Nick Montfort

Nick Montfort has written and programmed several pieces of interactive fiction: Book and Volume (2005), Ad Verbum (2000), and Winchester's Nightmare (1999). He is the author of Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction (MIT Press, 2003) and, with Noah Wardrip-Fruin, co-editor of The New Media Reader (MIT Press, 2003). Montfort's literary collaborations include Mystery House Taken Over (with Dan Shiovitz, Emily Short, and others, 2005), Implementation (with Scott Rettberg, 2004), and 2002: A Palindrome Story (with William Gillespie, 2002), which was acknowledged by the Oulipo as the world's longest literary palindrome. Montfort is a vice president of the Electronic Literature Organization. He lives in Philadelphia, where he is studying for a PhD in computer and information science at the University of Pennsylvania.

Essays by this author

Shuffle Literature and the Hand of Fate


Zuzana Husárová and Nick Montfort up the ante for experimental writing by examining the category of “shuffle literature.” What is shuffle literature? Simply put: books that are meant to be shuffled. Using formal reading of narrative and themes, but also a material reading of construction and production, Husárová and Montfort show that there are many writing practices and readerly strategies associated with this diverse category of literature.

Cybertext Killed the Hypertext Star


Nick Montfort reviews Espen J. Aarseth’s Cybertext, which stakes out a post-hypertextual terrain for literary criticism and practice. Interactive excerpts from some of the cybertexts that Aarseth discusses are included.

Nick Montfort responds


Computers abstract from true/false to host letters, pixels, and Nick Montfort’s riposte.

Janet Murray's response


Janet Murray unriddles the verbal and procedural mix of Interactive Fiction.

Interactive Fiction


Which alias best fits interactive fiction?
The nominees are:
“Story,” “Game,” “Storygame,” “Novel,” “World,”
“Literature,” “Puzzle,” “Problem,” “Riddle,” and “Machine.”
Read, and decide.

Nick Montfort responds in turn


Nick Montfort reiterates the value of multiple perspectives on, and in, New Media.

Fretting the Player Character


Nick Montfort argues that the contentious notion of the “player character” usefully constrains and makes possible the player’s interaction with the gameworld. He considers the possibility that in interactive fiction one plays the character (like an actor plays a role) rather than playing the game.