Version 3.0 -- April 14, 2008
Maintained by Jimmy Maher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
What is SPAG?
is an informative e-zine
devoted to textual interactive fiction and other types of interactive
narrative. It includes reviews, interviews, and feature articles.
is published on a roughly quarterly basis.
was founded by G. Kevin Wilson, and is currently edited by Jimmy Maher.
What about graphic adventures?
SPAG has traditionally focused on games whose primary medium is
text. There is, however, a wider universe of interactive
storytelling, and SPAG
to (to thoroughly mix my metaphors) dive into these waters as well from
time to time. If you are interested in writing a review of a
graphical game or a feature article on some aspect of interactive
narrative that is not traditional IF, feel free to contact the editor
to see if your proposal will be a good fit for SPAG
. The main thing to remember is that SPAG
is not about kill counts, frames per second, or any of the other
traditional videogame metrics. We are rather all about this brave
new medium of storytelling on the computer.
What does SPAG stand for?
As you may have guessed, SPAG
is an acronym. It means "The Society for the Promotion of Adventure
Games". Originally, the 'P' was for "Preservation". However, in early
1997 a growing consensus that interactive fiction wasn't in immediate
danger of extinction any more led to a name change.
Cool. How do I join?
Well, actually you don't. There is no formal Society, just a loose association of the contributors and readers of the SPAG
ezine. In a sense, you join SPAG
by reading it and/or writing for it.
What is SPAG's format?
Each issue will begin with an editorial and a news section reporting
new games and recent developments in the IF community. After that
will come feature articles, interviews, and reviews, in whatever order
seems most suitable.
Didn't there used to be a scoreboard or something?
For its first eight years, SPAG
featured a scoreboard, a chart listing the scores that SPAG
readers gave to various IF games. The scoreboard was discontinued as of issue #29 (June 20th, 2002).
How do I submit an article or review to SPAG?
welcomes articles on
virtually all aspects of textual interactive fiction history, theory,
craft, and culture. It is very likely that SPAG
will also be interested in articles and reviews covering other areas of
interactive narrative outside the boundaries of traditional textual IF,
subject to the guidelines given earlier in this FAQ. To save
yourself some frustration, however, it is best to contact SPAG
editor to enquire whether your proposed article would be a good fit for
the magazine before going through the trouble of actually writing it.
also welcomes reviews of
textual interactive fiction games, interesting examples of other forms
of interactive narrative, and even books that relate to interactive
storytelling. The easiest way to submit a review is to use the
form available from the SPAG
home page. Fill it out as completely as you can, but do not
stress over fields you are unsure about. After submitting this
form, you should receive a CCed copy of your submission in your email
immediately. You should then expect a personal acknowledgement
from the editor within a few days at the most. If you do not
receive either or both of these confirmations, something may have gone
wrong. By all means, email the editor to inquire.
Articles, reviews, letters and ratings may be sent by conventional email to Jimmy Maher
. Just about any common modern document format is fine.
What is expected from a SPAG review?
review should be an
intelligent discussion of a piece of interactive fiction, and it should
be written in reasonably polished prose. Within those guidelines, all
publishable reviews will be accepted as long as they deal with a game
that can reasonably be considered textual interactive fiction or
that is a noteworthy effort in some other form of interactive
narrative. If in doubt whether your subject is appropriate for SPAG
by all means enquire before writing the review. Reviews of games
that have already been reviewed three or more times in SPAG will only
be accepted if they make a significant original contribution to the
discussion of those games. Authors may not review their own games.
employs a "no-spoiler" policy for reviews, with the exception of reviews intended for SPAG
Specifics (see below). This policy has been stretched a bit in the past, but now that SPAG
Specifics exists, the no-spoiler policy will be enforced rather more strictly.
How does a SPAG Specifics review differ from a normal SPAG review?
Specifics is a small section that appears in some issues of SPAG. A SPAG
Specifics review is more of an in-depth critical reading and analysis
of a work of interactive fiction than a conventional review. As
such, there are no restrictions on spoilers, in recognition that
avoidance of spoilers can sometimes hinder the detailed examination of
a piece of interactive fiction.
What will I get for contributing to SPAG?
SPAG does not pay anything monetarily for contributions. You
will, however, receive the satisfaction of giving something back to the
IF community. For those who perhaps lack the time or ambition to
give games or tools to the community but nevertheless enjoy playing IF,
provides a wonderful way
to contribute in the form of reviews or articles. Artists crave
feedback on their work, making reviewers almost as important to the
community's health as the authors themselves.
Can I submit work to SPAG that I have already published elsewhere?
may on rare occasions republish a review or article from another source, but original work is vastly preferred.
Can I republish a review or article I wrote for SPAG?
Authors are returned the rights to their work following its first appearance in SPAG
. This means you are free to publish your work elsewhere after
its premiere in SPAG
. Note, however, that in submitting your work to SPAG
you also grant it the right to host the work on its website in perpetuity.
Must I have completed a game to review it for SPAG?
In general, yes. You would probably not be impressed by a
published movie review from someone who had wandered into the theatre
halfway through, or by a book review from someone who had lost interest
and quit reading before reaching the end. An interactive fiction
review is really no different. To give a game a fair shake, the
reviewer must have seen it through to the end.
The only exceptions apply to more experimental pieces which perhaps
have no traditional ending, or to games which are so bug-ridden as to
be uncompletable. (Whether the latter is even worth your effort
as a reviewer when there are so many serious efforts worthy of your
attention is of course very much an open question.)
How is SPAG distributed?
Each issue of SPAG
is published on the SPAG
website at http://www.sparkynet.com/spag.
A mailing list is maintained for the purpose of notifying SPAG
readers that a new issue is available, for requesting article and
review submissions, and for any other necessary communications.
To subscribe, send email to email@example.com
with the following line in the message subject and body:
To be removed from the list, send an email message to the same address with the following line in the message subject and body:
Where can I get back issues of SPAG?
Back issues are available from the web page, at http://www.sparkynet.com/spag.
v 2.0 970917 - FAQ taken over by Magnus Olsson. Major revision.
v 2.1 970918 - Added ADVSYS and ALAN to platform codes.
v 2.2 990820 - FAQ taken over by Paul O'Brian. Minor revision.
v 2.3 991203 - Revision to scoring info and web page address
v 2.4 000925 - Updated submission policy
v 2.5 010925 - Changed GMD references to IF Archive
v 2.6 020617 - Updated FAQ to reflect discontinuation of scoreboard
v 2.7 050720 - FAQ taken over by Jimmy Maher Revisions to follow.
v 2.8 050810 - Made a few changes to SPAG's editorial focus, publication schedule, and submission policy.
v 2.9 060716 - Removed information on the old Scoreboard, which has
been officially retired from the website. Added information on
using the new web-based form to submit reviews, and made a few other
v 3.0 080418 - Major revisions reflecting new delivery model and editorial policies.
v 3.1 090616 - Tiny update, to point to my new email address.