder on the Nook SD card. I haven't actually played through a whole game yet, but it seems to work fine, including saving and restoring the game.
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