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Re: [gamebooks] Videogames that work like gamebooks 1

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  • Beeblbrox
    Can t believe you listed Planescape:Torment and left off Baldur s Gate 1 & 2 (PC versions anyway).... although admittedly your choices don t *really* affect
    Message 1 of 21 , Apr 16, 2010
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      Can't believe you listed Planescape:Torment and left off Baldur's Gate 1
      & 2 (PC versions anyway).... although admittedly your choices don't
      *really* affect the long run of the story that greatly afaik there are
      significant variations of game events and scenarios due to choices.

      Not going to provide links... enormous community out there for it,
      thousands of Google results.

      Beeblbrox

      On 17/04/2010 02:08, Guillermo Alberto wrote:
      >
      > O. K., here's a thread listing some videogames that work in a
      > gamebook-like fashion to give the player a menu of choices at specific
      > points in the story. Feel free to add to it.
      >
      > Heavy Rain
      >
      > http://www.mobygames.com/game/ps3/heavy-rain
      > <http://www.mobygames.com/game/ps3/heavy-rain>
      >
      > Way of the Samurai
      >
      > http://www.mobygames.com/game/way-of-the-samurai
      > <http://www.mobygames.com/game/way-of-the-samurai>
      >
      > Way of the Samurai 2
      >
      > http://www.mobygames.com/game/way-of-the-samurai-2
      > <http://www.mobygames.com/game/way-of-the-samurai-2>
      >
      > Hotel Dusk
      >
      > http://www.mobygames.com/game/nintendo-ds/hotel-dusk-room-215
      > <http://www.mobygames.com/game/nintendo-ds/hotel-dusk-room-215>
      >
      > Planescape: Torment
      >
      > http://www.mobygames.com/game/windows/planescape-torment
      > <http://www.mobygames.com/game/windows/planescape-torment>
      >
      > Feel free to add.
      >
      > Guillermo
      >
      >



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Guillermo Alberto
      ... I haven t played them, that s why I didn t mention them. Anyway, the thread is open source, meaning everyone is free to contribute. Cosmology of Kyoto
      Message 2 of 21 , Apr 16, 2010
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        --- In gamebooks@yahoogroups.com, Beeblbrox <Beeblbrox@...> wrote:
        >
        > Can't believe you listed Planescape:Torment and left off Baldur's Gate 1
        > & 2 (PC versions anyway).... although admittedly your choices don't
        > *really* affect the long run of the story that greatly afaik there are
        > significant variations of game events and scenarios due to choices.
        >

        I haven't played them, that's why I didn't mention them. Anyway, the thread is open source, meaning everyone is free to contribute.


        Cosmology of Kyoto

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmology_of_Kyoto


        Star Saga 1 and 2

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_saga


        Fatal Hearts


        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatal_Hearts




        Guillermo
      • Guillermo Alberto
        Sorry for the sequence of posts, but I just remembered this one: Thayer s Quest http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aam3_fE_yU Background: this was a Laserdisc
        Message 3 of 21 , Apr 16, 2010
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          Sorry for the sequence of posts, but I just remembered this one:


          Thayer's Quest

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aam3_fE_yU


          Background: this was a Laserdisc game published back in 1984 (it is from the same company that made Dragon's Lair). It worked like a gamebook and the player used a keyboard to input instructions. There were both home and arcade versions.

          The only game that was made available back then told an incomplete story. The game was revamped for PC CD-ROM in the nineties, and a sequel was also published, thus completing the storyline.

          The remake of the first game was Kingdom: the Far Reaches

          http://www.mrbillsadventureland.com/reviews/k-l/kingdomR/farreachesR.htm

          The second game was Kingdom: Shadoan.

          http://www.mrbillsadventureland.com/reviews/k-l/kingdomR/shadoanR.htm


          Both games can be found today in DVD versions which only require a standard player.


          Guillermo
        • Guillermo Alberto
          Another one I remember is Darklands: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darklands_(video_game) Is that it? There aren t any more? Guillermo
          Message 4 of 21 , Apr 17, 2010
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            Another one I remember is Darklands:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darklands_(video_game)


            Is that it? There aren't any more?


            Guillermo
          • gssq
            ... Don t all non-Japanese RPGs work that way? Japanese RPGs are very linear
            Message 5 of 21 , Apr 17, 2010
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              --- In gamebooks@yahoogroups.com, "Guillermo Alberto" <gparedes76@...> wrote:
              >
              > O. K., here's a thread listing some videogames that work in a gamebook-like fashion to give the player a menu of choices at specific points in the story.


              Don't all non-Japanese RPGs work that way?

              Japanese RPGs are very linear
            • Jeremy Douglass
              Guillermo, I like the idea of discussing games like gamebooks , but I think the definition videogames that work in a gamebook-like fashion to give the player
              Message 6 of 21 , Apr 17, 2010
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                Guillermo,

                I like the idea of discussing "games like gamebooks", but I think the
                definition "videogames that work in a gamebook-like fashion to give the
                player a menu of choices at specific points in the story" is almost
                impossibly broad if you want to generate a list by mentioning individual
                games. It is like saying "let's list all the films that work in a novelistic
                fashion by having flashbacks." That's... a LOT of movies. Anyway, let me
                give some examples of gamebook-related games.

