Command Lines

Command Lines
Aesthetics and Technique in Interactive Fiction and New Media

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Command Lines by Jeremy Douglass

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2007

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Command Lines
Aesthetics and Technique in Interactive Fiction and New Media

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A dissertation submitted in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Philosophy in English. A free, fully illustrated original edition is available at jeremydouglass.com.

Book Excerpt

the dissertation to the first page, and begin to read....") before the process begins again.

Figure 3. Above: The opening screen of Blank and Lebling's Zork I (1981). Below: The interface to Cadre's Lock & Key (2002).

Those readers unfamiliar with objects as detailed above must remember that, as in any critical engagement with media art, caveat lector: reading criticism cannot substitute for direct engagement with these works. The description may be helpful, but in the end may only be marginally more helpful then describing a film to someone who has never experienced one as "the rapid superimposition of photographs" or a comic as "the spatial juxtaposition of images." What is elided from such descriptions is the experience of the medium: the way that rapid superimposition simulates motion, or the manner of reading spatial juxtaposition that creates a simulation of time and space. So too in IF, technical and procedural descriptions tend to elide the crucial fact of how the command line prompt

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