Interactive Fiction (Text Adventures)
Before the onslaught of Windows, DOS games ruled the world. Text Adventures, most widely recognized in Infocom's Zork Series were never the most popular games, but they had their following among players, and hobbyist authors and programmers. Judith Pintar wrote two games during the 1990s in AGT, an early game-writing system by Mark Welch and David Malmberg. They sponsored a contest for games written in AGT, which her games, CosmoServe and Shades of Gray won, in 1991 and 1992.
She is often mentioned in histories of Interactive Fiction because she was one of the only women game-writers to gain recognition during that era, but also because of the contributions of the games themselves. CosmoServe was a parody of Compuserve, a slice of life view of the pre-internet BBS-based online gaming world of the 1980s and 90s. Shades of Gray, often cited as the best AGT game of all time, was actually designed inside a real-life private CompuServe gaming forum. Pintar developed and organized the project online.
CosmoServe: An Adventure Game for the BBS-Enslaved
begins like this...
"It seemed like such a good idea at the time. As a self-employed computer consultant, working at home was the logical decision: no more long commutes, no expensive office to lease, no boss. Unfortunately you also have no secretary, no janitor and no weekends. Your living room has become a glorified break room and your only human contact is by Electronic Mail. Thank God for your computer... "
From there the player enters a simulated computer environment, navigating DOS and then dialing into CosmoServe, and playing the rest of the game "online." CosmoServe was included in David Gerrold's book and CD, Fatal Distractions, but it can be found in interactive fiction archive sites.
Shades of Gray: An Adventure in Black and White (1992)