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Emily Short

Emily Short is an interactive fiction (IF) writer, perhaps best known for her debut game Galatea[1] and her use of psychologically complex NPCs, or non-player game characters.[2] She has been called "a visionary in the world of text-based games for years",[3] and is the author of over thirty-five works of IF[4] in addition to being chief editor of the IF Theory Book. She wrote a regular column on IF for Rock, Paper, Shotgun.[5]

Emily Short
Emily Short.jpg
Emily Short in 2010.
Known forGalatea
Counterfeit Monkey
Spouse(s)Graham Nelson


Work as an interactive fiction authorEdit

A number of Short's works have won acclaim at the XYZZY Awards, an annual popular-choice award for interactive fiction.[6][7] Her work has been described by reviewers in terms that range from "mesmerizing" to "frustrating". Her 2003 work City of Secrets was originally commissioned by a San Francisco synth-pop band, but after they left the project, she completed it on her own.[8]

While many of Short's early games were written in Inform, she later experimented with a variety of formats. One such format was Versu, an engine for plot-heavy and story-rich interactive fiction that Short helped develop, and which was later scrapped by Linden Labs, the company owning the engine.[9] Other formats include Varytale, for which she developed the game Bee,[10] and a custom engine by Liza Daly (with help from the company inkle) for the game First Draft of the Revolution.[11] Both formats use an interactive fiction engine based on hyperlinks.

Inform 7Edit

Short has played a major role in the development of Graham Nelson's radical new interactive fiction development system, Inform 7.[12] Her more conspicuous contributions include writing most of the 300+ programming examples in the documentation, and creating two full-length demo games for release with the Inform 7 beta.

Selected IF worksEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Ryan, Marie-Laure. (2006). Avatars of story. U of Minnesota Press.
  2. ^ Stuart, Keith (5 Jun 2015). "Lonely planet: the solitude of open-world games when the story is over". The Guardian.
  3. ^ Alderman, Naomi (22 Sep 2014). "The magic of words opens a whole new world of fun". The Guardian.
  4. ^ "Emily Short Member Profile". Interactive Fiction Database.
  5. ^ Short, Emily (15 June 2016). "Text Adventures For People Who Hate Guessing The Verb". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2016-09-06.
  6. ^ a b "XYZZY Awards: Winning Games of 2002". XYZZY news. XYZZY news. 2002. Archived from the original on 19 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-19.
  7. ^ a b "XYZZY Awards: Winning Games of 2006". Archived from the original on May 15, 2007. Retrieved May 12, 2007.
  8. ^ "City of Secrets".
  9. ^ Nutt, Christian (14 Mar 2014). "The end of Versu:Emily Short Looks Back". Gamasutra.
  10. ^ "Bee". Dan Q.
  11. ^ Hamilton, Kirk (24 Sep 2012). "Write (And Re-Write) Letters Of Intrigue In This Fantastic Free Game". Kotaku.
  12. ^ Smith, Graham (9 May 2014). "Informing You: Text Adventure Tool Inform 7 Has Updated". Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
  13. ^ a b Mullin, Eileen (2000). "XYZZY Awards: Winning Games of 2000". XYZZY news. Eileen Mullin. Archived from the original on 19 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-19.
  14. ^ "Emily Short: Galatea". Electronic Literature Collection Volume One. Electronic Literature Organization. Archived from the original on 19 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-19.
  15. ^ Parker, Marnie. "2000 IF Art Show". IF Art Show. Marnie Parker. Archived from the original on 6 June 2007. Retrieved 2009-01-19.
  16. ^ Musante, Mark J. (2000). "6th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition Voting Results". Interactive Fiction Competition. Interactive Fiction Competition. Archived from the original on 19 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-19.
  17. ^ "XYZZY Awards: Winning Games of 2003". XYZZY news. XYZZY news. 2003. Archived from the original on 19 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-19.
  18. ^ McDonald, Thomas L. and Bennett, Dan. The Electronic Games 100. Games. Issue 196 (Vol. 27, No. 10). Pg.58. December 2003.
  19. ^ "12th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition". 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-12.
  20. ^ "XYZZY Awards Historical Results". 2013. Retrieved 2016-01-05.

External linksEdit