                For one thing, "a menu of choices" basically describes the implementation of
                any game with a conversation-tree that has multiple outcomes. So that
                includes hundreds of interactive fiction works (e.g. Pytho's Mask), hundreds
                of classic "adventure" style games (e.g. Monkey Island series), hundreds of
                western-style RPGs (e.g. Planescape: Torment), etc. Many of the examples in
                the initial list could be appended with "and every other game made by that
                company" -- so for example Quantic Dream recently made Heavy Rain, but
                before that they came out with Farenheit / Indigo Prophecy, which is driven
                by the same plot-branching menu system. Major franchises such as Mass Effect
                or Star Wars: KotOR are likewise defined by plot-branching decisions that
                occur in conversations. Often this is a platform or engine design issue as
                much as a game design issue -- so for example Neverwinter Nights implements
                plot branching in level design, but so do many of the thousands of
                Neverwinter Nights modules created by the fan community with the Aurora
                toolset. There are also whole genres of games where the core gameplay is
                conversation tree branching -- for example, most of the huge catalog of
                dating sims (a genre primarily popular in Japan) work in this way.

                If I think of games that are actually *structured* like gamebooks (as
                opposed to having a few choices scattered throughout them), the first one I
                think of is the laserdisc game Dragon's Lair (and Dragon's Lair II, and
                Space Ace, etc.). The game is fast-twitch, but essentially is set up as a
                huge chain of simple decision points that are tied to 3-5 second video clips
                -- although usually the choice is 1) advance or 2) die, you often know what
                the results of a choice will be until you turn the page (so to speak). But
                even games that are defined by almost *no* decision points or conversational
                interaction use them at crucial points. For example, Myst, a genre-defining
                graphic adventure game of the CD-ROM era, culminates after hours of play in
                a clearly marked plot-branching decision with three distinct outcomes.
                That's actually outside your definition of "a menu of choices" (it is a room
                of choices), but only just. Beyond that, a lot of games have heavily
                discussed "alternate ending" systems that aren't even remotely like gamebook
                choices -- the embedded decisions that give the final good/bad ending in
                BioShock Oddworld, for example, are based on ethical choices that have
                nothing to do with branch-points.

                Anyway -- I'd love to see a list of gamebook-like-games that is more tightly
                defined somehow. It would probably be a short list, but an interesting one.

                -- Jeremy


                On Sat, Apr 17, 2010 at 6:24 AM, Guillermo Alberto
                <gparedes76@...>wrote:

                >
                >
                >
                > Another one I remember is Darklands:
                >
                > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darklands_(video_game)
                >
                > Is that it? There aren't any more?
                >
                > Guillermo
                >
                >
                >


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Travis Casey
                ... I think we could usefully distinguish between games that are like gamebooks on the whole and games that are like gamebooks in parts . A branching
                Message 7 of 21 , Apr 20, 2010
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                  On Apr 17, 2010, at 1:37 PM, Jeremy Douglass wrote:

                  > I like the idea of discussing "games like gamebooks", but I think the
                  > definition "videogames that work in a gamebook-like fashion to give
                  > the
                  > player a menu of choices at specific points in the story" is almost
                  > impossibly broad if you want to generate a list by mentioning
                  > individual
                  > games. It is like saying "let's list all the films that work in a
                  > novelistic
                  > fashion by having flashbacks." That's... a LOT of movies. Anyway,
                  > let me
                  > give some examples of gamebook-related games.

                  I think we could usefully distinguish between "games that are like
                  gamebooks on the whole" and "games that are like gamebooks in parts".
                  A branching conversation tree is gamebook-like, but if it's embedded
                  in a game where player choices make no meaningful "plot" difference,
                  then I don't think we can call the game as a whole "gamebook-like".

                  As Jeremy notes, "Dragon's Lair" is essentially a gamebook where one
                  makes choices with the joystick and buttons. As gamebooks go, it's
                  very primitive, since (again, as he notes) there's only one plot thread.

                  He mentions BioShock Oddworld as a sort-of counterexample, saying that
                  it has different endings, but they're not reached through branch-
                  points. I'd note there, though, that there are gamebooks where one
                  accumulates points, objects, or other things, and what you have at
                  certain points determines how the game branches. (For example, in the
                  "Tolkein Quest" gamebooks, the player is supposed to keep track of
                  time, and how much time has passed since starting the game determines
                  what happens at some branch points; also some areas differ in their
                  branching depending on whether you enter them during daylight or at
                  night).

                  Thus, one could easily write a gamebook where the player is directed
                  to track points that rack an "ethical meter", and the ending arrived
                  at depends on that. Indeed, my own "An Orc's Day" does a similar
                  thing, through the Orcishness trait.

                  Also, instead of simply naming games, it may be more interesting to
                  discuss *what* is "gamebook-like" in each game.

                  For my own addition:

                  I recently started playing Champions Online, and discovered that, in
                  addition to the usual MMORPG quest structure, it has a choice you make
                  after leaving the starting area of which area to go to next. The two
                  areas you can choose from at that point are both instanced, and are
                  mutually exclusive -- if you go to one, you *will not* be able to go
                  to the other on the same character. This is of specific interest
                  because some "perks" (the CO term for what other games call
                  "achievements" -- things that you can get a "did this!" sticker for,
                  basically) are only available in one of those areas. Thus, if you
                  choose Area A, you'll never be able to get those perks that are
                  exclusive to Area B, and vice-versa.

                  --
                  Travis Casey
                  efindel@...
                  Reality is vastly overrated.
                • Mike
                  Could you guys sort the games like gamebooks list in different categories for each game system so it ll be easier for me to look up some of these games to
                  Message 8 of 21 , Apr 20, 2010
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                    Could you guys sort the "games like gamebooks" list in different categories for each game system so it'll be easier for me to look up some of these games to try them for myself.




