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 Post subject: Brecht and IF
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:26 pm 
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I've gotten into some discussions recently about the playwright Bertolt Brecht. He had some very unorthodox ideas about theatre:

Wikipedia wrote:
Brecht employed the use of techniques that remind the spectator that the play is a representation of reality and not reality itself. By highlighting the constructed nature of the theatrical event, Brecht hoped to communicate that the audience's reality was equally constructed and, as such, was changeable.


He broke a lot of the usual conventions of the medium, for example, reading stage directions out loud, addressing the audience in between scenes, having actors hold up signs to indicate which character they were portraying, and changing the setting suddenly and unexpectedly.

I don't expect there to be any IF out there that follows Brecht's ideas exactly, but a lot of the techniques he used have become popular outside his idea of "Epic Theatre". Are there any works of IF that use these sorts of techniques? Deadline Enchanter has been suggested, and the opening scenes certainly seems to fit (though I haven't finished it yet).

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 Post subject: Re: Brecht and IF
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 5:29 pm 
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Only weak relevance, but I felt that the "day in the life of an NPC" presented in Zork: A Troll's Eye View was a little Brechtian.


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 Post subject: Re: Brecht and IF
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 5:31 pm 
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Would the "taking place on a movie set" conceit of "Conan Kill Everything" qualify?


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 Post subject: Re: Brecht and IF
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:21 pm 
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Location: US - Central
Hi, I'm Hanon, and I'm a theater nerd. (HI HANON) I could totally get behind a theory that standard IF prose as initially normalized by Infocom could be thought of as Brechtian.

Quote:
West of House
You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.
There is a small mailbox here.

is very direct and presentational when compared to how a non-interactive story would describe it.

Maybe it's just the 2nd person viewpoint, but:
Quote:
The sun has gone. It must be brought. You have a rock.

from For a Change sounds very much like something I could picture actors saying to the audience in an experimental theater production.

I know you asked about the reverse, but the opening of OUR TOWN is "quasi-Brechtian" and almost sounds like the intro to an IF, even with frikking banner text.

Quote:
STAGE MANAGER:
This play is called "Our Town" It was written by Thornton Wilder; produced and directed by A. . . . (or: produced by A. . . . ; directed by B. ...). In it you will see Miss C....; Miss D....; Miss E....; and Mr. F. ...; Mr. G....; Mr. H ....; and many others.
The name of the town is Grover's Corners, New Hampshire-just across the Massachusetts line: latitude 42 degrees 40 minutes; longitude 70 degrees 37 minutes. The First Act shows a day in our town. The day is May 7, 1901. The time is just before dawn.
(A rooster crows.)
The sky is beginning to show some streaks of light over in the East there, behind our mount'in.
The morning star always gets wonderful bright the minute before it has to go,-doesn't it?
(He stares at it for a moment then goes upstage.)
Well, I'd better show you how our town lies. Up here-
(That is: parallel with the back wall.)
is Main Street. Way back there is the railway station; tracks go that way. Polish Town's across the tracks, and some Canuck families.
(Toward the left.)
Over there is the Congregational Church; across the street's the Presbyterian. ....

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 Post subject: Re: Brecht and IF
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:55 pm 
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I don't know much about Brecht, but your description sounds something like Adventure, with its occasional reminders that the adventure experience is artificially constructed (the chatty narrator, the "cave hours" concept), culminating in the ending where you suddenly find yourself in a "backstage" area stocked with extra copies of the magical items you've been using and you realize that the whole adventure is some kind of tourist attraction. So this element may have been part of IF pretty much from its inception.


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 Post subject: Re: Brecht and IF
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 3:42 pm 
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Check out Craverly Heights.


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 Post subject: Re: Brecht and IF
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 3:54 pm 
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Inward Narrow Crooked Lanes, which at one point displays a bunch of code referring to variables that aren't in the game, seems on point. Though perhaps less outwardly coherent than Brecht usually is.

Thirty Flights of Loving, which is a graphical adventure, feels a little Brechtian at some points (especially the art exhibit at the end), though in my experience Brecht doesn't fragment things and make you try to figure them out the way that game does.


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 Post subject: Re: Brecht and IF
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:30 am 
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Not interactive fiction, but you might want to check out this pen&paper RPG by Greg Costikyan. It is explicitly influenced by Brecht.


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