Questing on a Friday Afternoon
Questing on a Friday Afternoon

Questing on a Friday Afternoon

After experiencing a few difficulties getting access to IT on a Friday afternoon I decided take the 18 students I teach to the library, after all Quest, at least playing Quest, is reading. We installed the client version of Quest onto the machines and put copies of the two most popular games onto the shared network error few quick access. The one slight stumbling block was that there are only 12 PCs available.

Most of the students were able to play independently, one small group of three moved to the ‘comfy chairs areas’ and worked on my laptop, and six students worked in pairs. This was not ideal and led to a little bit of a cramped workspace for these groups. All the students playing individually seemed to be enjoying the challenge of the game, the only issues I experienced were with the students that were sharing a PC as unless they were actually in ‘control,’ typing in the commands, they were easily distracted by the other students that were not actually directing control the game.


Feedback on the students are very positive, with the exception of one student who vowed to get back to next Friday’s class and get access to his own game.

The first 10-15s min was spent learning how to play the game and use the controls. Students were typically engaged, enjoying the reading and the gameplay and typically working independently. What was most interesting, was that halfway through the session the strategy the students adopted to the game changed significantly. Instead of playing independently, sat in close proximity to one another, the students started to discuss and share their successes and their frustrations.   It very quickly became ‘us’ versus the game. The students weren’t attempting to complete the game in a linear fashion, or working on the same tasks, but ra darting off in different directions taking on the challenge in a piecemeal fashion.

  • How to find the bullets…
  • How to fire the gun…
  • Where to find the door card key…
  • Discussing how to turn the generator on…

With some of the most unlikely students leading the way, the game revealing some hidden intelligence.

I plan to give the boys one more Friday afternoon playing ‘As Darkness Falls,’ although I have heard one or two of the boys have continued playing outside of class. Having been to run with their ‘accelerated progress’ and applaud their ingenuity rather than question whether or not they’ve played outside of the lesson.

There is definitely a benefit to students playing interactive fiction before we even consider introducing them to writing interactive fiction with Quest.

My final observation, after playing just a short while, the students typed in ‘score.’ Unlike Zork, ‘As Darkness Falls,’ did not have a scoring system. Certainly scoring system provides a useful feedback loop to the students, and the students enjoyed the bragging rights associated with the leaderboard.


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