                    ________________________________
                    From: Travis Casey <efindel@...>
                    To: gamebooks@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Tue, April 20, 2010 10:50:11 AM
                    Subject: Re: [gamebooks] Re: Videogames that work like gamebooks 5

                     
                    On Apr 17, 2010, at 1:37 PM, Jeremy Douglass wrote:

                    > I like the idea of discussing "games like gamebooks", but I think the
                    > definition "videogames that work in a gamebook-like fashion to give
                    > the
                    > player a menu of choices at specific points in the story" is almost
                    > impossibly broad if you want to generate a list by mentioning
                    > individual
                    > games. It is like saying "let's list all the films that work in a
                    > novelistic
                    > fashion by having flashbacks." That's... a LOT of movies. Anyway,
                    > let me
                    > give some examples of gamebook-related games.

                    I think we could usefully distinguish between "games that are like
                    gamebooks on the whole" and "games that are like gamebooks in parts".
                    A branching conversation tree is gamebook-like, but if it's embedded
                    in a game where player choices make no meaningful "plot" difference,
                    then I don't think we can call the game as a whole "gamebook-like" .

                    As Jeremy notes, "Dragon's Lair" is essentially a gamebook where one
                    makes choices with the joystick and buttons. As gamebooks go, it's
                    very primitive, since (again, as he notes) there's only one plot thread.

                    He mentions BioShock Oddworld as a sort-of counterexample, saying that
                    it has different endings, but they're not reached through branch-
                    points. I'd note there, though, that there are gamebooks where one
                    accumulates points, objects, or other things, and what you have at
                    certain points determines how the game branches. (For example, in the
                    "Tolkein Quest" gamebooks, the player is supposed to keep track of
                    time, and how much time has passed since starting the game determines
                    what happens at some branch points; also some areas differ in their
                    branching depending on whether you enter them during daylight or at
                    night).

                    Thus, one could easily write a gamebook where the player is directed
                    to track points that rack an "ethical meter", and the ending arrived
                    at depends on that. Indeed, my own "An Orc's Day" does a similar
                    thing, through the Orcishness trait.

                    Also, instead of simply naming games, it may be more interesting to
                    discuss *what* is "gamebook-like" in each game.

                    For my own addition:

                    I recently started playing Champions Online, and discovered that, in
                    addition to the usual MMORPG quest structure, it has a choice you make
                    after leaving the starting area of which area to go to next. The two
                    areas you can choose from at that point are both instanced, and are
                    mutually exclusive -- if you go to one, you *will not* be able to go
                    to the other on the same character. This is of specific interest
                    because some "perks" (the CO term for what other games call
                    "achievements" -- things that you can get a "did this!" sticker for,
                    basically) are only available in one of those areas. Thus, if you
                    choose Area A, you'll never be able to get those perks that are
                    exclusive to Area B, and vice-versa.

                    --
                    Travis Casey
                    efindel@gmail. com
                    Reality is vastly overrated.







                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Jeremy Douglass
                    ... Errata: BioShock Oddworld was a typo -- I meant Bioshock ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BioShock) OR Oddworld: Abe s Oddysee (
                    Message 9 of 21 , Apr 20, 2010
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                      On Tue, Apr 20, 2010 at 7:50 AM, Travis Casey <efindel@...> wrote:

                      > I think we could usefully distinguish between "games that are like
                      > gamebooks on the whole" and "games that are like gamebooks in parts".
                      > A branching conversation tree is gamebook-like, but if it's embedded
                      > in a game where player choices make no meaningful "plot" difference,
                      > then I don't think we can call the game as a whole "gamebook-like".
                      >
                      > Travis, this seems like a good distinction to me.


                      > He mentions BioShock Oddworld as a sort-of counterexample, saying that
                      > it has different endings, but they're not reached through branch-
                      > points.
                      >

                      Errata: "BioShock Oddworld" was a typo -- I meant Bioshock (
                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BioShock) OR Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee (
                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oddworld:_Abe%27s_Oddysee), each of which has a
                      branching ending that is based on certain play statistics, not a choice menu
                      structure.


                      > I'd note there, though, that there are gamebooks where one
                      > accumulates points, objects, or other things, and what you have at
                      > certain points determines how the game branches.
                      >

                      Good point -- gamebooks do engage in simulation and can have
                      statistically-based choice-points. Still, it might help to be a bit
                      conservative about what qualifies as "gamebook-like," even when drawing from
                      real examples, because otherwise *every* game is gamebook like, and not just
                      every game with RPG elements like Diablo II. For example: the Emerald
                      Enchanter book from Comat Heroes is clearly a gamebook. Does that mean
                      therefor that Wolfenstein 3D or Combat Flight Simulator are gamebook-like?

                      http://www.gamebooks.org/show_item.php?id=687
                      http://www.gamebooks.org/scans/CombatHeroes/ch_ee_combat.gif

                      -- Jeremy


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Guillermo Paredes
                      Gabriel wrote: Don t all non-Japanese RPGs work that way? Well, to cite one example, I don t think Diablo does. Japanese RPGs are very linear Much more so
                      Message 10 of 21 , Apr 24, 2010
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                        Gabriel wrote:

                        "Don't all non-Japanese RPGs work that way?"

                        Well, to cite one example, I don't think Diablo does.

                        "Japanese RPGs are very linear"

                        Much more so than the Forbidden Gateway gamebooks, thus my defense of them.

