Planet Interactive Fiction

October 26, 2014

Renga in Blue

IFComp 2014: Following Me

by Jason Dyer at October 26, 2014 06:00 AM

Tia Orisney’s Following Me is of a style I thought I might be seeing more of: the classic Choose Your Own Adventure book. (Caveat: As fas I know none of the originals involved fleeing from serial killers.) I should probably explain: our mom took her intuition to a higher level by believing that a finding […]

IFComp 2014: Origins

by Jason Dyer at October 26, 2014 04:00 AM

Origins by Vincent Zeng and Chris Martens involves two characters — a courier and a runner — in a split-screen arrangement where you can choose “myopic” style so you only control one, or “omniscient” mode where you see choices for both. Each choice is between two options, for example: Your breathing deepens as you start […]

These Heterogenous Tasks

IF Comp 2014: And yet it moves

by Sam Kabo Ashwell at October 26, 2014 12:01 AM

And yet it moves (Orion Zymaris) is a parser game made in Inform. The player, a student of the house-arrested Galileo, must smuggle the manuscript of the Discourses out of Italy and get it to a publisher in Holland. You knock gently on … Continue reading

October 25, 2014

Renga in Blue

IFComp 2014: Hill 160

by Jason Dyer at October 25, 2014 07:00 PM

Two months later, all that was knocked out of you. Blanko. Fatigues. March, march march. Orders. Being bawled out by Sergeant Major Grant. Then at the new year, when you’d marched up and down half of France and having had been there for months on end, and stuck for all those dreadful weeks in First […]

IFComp 2014: Slasher Swamp

by Jason Dyer at October 25, 2014 03:00 PM

Slasher Swamp is a gore-infused attempt at a cheesy horror movie. It uses TADS but for some insane reason is compiled for Windows-only (reminiscent of Jealousy Duel X which compiled a portable Flash file). This is the oldest of old schools: I had to draw a map. Not only that, but the map is of […]

October 24, 2014

These Heterogenous Tasks

IF Comp 2014: The Contortionist

by Sam Kabo Ashwell at October 24, 2014 08:01 PM

The Contortionist, by Nicholas Stillman, is a Twine-based parser/choice hybrid thing. The game offers a consistent set of verb-links; these either carry out an action immediately, or lead to small sets of context-dependent nouns. This is not a conceptually daring approach; it has plenty of … Continue reading

Emily Short

Three Hours with Velvet Sundown

by Emily Short at October 24, 2014 05:00 PM

Last month when I ran my charity auction, the three-hour winner was the team behind Velvet Sundown, an interactive drama that I’d heard about but hadn’t had a chance to check out. Their request was that I spend some time … Continue reading

Renga in Blue

IFComp 2014: The Entropy Cage

by Jason Dyer at October 24, 2014 01:00 PM

The Entropy Cage by Stormrose casts you as a “cyber-psychiatrist” who communicates with some problematic artificial intelligence via computer commands. user> sub.queryRequest() user> What did you do that was so bad? e26: Here is proof I crashed an elevator killing all inside. PROOF:Verified: e26 in charge of elevator. Crashed killing 2/2 occupants. ERROR: queryRequest() not […]

October 22, 2014

These Heterogenous Tasks

IF Comp 2014: Tower

by Sam Kabo Ashwell at October 22, 2014 09:01 PM

Tower (Simon Deimel) is a parser game made in I7. It’s a very conventional parser game: a featureless, amnesiac protagonist wakes up in a bland environment, then wanders around finding keys to unlock doors which open up more rooms which might contain … Continue reading

Choice of Games

iOS 8 bug for visually impaired users

by Dan Fabulich at October 22, 2014 01:27 PM

We’ve received a number of reports recently that our apps don’t work in “Voiceover” mode for iOS 8, which reads the game aloud for visually impaired users. I’ve confirmed that, indeed, our games really don’t work in Voiceover mode on iOS 8, even though they used to work in iOS 7.1, and that this is due to a bug in iOS 8. The effect of the bug is that it’s not possible to activate the “Next” button at the bottom of the screen, which should normally lock in a choice selection and display the next page of content. When Voiceover

