October 29th, 2010
Introducing the Automatypewriter, a new way to experience interactive fiction! It’s still a little rough around the edges (in particular, you can see that the spacebar sticks a little, and the whole thing needs to be tidied up), but you get the idea: the Automatypewriter is a typewriter that can type on its own, as well as detect what you type on it. By reading what it types to you and responding, it can be used interactively to play a game or participate in a story (in this case, Zork).
Though the medium may be the message, a games platform is only as good as its content. To that end I’m collaborating with novelist, graphic novelist, filmmaker, community organizer, and award-winning interactive fiction developer Jim Munroe, who is creating custom software specifically tailored to the Automatypewriter.
Interactive fiction is a great genre that is too often overlooked. By providing a tactile and surprising way to experience these games, I hope to engage a wider audience. More generally, moving the platform to a typewriter highlights the role the user assumes as an “author” in helping to create the story, and not just as a “player.”
Also, the usual hacker reason: because we think it’s cool!