                        Jeremy wrote:

                        "I like the idea of discussing "games like gamebooks", but I think the
                        definition "videogames that work in a gamebook-like fashion to give the
                        player a menu of choices at specific points in the story" is almost
                        impossibly broad if you want to generate a list by mentioning individual
                        games. "


                        I agree that practically all games have some sort of branching outcomes, and that my initial definition may not have been as clear as it should be. Also, I'm aware than when playing Rogue, for example, every encounter offers you a set of options. However, I still believe a line can be drawn, even if it's not always very precise. When I refer to "games that work like gamebooks", I'm thinking about the following:


                        1. Text adventures where, instead of a parser, you are given a menu of choices at every turning point (the games that use Jon Ingold's Adventure Book engine are a case in point).

                        2. Games that work like animated gamebooks, where the only player input comes in the way of choices (such as Thayer's Quest/Kingdom), or where there is some action between choices (such as Way of the Samurai). The defining point is that there are branching storylines resulting from the choices. As a note, I don't think Dragon's Lair and its clones really fit the bill - they seem to me more like predecessors to Dance Dance Revolution and the like.

                        3. Games which are actually paper gamebooks, with the computer only taking charge of the game rules and leaving the reading and paragraph hopping to be done by the player. Star Saga is the case in point here.


                        I realize not everyone is going to agree with me, but here are two incomplete lists of games by people who believe in defining this sort of game in some way:

                        http://www.hotud.org/rpg/tag/subgenre/Choose+Your+Own+Adventure/criteria:3/
                         
                        http://www.mobygames.com/game-group/choose-your-own-adventure-games
                         
                         
                        The Ace Attorney series is another one that fits the bill:

                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ace_Attorney#Gameplay

                        And of course the aforementioned Adventure Book engine, which has at least two games made for it.


                        Guillermo




                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Per Jorner
                        ... But Diablo isn t really an RPG. It is often called an action RPG , although I think this is a misnomer. ... Although JRPGs like Chrono Trigger or Final
                        Message 11 of 21 , Apr 24, 2010
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                          >"Don't all non-Japanese RPGs work that way?"
                          >
                          >Well, to cite one example, I don't think Diablo does.

                          But Diablo isn't really an RPG. It is often called an "action RPG",
                          although I think this is a misnomer.

                          >"Japanese RPGs are very linear"
                          >
                          >Much more so than the Forbidden Gateway gamebooks, thus my defense of
                          > >them.

                          Although JRPGs like Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy can be quite linear, I
                          don't think they qualify as gamebook-like since you do very little
                          gamebookish stuff in them. (The same is true for Torment and games of that
                          type; the fact that you intermittently choose between text options is not
                          much of a link in itself.) As I understand it, however, there exists an
                          entire Japanese popular genre of games with limited production
                          requirements that are essentially electronic gamebooks and only
                          involve selection of text options, even in combat sequences. The only one
                          I've played is Radical Dreamers, which is connected to the Chrono Trigger
                          universe. It's a short gamebook with still pictures and music that change
                          with location and context, and a simple (hidden) life resource.

                          -----------------------------------------------------------------------
                          Per Jorner aka Finster aka Coffee Dragon (pel@...)
                          Hoompage at http://user.tninet.se/~wcw454p

                          Dragons are like cats, only bigger, and sometimes they drink coffee.
                        • Hamza
                          I personally hate using the term RPG for any kind of video game. In my opinion the term RPG should only be used for actual RPGs (e.g. D&D, Warhammer etc.)
                          Message 12 of 21 , Apr 25, 2010
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                            I personally hate using the term 'RPG' for any kind of video game. In my opinion the term RPG should only be used for actual RPGs (e.g. D&D, Warhammer etc.) and not anything electronic. Diablo is a CRPG, not an RPG.

                            Anyway, that's just my two cents . . .

                            --- In gamebooks@yahoogroups.com, "Per Jorner" <pel@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > >"Don't all non-Japanese RPGs work that way?"
                            > >
                            > >Well, to cite one example, I don't think Diablo does.
                            >
                            > But Diablo isn't really an RPG. It is often called an "action RPG",
                            > although I think this is a misnomer.
                            >
                            > >"Japanese RPGs are very linear"
                            > >
                            > >Much more so than the Forbidden Gateway gamebooks, thus my defense of
                            > > >them.
                            >
                            > Although JRPGs like Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy can be quite linear, I
                            > don't think they qualify as gamebook-like since you do very little
                            > gamebookish stuff in them. (The same is true for Torment and games of that
                            > type; the fact that you intermittently choose between text options is not
                            > much of a link in itself.) As I understand it, however, there exists an
                            > entire Japanese popular genre of games with limited production
                            > requirements that are essentially electronic gamebooks and only
                            > involve selection of text options, even in combat sequences. The only one
                            > I've played is Radical Dreamers, which is connected to the Chrono Trigger
                            > universe. It's a short gamebook with still pictures and music that change
                            > with location and context, and a simple (hidden) life resource.
                            >
                            > -----------------------------------------------------------------------
                            > Per Jorner aka Finster aka Coffee Dragon (pel@...)
                            > Hoompage at http://user.tninet.se/~wcw454p
                            >
                            > Dragons are like cats, only bigger, and sometimes they drink coffee.
                            >
                          • gssq
                            ... So how would you distinguish a videogame that worked like a gamebook and an electronic gamebook?
                            Message 13 of 21 , Apr 26, 2010
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                              > Although JRPGs like Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy can be quite linear, I
                              > don't think they qualify as gamebook-like since you do very little
                              > gamebookish stuff in them. (The same is true for Torment and games of that
                              > type; the fact that you intermittently choose between text options is not
                              > much of a link in itself.) As I understand it, however, there exists an
                              > entire Japanese popular genre of games with limited production
                              > requirements that are essentially electronic gamebooks and only
                              > involve selection of text options, even in combat sequences. The only one
                              > I've played is Radical Dreamers, which is connected to the Chrono Trigger
                              > universe. It's a short gamebook with still pictures and music that change
                              > with location and context, and a simple (hidden) life resource.