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Announcing “Yeti’s Parole Officer” — Arrest criminal aliens before they escape Earth!

by Dan Fabulich at October 22, 2014 01:27 PM

We’re proud to announce that Yeti’s Parole Officer, the latest in our popular “Choice of Games” line of multiple-choice interactive-fiction games, is now available for iOS, Android, and, via the Chrome Web Store, Windows, OS X, and Linux. The Yeti, Loch Ness Monster, Chupacabra, and Mothman are aliens, sentenced to prison on Earth by the Pan-Galactic Prisons Bureau. As the Yeti’s parole officer, you must defend the galaxy from these convicts, unravel their criminal conspiracy, and bring them to justice! “Yeti’s Parole Officer” is a hilarious interactive sci-fi novel by KT Bryski, where your choices control the story. It’s entirely

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New Hosted Game: “Gangs of Old Camp”

by Dan Fabulich at October 22, 2014 01:27 PM

We’re proud to announce that Gangs of Old Camp, the latest in our Hosted Games label of multiple-choice interactive-fiction games, is now available for iOS, Android, and, via the Chrome Web Store, Windows, OS X, and Linux. Gangs of Old Camp is an interactive suspense thriller by Amith Shaju where your choices control the story. Undercover, you are on your own! Embark on the deadliest quest of your life. Death awaits you at every corner. Battle thugs, find love, solve puzzles and piece together the story to unravel the mysterious mastermind. Is the legend of the Lone Wolf a mere

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“Choice of the Deathless” Interactive Necromantic Legal Thriller Now Available on Steam

by Dan Fabulich at October 22, 2014 01:27 PM

We’re proud to announce that Choice of the Deathless is now available on Steam. It’s a necromantic legal thriller by Max Gladstone, two-time Campbell Award-nominated author of “Full Fathom Five,” “Three Parts Dead,” and “Two Serpents Rise.” Battle demons and undead attorneys, and win souls to pay back your student loans! At the elite demonic-law firm of Varkath Nebuchadnezzar Stone, you’ll depose a fallen god, find romance, and maybe even make partner, if you don’t lose your own soul first. It’s available for 33% off during launch week; the sale ends Friday, September 5th. We need your support to continue

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New Hosted Game: “Sword of the Elements”

by Dan Fabulich at October 22, 2014 01:27 PM

We’re proud to announce that Sword of the Elements, the latest in our Hosted Games label of multiple-choice interactive-fiction games, is now available for iOS, Android, and, via the Chrome Web Store, Windows, OS X, and Linux. Sword of the Elements is an interactive fantasy novel by Dmitry Drugov where your choices control the story. Prepare to adventure to the world’s end, beginning your epic journey in the Alfuria world! The prophecy about you has been fulfilled and now you must bring the Sword of the Twenty Three Elements to battle with the greatest evil. The most terrible war is

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The Digital Antiquarian


by Jimmy Maher at October 22, 2014 12:00 PM


It’s hard for me to believe that it’s now been about three-and-a-half years since I started this blog. Over that time it’s come a long way. After beginning with no real direction, I found my forte within the first six months or so, and the blog evolved into the grand history you all know and (hopefully) love. Along the way I like to believe I’ve become a better writer, and I know I’ve become a much better and more thorough researcher, with many more sources at my disposal. I must admit that some of those early articles are a bit painful for me to read now (I really need to do something about that someday). But best of all, I’ve found you folks, a core group of loyal readers who seem to grow by just a little bit every month. It hasn’t been a meteoric rise, but it has been a steady one and a fun one. You’re the best readers anywhere, you know, almost unfailingly polite and witty and perceptive and helpful, and I appreciate each and every one of you enormously. Every writer wants, more than anything else, to know some people out there are reading. Thanks for that!

