“Galatea” by Emily Short

galatea
Open “Galatea” by Emily Short

Galatea” is a piece of interactive fiction with a single non-playing character (NPC) in a single room. The narrative is loosely inspired by the Pygmalion story, for this reason Galatea, dressed in green, stands on a pedestal as part of an exhibit.

“Galatea” is a conversational program, descended from early pieces like ELIZA, that imitates the language of a Rogerian psychotherapist. Notably, the whole concept of “Galatea” makes reference to ELIZA, which was named after the character of Eliza Doolittle in the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. Instead of imitating the language of therapists as ELIZA does, “Galatea” tells a narrative. However, “Galatea” is a multilinear narrative: it does not just tell one story, but many alternative stories that can develop into infinite permutations. “Galatea” was created using the Z-machine, a 1979 virtual machine originally used for the development of adventure games.

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