                              So how would you distinguish a videogame that worked like a gamebook and an electronic gamebook?
                            • Per Jorner
                              ... That obviously depends on what function we want that distinction to serve, if any. Lineage and context could be one way; one game could historically be a
                              Message 14 of 21 , Apr 26, 2010
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                                > So how would you distinguish a videogame that worked like a gamebook and
                                >an electronic gamebook?

                                That obviously depends on what function we want that distinction to serve,
                                if any. Lineage and context could be one way; one game could historically
                                be a stripped-down RPG and another a glitzed-up pick-a-path, even if they
                                work roughly the same way. (This touches on a much larger discussion on
                                genre and terminology. Is there a fundamental difference between writing
                                mainstream literature with science fiction trappings and writing science
                                fiction that courts mainstream sensibilities? This is not a resolved
                                debate.) You could invoke or dismiss authorial intention. You could ask
                                whether the mechanical workings of a game could be practically represented
                                in a book. You could look at the nature and abundance of non-textual
                                elements. You could look at all of these things and consult your gut
                                feeling.

                                -----------------------------------------------------------------------
                                Per Jorner aka Finster aka Coffee Dragon (pel@...)
                                Hoompage at http://user.tninet.se/~wcw454p

                                Dragons are like cats, only bigger, and sometimes they drink coffee.
                              • Nils Jeppe
                                In the end these games all simulate reality. Not necessarily our reality, but a reality. Since such a simulation is way too complex for what we can handle,
                                Message 15 of 21 , Apr 27, 2010
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                                  In the end these games all simulate reality. Not necessarily our reality,
                                  but "a" reality. Since such a simulation is way too complex for what we
                                  can handle, we strip them down to a format that no longer suffers from
                                  that limitation. A book can only do "so much" in providing interactivity.
                                  A computer can do much more. There were a few programs in the 80s/90s that
                                  were basically digital game books, but for the most part the limitations
                                  imposed by the book format no longer held true. The closest you will get
                                  is a text adventure; graphical adventures and so-called crpgs are just a
                                  more complex version of that. You still have more or less pre-defined
                                  goals (quests in crpgs, puzzles in adventure games) but you also have much
                                  more detail in the world, much bigger freedom of choice.

                                  a "videogame that works like a game book" however is inherently very
                                  limited in its definition, since game-books are so limited. Basically,
                                  it's an interactive program with menu points to pick from. Text adventures
                                  I can see as a gray area, since the commands are mostly just hidden
                                  menues, but beyond that it's just way too complex for a game book.

                                  I don't know any real game-book like computer games off-hand. There's the
                                  Lone Wolf digital reader that some guys are creating (probably easily
                                  googled), and I do recall a fantasy game on one of the C64 "games on disk"
                                  magazines way back then. Otherwise... there's probably not much of this
                                  type of game simply because it is fairly trivial to implement a more
                                  complex game software.

                                  - Nils


                                  On Mon, 26 Apr 2010, Per Jorner wrote:

                                  >> So how would you distinguish a videogame that worked like a gamebook and
                                  >> an electronic gamebook?
                                  >
                                  > That obviously depends on what function we want that distinction to serve,
                                  > if any. Lineage and context could be one way; one game could historically
                                  > be a stripped-down RPG and another a glitzed-up pick-a-path, even if they
                                  > work roughly the same way. (This touches on a much larger discussion on
                                  > genre and terminology. Is there a fundamental difference between writing
                                  > mainstream literature with science fiction trappings and writing science
                                  > fiction that courts mainstream sensibilities? This is not a resolved
                                  > debate.) You could invoke or dismiss authorial intention. You could ask
                                  > whether the mechanical workings of a game could be practically represented
                                  > in a book. You could look at the nature and abundance of non-textual
                                  > elements. You could look at all of these things and consult your gut
                                  > feeling.
                                  >
                                  > -----------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  > Per Jorner aka Finster aka Coffee Dragon (pel@...)
                                  > Hoompage at http://user.tninet.se/~wcw454p
                                  >
                                  > Dragons are like cats, only bigger, and sometimes they drink coffee.
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > ------------------------------------
                                  >
                                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                • Guillermo Alberto
                                  Yet more games. A Spanish-language competition for CYOA interactive fiction titles written for the ZX Spectrum.
                                  Message 16 of 21 , May 2, 2010
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                                    Yet more games. A Spanish-language competition for CYOA interactive fiction titles written for the ZX Spectrum.

                                    http://www.bytemaniacos.com/html/aventura2006.htm


                                    Guillermo
                                  • Guillermo Alberto
                                    ... I am much of the same view. However I would point out that online computer RPGs actually *work* like role-playing games. Other games described as RPGs I
                                    Message 17 of 21 , May 8, 2010
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                                      > But Diablo isn't really an RPG. It is often called an "action RPG",
                                      > although I think this is a misnomer.


                                      I find the distinction between action and turn-based gameplay practically useless to describe what a CRPG is. In fact, I find every definition of the genre I know of to be useless. I tend more to subscribe this view:


                                      > I personally hate using the term 'RPG' for any kind of video game. In my opinion the term RPG should only be used for actual RPGs (e.g. D&D, Warhammer etc.)