So, having buttered you up, let’s move on to the real subject of today’s post. After some months of dithering over the question, I’ve decided it’s time to take the next step in my blogging career. As you can probably imagine based on the length and depth of the articles I post, the writing and research for the blog  absorbs many hours of my time per week. If I can start to bring in a little bit more, and on a more consistent basis, I’ll be able to devote more time to my work here, which will translate directly into more and better articles for you to enjoy. Imagine if you will a sliding scale of hours devoted to computer-gaming history that terminates in my being able to make it my full-time job. I’m afraid I’m a long way from there, may indeed never reach it, but every little bit of income the blog does manage to generate shifts that scale just slightly in a positive direction, resulting in more articles published, more games and other topics covered, and more depth to that coverage.

I’ve therefore decided to add Patreon to the existing PayPal donation system. As many of you probably already know, Patreon is a way for readers like you to support the work of creators like me through something like the old patronage model that used to fund art and literature back in the day. It has the advantage for me that it represents a steady income stream I can count on on a per-article basis, whereas one-off donations tend to move through cycles of feast and famine that are impossible to plan for. You need only go to my fresh new Patreon page to sign up. If you do so, you’ll be automatically billed for each substantial article that I write for the blog (i.e., articles like this one are not included). You can decide how much that amount will be. I’m certainly not asking you to break the bank here; a dollar or two (or the equivalent in your local currency) is fine, although if any of you love the blog and are flush with cash I certainly wouldn’t balk at more. On the other hand, some of you may want to pay a bit less, maybe just a dollar or two per month. I unfortunately can’t offer monthly and per-article payments simultaneously, but there is a way around it: just set a per-article level of $1 and also set a monthly limit of $1, $2, or whatever you like. This will have the same effect, with the added advantage that you don’t pay anything if I stop blogging for a month for some reason.

Patreon supporters will gain access to a special members area of my Patreon page, where we can interact a bit more informally and where you can have a bit more of a say on certain things that happen around here. I’ll give sneak previews from time to time of upcoming articles, ask for your input on games and topics worthy of coverage, and if there’s interest host occasional meet-ups via Google Hangouts or the like.

The PayPal donation button to the right will not be going away, so if you do still prefer to make a single lump-sum donation by all means feel free. And whether you can contribute financially or not, I could also use your help in one other way. As just about everyone must realize by now, I’m terrible at self-promotion, and worse at social media. So, anything you could do to help me get the word out to potential supporters would be hugely appreciated.

And that’s that, except to say, as Bartles and Jaymes did back in the year of which I’m writing these days, “Thank you for your support.” Next up in the on-deck circle: a certain spacefaring epic.


Emily Short

Magical Makeover (S. Woodson)

by Emily Short at October 22, 2014 12:00 PM

Magical Makeover is a fairy-tale game in which you, an ordinary-looking person, are preparing for a ball for the incredibly wealthy and/or exquisitely beautiful, so you must use the help of a magic mirror and an assortment of enchanted cosmetics … Continue reading

Post Position

The First Review of #!

by Nick Montfort at October 22, 2014 02:46 AM

Finally, the first review of my book #! is in. It’s from Zach Whalen. this is it, and to make it easier for you to copy, paste, and run it, here is the review that he banged out:

perl -e '{print$,=$"x($.+=.05),map{$_ x($.*.1)}qw(# !);redo}'

By the way, please come to my reading tomorrow at MIT (E15 atrium) at 6:30pm if you’re in the area. It will be fun!

These Heterogenous Tasks

IF Comp 2014: Arqon: A Criminal’s Journey

by Sam Kabo Ashwell at October 22, 2014 02:01 AM

Arqon: A Criminal’s Journey (H.J. Hoke) is a fantasy CRPG-like, parser-based and made in Inform 7. I played Arqon – unusually for comp games – in a small group which included someone who had played before, and was therefore wise to what … Continue reading

October 21, 2014

Emily Short

Dial C for Cupcakes (Ryan Veeder)

by Emily Short at October 21, 2014 03:00 PM

Dial C for Cupcakes is a short parser-based game (45-60 minutes of play time, probably) with gentle puzzles. It’s a sequel to his comp-winning previous work Taco Fiction, but it plays fine even if you don’t remember all the details … Continue reading

