Reply To: Thanks for helping me have a fun childhood AND learning how to type!

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Game Interfaces!

With rose colored glassesfirmly affixed, I have a thought for everyone that extends even further from the“learning to type” discussion…

I’ve always had a nigglingfeeling that somewhere along the line, the potential of this art form – adventuregames, and indeed computer games in general – was lost.  The glinting of graphics and action somehowdistracted the world, and made them forget the other elements that give so much. The writing.  The conceptualization of the world.  The possibilities hidden beneath the surfaceof the world, to be examined and revealed by the player. 

Now I’m not saying thatSierra actually achieved all that was to be achieved here.  Indeed they didn’t.  But I feel as though, with their initialtyping interfaces, they touched on a truly conceptual way to interact with theworld.  One that has been lost, and hasnot really be re-explored since.

I feel as though no-one hasreally taken up the baton in striving to explore the nature of interaction.  Sure, typing is a bit slow.  Sure, it’s a hassle to create content andinteractions based on written input!  Butit’s actually the best way to allow players to interact deeply with aworld.  It provides gamers with thewidest breadth of verbs – even going beyond physical actions.  Players can not only hit, look, get, give,hide and jump, but they can also persuade, lift, turn, press, scrape, joke,nudge, brush, sift, or seduce! 

Personally, I loved thetyping interface which was the gateway to a world full of possibilities.  A range of possibilities that the point-and-clickinterface compressed into the 5 verb icons, and a cursor you’d wave over thescreen.  To me, that turned the game intosomething closer to a “watched” experience, and further from the experience ofexploring the world with your mind.  Iloved those early typed interfaces, where you really considered the world throughan empty window, without icons or cursors. Your controls were words and concepts.

And intrinsically linked tothis, I think Roberta had a real knack for populating those worlds with wordsand concepts. 

Maybe it’s just my rosecolored glasses, but I’d love to see a game that is accessed through words andconcepts again…