                                      I am much of the same view. However I would point out that online computer RPGs actually *work* like role-playing games. Other games described as RPGs I would label as "adventure games" or "strategy games" (depending on the mechanics), but I accept the use of RPG as a convenience label.


                                      >
                                      > Although JRPGs like Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy can be quite linear, I
                                      > don't think they qualify as gamebook-like since you do very little
                                      > gamebookish stuff in them. (The same is true for Torment and games of that
                                      > type; the fact that you intermittently choose between text options is not
                                      > much of a link in itself.)


                                      The fact with that last game is that a lot of gameplay actually captures the best aspect of gamebooks: choosing between options that actually impact the storyline in meaningful ways. True, there are N games which offer you a menu of choices at every point, but in 99.9 % of them the choices given most often are "fight, cast spell or run away". In some of them there are conversation menus and the like, but they are either inconsequential or take up too little of the game. Not in Torment! I agree however that this game is very different from the other examples I've given.


                                      > So how would you distinguish a videogame that worked like a gamebook and an
                                      electronic gamebook?


                                      Assuming a distinction is really needed, I am including both without bothering too much with it.



                                      The closest you will get
                                      > is a text adventure; graphical adventures and so-called crpgs are just a
                                      > more complex version of that. You still have more or less pre-defined
                                      > goals (quests in crpgs, puzzles in adventure games) but you also have much
                                      > more detail in the world, much bigger freedom of choice.


                                      That's an argument used very often, especially by fans of text adventures. However I don't buy it too much. After all, reality (and life) is very rarely about being given an unlimited amount of choice*, and more often about the constraint of having to choose between A, B, and maybe C. This is why pick-a-path adventures remain a very engaging form of entertaiment, despite what some detractors might say.


                                      * Except maybe when you go to Starbucks, but is the experience really *that* much better than the good old coffee shop? In fact, doesn't an excess of choice produce a sensation of blandness?


                                      Alright. Back to our scheduled programming, I assume.


                                      Guillermo
                                    • Travis Casey
                                      ... The thing is -- gamebooks aren t really quite that limited. Consider the following things: - Maps where one picks a point to travel to, then consults
                                      Message 18 of 21 , May 10, 2010
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                                        On Apr 27, 2010, at 10:13 AM, Nils Jeppe wrote:

                                        > a "videogame that works like a game book" however is inherently very
                                        > limited in its definition, since game-books are so limited. Basically,
                                        > it's an interactive program with menu points to pick from. Text
                                        > adventures
                                        > I can see as a gray area, since the commands are mostly just hidden
                                        > menues, but beyond that it's just way too complex for a game book.
                                        >
                                        > I don't know any real game-book like computer games off-hand.
                                        > There's the
                                        > Lone Wolf digital reader that some guys are creating (probably easily
                                        > googled), and I do recall a fantasy game on one of the C64 "games on
                                        > disk"
                                        > magazines way back then. Otherwise... there's probably not much of
                                        > this
                                        > type of game simply because it is fairly trivial to implement a more
                                        > complex game software.

                                        The thing is -- gamebooks aren't really quite that limited. Consider
                                        the following things:

                                        - Maps where one picks a point to travel to, then consults entries
                                        based on that. (Barbarian Prince, Night of the Nazgul, at least one
                                        of the solo adventures for High Fantasy.)

                                        - Timekeeping systems, where sections are marked with how long they
                                        took, and different things can happen in some sections depending on
                                        what time you get there. (Night of the Nazgul. Barbarian Prince may
                                        have had some of this as well, but I don't remember for sure.)

                                        - Random encounters, where the player periodically rolls on a table
                                        to see what is encountered. (Barbarian Prince did this, with the
                                        table varying depending on the terrain you were in. I believe Night
                                        of the Nazgul had some of this as well.)

                                        - Events, where something only happens in a location once. Once it
                                        happens, the player marks it off on a sheet, and if they return to the
                                        same location, they're directed to go to a different section. Note
                                        that such events can also affect what happens in other locations --
                                        this can be as simple as, "If you talked to the old hermit in the
                                        woods, go to X. If you didn't, go to Y." (Common in the simple
                                        form. Complex form, with marking off coded events on a sheet, found
                                        in some of the High Fantasy solos.)

                                        With just these additions -- all of which can easily be done in the
                                        gamebook format -- you're up to something that can easily model, say,
                                        the Legend of Zelda games. (Or, to take a less-famous example, the
                                        Kyle's Quest games on the Palm platform.) Granted, the vast majority
                                        of gamebooks don't have these things, but some do.

                                        Add in a skill system and inventory system -- both of which are very
                                        common in gamebooks -- and you're up to the complexity of, say, the
                                        old Wizardry! games and the early Ultima games. Add in tactical maps
                                        and pre-scripted tactics for opponents (as in the solos for The
                                        Fantasy Trip), and you're up to the complexity of the old D&D computer
                                        games (Pool of Radiance, Curse of the Azure Bonds, etc.).

                                        Indeed, at that point, with a complex combat and skill system (like
                                        The Fantasy Trip had), you're really at the complexity of most of
                                        World of Warcraft and the like -- only with a 2-D grid instead of
                                        being 3-D. (There are some exceptions, where those games actually
                                        make use of the 3-D element, but there aren't really a lot of them.)
                                        The biggest difference at that point is that gamebooks are single-
                                        player. (On the other hand, most WoW dungeons are travelled as a
                                        group -- the only point that having multiple players really matters in
                                        them is in combat.)

                                        Granted, Legend of Zelda and Pool of Radiance don't *look* like
                                        gamebooks -- but everything they do can be done in the gamebook format.

