Turbulence Commission: "Mystery House Taken Over" by Nick Montfort, Dan Shiovitz, and Emily Short
"Mystery House," the first graphical adventure game, has been reverse engineered by The Mystery House Advance Team; they have reimplemented it
in a modern, cross-platform, free language for interactive fiction development. Visitors to "Mystery House Taken Over" can either play modified versions of the game created by the elite Mystery House Occupying Force, or create their own versions to offer on the site. The Mystery House Occupation Kit allows artists and authors, with or without
programming experience, to hack at and reshape "Mystery House," easily modifying the ‘surface’ aspects. Artists and writers may also choose to undertake more substantial renovations, engaging with, commenting on, and transforming this historic interactive program.
"Mystery House" was developed for the Apple II in 1980; it sold more than 10,000 copies in a very small, new market for home computer software. In 1987 it was placed in the public domain. The modifiable "Mystery House Taken Over" reimplementation has also been placed in the public domain.
"Mystery House Taken Over" is a 2005 commission of New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc. (aka Ether-Ore) for its Turbulence web site. It was made possible with funding from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
NICK MONTFORT is an interactive fiction author and a scholar of interactive fiction, electronic literature, computer games, and other sorts of new media. He wrote "Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction" and co-edited, with Noah Wardrip-Fruin, the book and CD "The New Media Reader." In 2004, Montfort and Scott Rettberg co-authored "Implementation," a novel published on stickers that were placed by participants in various locations around the world. Montfort holds masters degrees in media arts and sciences, creative writing, and computer science, from MIT, Boston University, and the University of Pennsylvania. He blogs at Grand Text Auto.
DAN SHIOVITZ writes code for a Seattle-area Internet company for pay, and writes code for other people for free. He is the author and co-author of a number of interactive fiction games, ranging from hard science fiction (Bad Machine) to space opera (Max Blaster and Doris de Lightning Against the Parrot Creatures of Venus). Shiovitz has also produced IF-related paraphernalia, including Jetty, and Snap!, and several essays on game design ("How to Write a Great Game"). He has also
been reviewing games in the text interactive fiction community for the last seven years. Shiovitz has a masters in computer science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
EMILY SHORT is the author of several award-winning works of interactive fiction including "Best of Three," "Metamorphoses," "Pytho’s Mask," and "Savoir Faire." "Galatea," winner of the 2000 IF Art Show, is assigned reading in several new media courses. Her most recent game, "City of Secrets," was listed among the Games Magazine "Top 100 Electronic Games of 2003." Short has written about interactive fiction, and reviewed dozens of games. She is currently editing IF Theory which explores interactive fiction both as literature and as game. Short is a graduate student in classical studies at The University of Pennsylvania, and is completing her dissertation on the roles of Hermes in Athenian drama.
For more information about Turbulence, please visit
Jo-Anne Green, Co-Director
New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc.: http://new-radio.org
New York: 917.548.7780 . Boston: 617.522.3856
New American Radio: http://somewhere.org
Networked_Performance Blog and Conference: http://turbulence.org/blog