Archive for January, 2006

P.J. Hruschak’s Timeline of notable video game villians (2006-01-18) has a whimsical “evolutionary highlight of evil” angle. The first three entries are

1958-76 The Dot (Pong)
1977 The Word ‘GRUE’ (Zork)
1978 2D Monochromatic Aliens (Space Invaders)

Hruschak uses a 1977 development date for Zork (rather than the mass commercial release, 1980) in order to get a nice evolutionary […]

Following up on the recent discussion of IF news, here is a grab-bag of digital text art news items. Our general practice at WRT is to add interesting articles to our bookmark feed as we find them (, but only blog on when we have substantial commentary. We may experiment with writing a monthly […]

Last November, Vauhini Vara’s Wall Street Journal article on contemporary interactive fiction, “Keeping a Genre Alive” (2005-11-15), inspired general comment in fan circles that IF had made the big pages. The article’s angle was that the IF community is a “back to basics” cult, and the piece inspired some shorter nostalgia-oriented spots such as Michael […]

For anyone attempting to follow news on interactive fiction, a few general tips:
For general announcements, Brass Lantern posts regular news items and features on adventures games, more than half of which are IF-specific. Xyzzy News is also a traditional (but seldom-updated) news source.
For reviews and interviews, SPAG (Society for Promotion of Adventure Games) publishes […]

The terms for discussing chatbots are starting to solidify on this site, thanks to the work of Jeremy and Christy. I wanted to take some time to open up the discussion to more people and to try to formalize some of our basic terms, especially as I find myself getting to the point in my writing where I need to define them. The definitions which follow build upon a number of important posts on this site, most notably: Bots, Demons & Dolls. (These definitions represent my current use of these terms and do not reflect official WRT standards).

Conversation Agents: The broad class of agent programs written to simulate conversation through symbolic exchange.

Chatbot: A type of conversation agent that centers on keyword matching often in combination with other strategies; Conversational Reflex Agents (as defined in Russell and Norvig 41); Chat robot. Chat relates to “chat mode” in the Loebner Prize and Internet conversations, known as “chat.”

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