                                        --
                                        Travis Casey
                                        efindel@...
                                        Reality is vastly overrated.





                                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                      • Jeremy Douglass
                                        This is where things get interesting, and also maddening. The thing is, many (most?) of the things that can be simulated with a computer can also be simulated
                                        Message 19 of 21 , May 10, 2010
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                                          This is where things get interesting, and also maddening. The thing is, many (most?) of the things that can be simulated with a computer can also be simulated using paper in at least a rough fashion. There isn't a categorical reason that a paper object can't have all kinds of surprising features -- immersive 3D, map navigation, location-based hitpoints, randomly generated levels -- you can do all these things in paper.

                                          Still, it is helpful IMO to draw a distinction between what one *can* do with paper in a very few examples and what one can do easily or what one usually does in gamebooks. You *can* pipe smells into a movie theatre, and some people do in certain theme parks, but smell isn't a typical feature of cinema.

                                          -- Jeremy


                                          On May 10, 2010, at 8:37 AM, Travis Casey <efindel@...> wrote:

                                          > On Apr 27, 2010, at 10:13 AM, Nils Jeppe wrote:
                                          >
                                          > > a "videogame that works like a game book" however is inherently very
                                          > > limited in its definition, since game-books are so limited. Basically,
                                          > > it's an interactive program with menu points to pick from. Text
                                          > > adventures
                                          > > I can see as a gray area, since the commands are mostly just hidden
                                          > > menues, but beyond that it's just way too complex for a game book.
                                          > >
                                          > > I don't know any real game-book like computer games off-hand.
                                          > > There's the
                                          > > Lone Wolf digital reader that some guys are creating (probably easily
                                          > > googled), and I do recall a fantasy game on one of the C64 "games on
                                          > > disk"
                                          > > magazines way back then. Otherwise... there's probably not much of
                                          > > this
                                          > > type of game simply because it is fairly trivial to implement a more
                                          > > complex game software.
                                          >
                                          > The thing is -- gamebooks aren't really quite that limited. Consider
                                          > the following things:
                                          >
                                          > - Maps where one picks a point to travel to, then consults entries
                                          > based on that. (Barbarian Prince, Night of the Nazgul, at least one
                                          > of the solo adventures for High Fantasy.)
                                          >
                                          > - Timekeeping systems, where sections are marked with how long they
                                          > took, and different things can happen in some sections depending on
                                          > what time you get there. (Night of the Nazgul. Barbarian Prince may
                                          > have had some of this as well, but I don't remember for sure.)
                                          >
                                          > - Random encounters, where the player periodically rolls on a table
                                          > to see what is encountered. (Barbarian Prince did this, with the
                                          > table varying depending on the terrain you were in. I believe Night
                                          > of the Nazgul had some of this as well.)
                                          >
                                          > - Events, where something only happens in a location once. Once it
                                          > happens, the player marks it off on a sheet, and if they return to the
                                          > same location, they're directed to go to a different section. Note
                                          > that such events can also affect what happens in other locations --
                                          > this can be as simple as, "If you talked to the old hermit in the
                                          > woods, go to X. If you didn't, go to Y." (Common in the simple
                                          > form. Complex form, with marking off coded events on a sheet, found
                                          > in some of the High Fantasy solos.)
                                          >
                                          > With just these additions -- all of which can easily be done in the
                                          > gamebook format -- you're up to something that can easily model, say,
                                          > the Legend of Zelda games. (Or, to take a less-famous example, the
                                          > Kyle's Quest games on the Palm platform.) Granted, the vast majority
                                          > of gamebooks don't have these things, but some do.
                                          >
                                          > Add in a skill system and inventory system -- both of which are very
                                          > common in gamebooks -- and you're up to the complexity of, say, the
                                          > old Wizardry! games and the early Ultima games. Add in tactical maps
                                          > and pre-scripted tactics for opponents (as in the solos for The
                                          > Fantasy Trip), and you're up to the complexity of the old D&D computer
                                          > games (Pool of Radiance, Curse of the Azure Bonds, etc.).
                                          >
                                          > Indeed, at that point, with a complex combat and skill system (like
                                          > The Fantasy Trip had), you're really at the complexity of most of
                                          > World of Warcraft and the like -- only with a 2-D grid instead of
                                          > being 3-D. (There are some exceptions, where those games actually
                                          > make use of the 3-D element, but there aren't really a lot of them.)
                                          > The biggest difference at that point is that gamebooks are single-
                                          > player. (On the other hand, most WoW dungeons are travelled as a
                                          > group -- the only point that having multiple players really matters in
                                          > them is in combat.)
                                          >
                                          > Granted, Legend of Zelda and Pool of Radiance don't *look* like
                                          > gamebooks -- but everything they do can be done in the gamebook format.
                                          >
                                          > --
                                          > Travis Casey
                                          > efindel@...
                                          > Reality is vastly overrated.
                                          >
                                          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                          >
                                          >


                                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                        • Travis Casey
                                          ... Yep -- and I may have a skewed idea of what s common, since my primary interest is game design, so I try to collect gamebooks of different systems, rather
                                          Message 20 of 21 , May 12, 2010
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                                            On May 10, 2010, at 12:23 PM, Jeremy Douglass wrote:

                                            > This is where things get interesting, and also maddening. The thing
                                            > is, many (most?) of the things that can be simulated with a computer
                                            > can also be simulated using paper in at least a rough fashion. There
                                            > isn't a categorical reason that a paper object can't have all kinds
                                            > of surprising features -- immersive 3D, map navigation, location-
                                            > based hitpoints, randomly generated levels -- you can do all these
                                            > things in paper.
                                            >
                                            > Still, it is helpful IMO to draw a distinction between what one
                                            > *can* do with paper in a very few examples and what one can do
                                            > easily or what one usually does in gamebooks. You *can* pipe smells
                                            > into a movie theatre, and some people do in certain theme parks, but
                                            > smell isn't a typical feature of cinema.
                                            >
                                            Yep -- and I may have a skewed idea of what's common, since my primary
                                            interest is game design, so I try to collect gamebooks of different
                                            systems, rather than just collecting whatever gamebooks I come across.

