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50 Years of Text Games (2023) told the story of the first half century of interactive fiction in a whirlwind tour of fifty text-based computer games, one for each year between 1971 and 2020. Now available as a standalone volume is this companion book, stuffed with extra chapters and bonus materials that couldn't fit in the main volume.

Inside you'll find twelve new chapters and 85 pages covering fan favorites, weird microgenres, and fascinating experiments from the realm of computer games made from words, not graphics. Contents include:

  • Chapters of fan-favorite games from both classic and modern eras of text gaming, including Infocom's sci-fi milestone Planetfall (remember Floyd?), 90s horror masterpiece Anchorhead, and 2010s mobile gaming hit A Dark Room
  • Genre Explorations chapters that survey genres missed out on in the main book, including the weird microgenre of "hacking simulators," and a brief history of visual novels (originally inspired by American adventure games but quickly evolving into their own unique form).
  • A look at some fascinating early experiments in text games, like the strange hybrid 1980s genre of the type-in book (which integrated a printed story with a companion game's source code), and the perils of adaptations (covering such diverse titles as the much-maligned 80s adaptation of Stephen King's The Mist, and the surreal dreamlike Dunsany adaptation The Ebb and Flow of the Tide where you play a character incapable of taking any actions...


  • Deep dives into obscure but fascinating text adventures like Amnesia (the famously obtuse, recently restored game by noted sci-fi author Thomas M. Disch) and The Gostak, where the player must learn to read and speak a strange new language.
  • An extensive timeline of text game history, starting in 1760 with the publication of Tristram Shandy and running up through 2020, with nearly five hundred entries in total. This is, to my knowledge, the most extensive timeline of historical milestones in the medium ever compiled, tracing the rise and fall of tools, technologies, events, books, and milestones relevant to interactive fiction's first half century.

Chapters are illustrated with original maps and flowcharts helping you understand the games discussed, along with lists of related games to check out in each Genre Explorations chapter. Corrected and extended since its original release as a perk during the crowdfunding campaign, the standalone Further Explorations is a great treasure chest of text games history.


The original 50 Years of Text Games is also still available! Visit the book's official website to find out where you can get the original or Further Explorations in a physical print edition.

Notes on the EPUB edition

The digital edition of the book comes in both PDF and EPUB (both versions unlocked with your purchase). The reflowable EPUB is the best format for e-readers and screen readers. The conversion was created with an eye to both readability, and also following accessibility guidelines for blind or low-vision folks using screen readers.

The EPUB version has been tested and works great in the following environments:

  • Kindle devices (circa 2021 or newer; older Kindles probably are good also)
  • Kindle App (Windows) 
  • Kindle App (Android phones) 
  • Apple Books 
  • Google Play Books (Android phones/tablets)
  • Adobe Digital Editions 
  • Flow (web-based e-reader) 
  • NaturalReader (web-based screen reader)
  • Dream Reader (Mac screen reader)
  • QRead (Windows screen reader)

Note to Kindle device owners: your device now natively supports EPUB files, so please use Send to Kindle rather than manually converting the file with a third-party program, which might strip out formatting and cause other display issues.

The EPUB works but has a few issues in the following environments:

  • Calibre: displays properly, but in some versions you may need to go to Settings > Page Layout > Flow Mode to prevent advancing by chapter instead of page.
  • Kindle VoiceView (screen reader): reads main text but does not read invisible screen-reader structure hints.

The EPUB is not recommended in the following environments:

  • Kindle App for Mac or iOS: These versions of the Kindle app may not have been updated for full EPUB3 compatibility, and can ignore most style and positioning suggestions as well as rendering accessibility text meant to be invisible. I recommend you use a different app on these devices (such as Apple Books) or try the PDF version if screen size allows.
StatusReleased
CategoryBook
Rating
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(2 total ratings)
AuthorAaron A. Reed
GenreInteractive Fiction
Tagsgame-history, game-studies, retro-game, text-adventure, Text based

Purchase

Buy Now$9.95 USD or more

In order to download this book you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $9.95 USD. You will get access to the following files:

FurtherExplorations.pdf 14 MB
Further-Explorations.epub 4 MB

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FurtherExplorations-Excerpt.pdf 290 kB