Individual Work
Aisle by Sam Barlow

Molly McQuaide: ELD Entry
Work: Aisle
Author: Sam Barlow
Year: 1999
Language: English
Software: Z-machine
Entry Source: See URL
Reviewed by ELO: TBD

Aisle is a short, one-turn interactive fiction game by Sam Barlow. The text game starts with the same scenario each time, a man in the pasta aisle of a grocery store reminiscing on his time in Rome. The man sees a brunette woman in his aisle, and this is where the reader’s choice begins. The game displays as a black screen with neon green writing and a text box for reader responses. The lack of audio and visuals is counteracted with the language which is detailed and descriptive. This allows the reader to visualize the scene as it occurs. After reading the opening scenario, it is up to the reader to input commands. Barlow was determined to create a one-turn game that would entice an audience even with its simplicity. His solution to this goal was to enable the computer to have hundreds of different outcomes to the same scenario based on a simple phrase. Therefore, any command that a reader enters will bring them to a new plot twist. It is up to the reader to piece together the story line with limited clues.

This entry was produced as part of the Fall 2021 ENGL 693: Special Topics in Digital Literature course with Dr. Melinda White at the University of New Hampshire.