Classic interactive fiction and standards meetings

Before PCs had the flashy graphics that they have today, computer games were much different. Back in the '70s and '80s, the most popular type of computer game was interactive fiction, like the classic games Adventure and Zork. If you've a fan of these games, then the following ought to look familliar:

YOU ARE STANDING AT THE END OF A ROAD BEFORE A SMALL BRICK
BUILDING . AROUND YOU IS A FOREST. A SMALL
STREAM FLOWS OUT OF THE BUILDING AND DOWN A GULLY.

Before the days of the Internet, college students had to find other ways to waste time instead of studying, and interactive fiction was one of the most popular ways to do this, at least with students studying science or engineering.

One of the more memorable interactive fiction games was Bureaucracy. In this game you tried to get to Paris for the weekend, but ended up being thwarted by bureaucratic obstacles at every step in your journey. The part that I remember most clearly about Bureaucracy is it's innovative scoring system. As each bureaucratic obstacle thwarted you, the score that represented your blood pressure increased. If it got too high, you'd die and lose the game.

Bureaucracy was the only Infocom game that I bought but never actually finished.

The title of this post is "Classic interactive fiction and standards meetings," but I think that the reason for that should be fairly clear at this point, so I won't bother explaining it in more detail.

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