Whom the Telling Changed is a short accessible piece of interactive fiction that incorporates several remarkable innovations. The reader can direct a character to do certain things, as is typical in interactive fiction, but is also able to influence the outcome of an important storytelling session, one which shapes a Sumerian people's course of action. Whom the Telling Changed adds hypertextual aspects to the conventional interactive fiction interface and shapes the story-world in unusual ways based on the reader's input.
To Begin ...
Mac: Download and install Spatterlight if you do not already have a z-machine interpreter. Download and unzip telling.zip and open the resulting file telling.z5 in your interpreter.
Windows: Download and install Gargoyle if you do not already have a z-machine interpreter. Download and unzip telling.zip and open the resulting file telling.z5 in your interpreter.
Author description: In this interactive short story, author Aaron A. Reed explores what storytelling meant to the earliest civilizations and what it will mean in the 21st century. The player takes the role of a villager thousands of years ago whose people have gathered to hear their storyteller tell part of the epic of Gilgamesh. As the player traverses the mostly linear plot, he or she accumulates a history based on decisions both important and trivial that ultimately impact the outcome and significance of the frame story. Hypertext-like keywords allow the player to raise points in the interior story, persuading the crowd and other characters to corresponding points of view, while a more robust interactive fiction parser allows the player to interact extensively with the frame story.
Instructions: Interact by typing emphasized keywords or simple imperatives. For complete instructions, type "info" within the program.
Previous publication: The initial release of Whom the Telling Changed was first published by Reed and made available on the IF Archive, http://www.ifarchive.org, March 2005. The second release was published in December 2005 and shown at the 2006 Slamdance Guerrilla Gamemaker Competition.
Reed's work (the file telling.z5) is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License. The Mac OS X Spatterlight interpreter is available under the GNU Public License. According to the readme file the Windows Gargoyle interpreter "is free software, and uses many components by various authors. The components are covered by their respective copyrights and licenses."