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Lists and Lists

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:Andrew Plotkin



Copyright 1996, Andrew Plotkin

One of the most unique “interactive fiction” titles you’ll ever play, Andrew “Zarf” Plotkin’s Lists and Lists is a great example of what modern text adventure interpreters can do. Instead of coding another IF masterpiece that he’s famous for, Zarf instead delivered Lists and Lists– an excellent tutorial to the real-life Scheme programming language (a dialect of Lisp). Sure, there is a plot of sorts, but it’s a thinly veiled excuse to deliver programming lessons. Basically, your alter ego in the game is there to learn Scheme, and the lessons are doled out by a good-natured genie who gives you lesson goals and advice. The in-game book describes basic Scheme syntax and general programming tips in excellent, user-friendly manner, and before long, you will find yourself able to program some basic algorithms in Scheme. Lessons progress in a logical manner, and you can go at your leisure. Not all of Scheme’s syntax is represented, but it’s still a great “game” that is very educational. If you’re a non-programmer who’s interested in how programming works, Lists and Lists is the perfect introduction. I was tempted to put this in the “Education” section, except that I know how few people venture there ;) Two thumbs up!

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