If you have yet to play Photopia, you should really try it out immediately. We have played a lot of text adventure games in class, however, this one has stood out the most to me. The concept is remarkably radical- it is the first game we have played in class that I feel includes MORE narrative than game playing. Sure, the other IF games we have tried out have elements of a narrative; they include a setting, a plot, characters, a resoluation, etc. Photopia, however, is much more detailed in its story.
Although the game playing is limited in Photopia, I perfer it this way. I have found many of the other games that we have tried out in class to be extremely difficult in relation of “winning.” With other text adventure games, I have had to attempt to play them 8, 9 or even 10 times before I could grasp how NOT to lose. Photopia was a nice break from this because I felt at ease reading through the short story. I did not have to do a lot of guessing as to what I was supposed to do next; most of the directions were laid out right in front of me as I was reading, which I really enjoyed.
As I was playing Photopia, I began to realize how radical this piece of work probably was. It was the best example I have seen as to what I personally think of when I hear “Interactive Fiction.” It is a piece of literature, a short story, that I personally can interact with. Whereas other pieces of Interactive Fiction also attempt to do this, I have felt like many of them lack a “good” story. They focus more on the game playing rather than the actual story- which is fine- but as an English major, I am more intrigued by the narration than the game itself. Photopia is the perfect game for a beginner who is interested in seeing how narration and game playing can be combined to create something radical.