                                            I think, though, that we can usefully distinguish between features
                                            that are universal in gamebooks, features that are common, features
                                            that are rare, and features for which there are no known examples. We
                                            can also look at what a "stereotypical gamebook" is like, and identify
                                            variations from that stereotype.

                                            I'd consider the "stereotypical gamebook" to be something like the
                                            Endless Quest or Choose Your Own Adventure series. Characteristics are:

                                            - Each book is self-contained; nothing else is needed to play.

                                            - The game is played by reading a section of text, then making a
                                            choice from among those presented. Each choice leads to another
                                            section of text, followed by more choices, until an ending point is
                                            reached, which may be one of multiple possible endings.

                                            - The text is complete in itself -- any illustrations, maps, etc.
                                            included are purely for "color", and have no actual affect on gameplay.

                                            - No random factors are employed -- the course of play depends
                                            entirely on the player's choices.

                                            - No "character creation" system is included. The character's
                                            abilities are presumably "built-in" to the results of the choices given.

                                            - The character may acquire items in the course of play, and these
                                            may open up different choices in play further along the line, but
                                            there is not a formal "inventory system" that limits how many items
                                            the character may have at a time.

                                            - The player plays a single character. Other characters may exist,
                                            but the player does not make choices for them. (They may respond to
                                            the player's choices of actions for his/her character, but that's not
                                            quite the same thing.) A character may acquire allies, but they are
                                            treated no differently than items -- the presence or absence of an
                                            ally simply enables or disables choices.

                                            - Each book, even in a "series", is standalone -- there is no in-
                                            game benefit to having played previous games in the series.

                                            Early on, these "stereotypical gamebooks" crossed with RPGs, giving
                                            rise to RPG solo adventures (generally presented in a book format, and
                                            often also called gamebooks), and "adventure gamebooks" that included
                                            RPG elements.

                                            RPG solo adventures vary from the above in that:

                                            - They are not self-contained -- for full play, the rules of the
                                            RPG system being used are also needed. (Some of these books contain a
                                            simplified version of the RPG, so they can be used standalone, but
                                            doing so gives fewer options than are available when playing them with
                                            the full system.)

                                            - A character generation system is used (that of the RPG or its
                                            included, simplified form), yielding characters who have different
                                            abilities.

                                            - Game systems beyond the "read a section, make a choice" are
                                            employed. There is almost always a "combat system", and there is
                                            often a "skill system". These make use of the character abilities, so
                                            that individual characters are more or less likely to succeed at
                                            different sorts of things. In most cases, a random factor provided by
                                            dice is also used. (I'd say always, but there may be RPG solo
                                            adventures for some of the diceless games that I'm just not aware of.)

                                            - There is usually an "inventory system" that limits what a player
                                            may carry with them. In addition to enabling and disabling choices,
                                            items may modify the player's character's abilities, or otherwise
                                            factor into the game systems.

                                            - The player plays a single character, but may sometimes acquire one
                                            or more allies in the course of the adventure. Allies are treated in
                                            a more complex manner, having game statistics of their own.

                                            - The player is encouraged to use the same character in different
                                            adventures. Usually an "experience system" exists, so that a
                                            character becomes more powerful as it is played. Adventures may be
                                            rated for how experienced a character should be in order to have a
                                            reasonable chance of successfully completing the adventure.

                                            "Adventure Gamebooks" are essentially a simple RPG system packaged
                                            with a solo adventure for that RPG. They differ from RPG solo
                                            adventures in that:

                                            - Each gamebook is once again self-contained. The complete
                                            character creation and play rules are included with each book. (There
                                            are rare exceptions, such as the Sorcery! books, where the magic rules
                                            were not included with the original printing of the books. Note,
                                            though, that the magic rules in Sorcery! were simple enough that later
                                            editions of the books *did* include them.)

                                            - In an effort to keep the gamebooks self-contained, some dice
                                            substitute is generally included for those systems that use dice.

                                            - Most adventure gamebook series do not have experience systems.
                                            There are, however, many exceptions, prominent among them being the
                                            Sorcery! series and the Lone Wolf series. Series that do have
                                            experience systems sometimes have altered character creation rules in
                                            later books in the series, so that a player starting the series at
                                            that point starts with a character of appropriate power to handle the
                                            challenges in the book.


                                            These are the three "subgenres" of gamebooks that I've seen. Like all
                                            rules, these have exceptions -- there are, for example, gamebooks in
                                            which illustrations or maps are actually used in play, instead of just
                                            being there to make the book prettier. In general, though, the more
                                            of the rules that are violated, the less "gamebook-like" the game in
                                            question is, for "paper games". The natural areas to drift into are
                                            RPGs and solo-play boardgames.

                                            For computer games, we start to run into a definitional quandry. Is
                                            what's important the branching-path mechanism, the presentation, or
                                            both?

                                            --
                                            Travis Casey
                                            efindel@...
                                            Reality is vastly overrated.





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