Howard Sherman is "retiring" from Interactive Fiction Titles

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Summary: Howard Sherman, the developer of Malinche's Interactive Fiction titles, has decided to focus on traditional fiction instead. Some thoughts.

BLOT: (22 Jul 2014 - 08:17:30 AM)

Howard Sherman is "retiring" from Interactive Fiction Titles

About four weeks ago I mentioned Malinche and Howard Sherman to a friend and then found the site wouldn't open when I tried. I follow Howard Sherman on Twitter, and had seen no mention of him taking the site down, so I assumed it was some sort of temporary "out of bandwidth" type issue that he was working on it. On June 30th, he wrote a blog post explaining it:

I'm pretty much done with implementing interactive fiction books.
I'm switching to writing conventional fiction books instead [starting with converting The Barista from IF into more traditional prose]....
A wake up call came to me on June 23. What was so special about June 23, 2014? It was the day I first discovered the Malinche website had been dead since June 4th. The Malinche.Net domain name expired and I didn't even notice. For nineteen days. Nearly three weeks.
Holy shit.

Part of me wishes I had said something to him when I noticed the site down, because I know if my site went down for three weeks and no one said anything and I found out later that I would feel kind of weird and sad about it. But, well, I hope this works out for him.

Now, if you don't know Sherman, he is an interesting figure in the Interactive Fiction world. Some would say contentious. As a man who produces game for profit, and generally uses some old-school feeling techniques to do it, there have been some shots fired over stylings and price points and validity and the ability to keep the genre alive. I never really had a horse in the race. I'm just a hobbyist who likes retro games. I've only played a couple of his longer games to completion. Of them, I did not quite care for the old school fantasy flavor of Pentari: First Light but I enjoyed First Mile. I played it through several times and I wrote possibly the best First Mile walkthrough around (even though it is technically incomplete). It is right up there with Anchorhead and Lurking Horror as horror IFs that I sometimes fire up and just randomly do stuff in it for fun.

I wish him luck with the fiction career. When/if he gets back around to horror, I'll give it a shot. I'm a bit sad that the chance for longer interactive fiction titles coming out on a semi-regular basis is now even smaller, but c'est la vie. I'll still buy them (and/or download them for free) as they do.

Interactive Fiction


Written by Doug Bolden

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