In Peasant’s Quest, you play a lowly peasant who seeks revenge after Trogdor the Burninator destroys your straw hut. You move your character with the arrow keys and interact with the world through standard text commands like “talk to Mendelev” and “take the meatball sub.”
It’s similar to the literary “video games” that we’ve played, such as Reagan Library, Anchorhead, and Galatea in that you must use directives to explore the world and find a predetermined path to finish the game. However, the creators of Peasant’s Quest intended it to be a silly video game, not a piece of literature to analyze.
Does Peasant’s Quest fit into the genre of interactive fiction? I would say that it does. Despite the creators’ lowbrow intentions, Peasant’s Quest acts as both a computer game and interactive fiction. In Electronic Literature, Katherine Hayles explains that IF has the strongest game elements out of all electronic genres, but it differs from computer games in its emphasis. She writes, “We may say that with games the user interprets in order to configure, whereas in works whose primary interest is narrative, the user configures in order to interpret” (8). I argue that Peasant’s Quest fits into both definitions, albeit for a young audience. Just like print works such as The Chronicles of Narnia count as children’s literature, certain video games fit into the genre of children’s interactive fiction.
So, what do you think: is Peasant’s Quest a children’s computer game, interactive fiction, or both?