Discover more from 50 Years of Text Games
Mystery Item #3 Revealed!
Here we are in week two already, and the crowdfunding campaign for the “50 Years” book is continuing its tremendous momentum, surpassing $160K raised and 1600 backers. I couldn’t be more pleased by how many fans are showing up out of the woodwork to support this project. Thank you!
If you haven’t backed the project yet, there’s still time to get in and pre-order a copy.
A few quick updates, then it’s time for a big reveal:
A reminder to backers that shipping is not part of your pledge, and will be charged separately once I know exact prices. Current estimates are on the crowdfunding page (scroll down to near the bottom). I’m in the process of trying to get cheaper rates for shipping outside the US, but can’t promise anything just yet: I’ll post an update if this comes through.
Stay tuned this Thursday for a brand new “50 Years of Text Games” article on a fascinating, under-appreciated game from the 1980s…
This July I’m honored to be keynoting NarraScope, a fantastic conference for interactive narrative fans and creators. It’s a virtual event again this year and you can get tickets now!
I was on the Ludology podcast talking about some of the more interesting games covered in the book.
I did a guest post for Gold Machine, a blog covering the classic Infocom games in depth, where I debuted some new material from the book on the classic Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy text adventure.
Now: how about that reveal??
When I was planning out the Ultimate Collector's Edition, which comes with a box of bonus “feelies” (echoing the cool props and handouts that came with classic text adventure games), I realized there was going to be too much cool stuff to squeeze an adequate description of each item onto the campaign's main page. So I decided to create a little suspense by parcelling out reveals of the box's contents during the campaign.
So here we are at the first reveal! Feelie #3 will be:
a 3.5" floppy disk with a vintage label, containing the text of the book in ASCII (and a few bonus surprises)
Your disk will have a stylin’ label (designed with stone-cold vintage classic The Print Shop!) and on the disk you’ll find:
the full text of each of the fifty main game chapters in plain text ASCII
an original short text adventure by me, Aaron A. Reed (author of Blue Lacuna)
one or two bonus surprises, if there are any extra bytes left over!
The game will be a short but sweet original parser adventure, inspired by all eras of text games history. It’s being designed with the tool PunyInform, created to combine modern interactive fiction authoring with the tiny footprint required for older computers (or delivery media!)
I’m aware most people no longer have access to a floppy drive! Ultimate Collector’s Edition backers will also be able to access a digital download of the contents. (For the true vintage experience, though, you can get a USB floppy reader that will plug into a modern computer for about $20…)
Floppy drives were ubiquitous through the 80s, slowly giving way to CD-ROMs and downloads in the 90s. The constraints of dividing your digital life up into 1.44 megabyte chunks, the sounds of the drive as it spun up to access your files, and the unique frustrations of discovering which f$#@ing disk you'd saved that precious document on (never labelled, of course) helped define the earliest era of home computers. If you lived through it, you know; if you missed it, amaze your friends (and turn your elders to dust) by proudly showing off this ancient antique.
These floppies will only be produced for crowdfunding campaign backers (and post-campaign pre-orders before I get final counts for production), making them a unique memento and addition to your collection.
If you’re not an Ultimate Collector and want to upgrade your pledge, you can do so on the project page by clicking the “Manage Your Pledge” button. (Full instructions here.) As a reminder, here’s what you get with the Ultimate Collector’s Edition tier:
The slipcase Collector's Edition book with the bonus “Further Explorations” book
A reusable display box printed with text art
Feelie #1: An 11" x 17" poster featuring your choice of three original maps of games from the series
Feelie #2: A piece of genuine computer punch tape, used to store programs in the 1970s
Feelie #3: The collectible floppy disk
Two more mystery feelies, to be announced soon!
Thanks as always for your support, at any pledge level or none: your belief in this project keeps me going.
Please keep spreading the word about the campaign to your networks: there’s some tips for how to do that here.
Other Projects Worth Your Time
I've been a fan for a while now of Geoffrey Golden's Adventure Snack newsletter, which sends tiny interactive stories to your inbox every two weeks. If you often find yourself too busy to fire up a full-length adventure (guilty as charged) it's a great and gentle way to add a little dose of interactive fiction to your email routine.