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