These Heterogenous Tasks

IF Comp 2014: Milk Party Palace

by Sam Kabo Ashwell at October 21, 2014 04:01 AM

Milk Party Palace is a choicey game made in Unity. It is about Alec Baldwin, who really needs some milk for his milk party, and you are the guy to get it. (Which one is Alec? Pretty sure it’s not … Continue reading

October 20, 2014

The Gaming Philosopher


Parser vs. Hypertext: Two Implementations of "Cloak of Darkness"

October 20, 2014 07:01 PM

Last week I updated the Gamefic repo with an SDK that can compile game code into pure JavaScript. There's a standard API that provides functions for sending player commands and receiving game data. Developers can use HTML and CSS to customize the game interface. As an experiment, I used the SDK to compile two versions of Cloak of Darkness. One uses a traditional parser-based interface. The other has a graphical interface that works completely through point-and-click. The world model and solution are functionally the same. Read More


News: Anna Anthropy Announces Bundle “Twine and Punishment”

by Amanda Wallace at October 20, 2014 04:01 PM


Game developer Anna Anthropy, also known as Auntie Pixelante, has announced a Twine bundle named Twine and Punishment. This is remarkable for two reasons: 1) no one has apparently named a Twine bundle “Twine and Punishment” before and it’s a definite missed opportunity 2) It features a handful of interesting games.

Twine and Punishment has an announced release date of November 1. The games set to be included are:

star Court

star court

From Anna Anthropy’s site:

star court is based on a little old mac game called kangaroo court that my friend miguel made me play on his little old mac. “it’s basically an anna anthropy game,” he said. when the first witness turned out to be “a very friendly person with large insect-like eyes and a ray gun,” i realized it was true. when the game i had planned for my free patreon last month didn’t work out (it was a writing game, but the scoring mechanisms as they stood didn’t really facilitate writing interesting stories), i decided to write my own version of kangaroo court, set in the queer space opera universe of my other twine games.

by the time i crossed the 11,000 work mark – the size of a very very VERY scary house – i realized the game wouldn’t be done by the end of the month. it ended up my biggest twine project to date, with almost 30,000 words in over 300 passages (v.v.v. scary house, for comparison, has around 200). it’s just really branchy – i wanted it to contain a lot of chance and a lot of choices. and i’m finding it really easy to write for a pulp universe that is basically designed to facilitate as many weird ideas as possible. (spoilers: there is another entry in this series coming up soon!)

Where in the galaxy is kremlin san antonio?


From the site:

can you follow nefarious criminal mastermind kremlin san antonio’s trail of theft from planet to planet? use the clues you find and your encyclopedia of local worlds to pick up her trail!

mission to planet x

planet X.jpg

From the first page of the Twine:


the hunt for the gay planet

From Anna Anthropy’s site:

i’ve been saying for a while now that supposedly lgbt-friendly game developers like bioware only see queer people (lgb people, at least) as consumers. nothing could make the point more clearly than bioware’s decision to add gay romances to star wars: the old republic – on a single planet in the galaxy, which players have to pay for the privilege of visiting. pay to enter a dystopian future where queers are exiled to a far-off, backwater planet!

and the robot horse your rode in on

From Anna Anthropy’s site:

i’ll be honest: i made this whole game just so i could write a scene where a girl licks water off the foot of another girl while buried to her neck in the desert. but then i asked myself: why is this girl buried to her neck in the desert? such questions are the seeds of stories. girls who end up buried to their necks in the desert, i thought, aren’t always the most honest banditas. here was an opportunity to explore a conceit i haven’t really spent that much time with: a dishonest narrator. twine was a perfect fit: thanks to the ambiguity of hypertext, the player character can complete her schemes even if the player doesn’t know explicitly what they are.

The bundle will also include the game Keep Dreaming Space Cowgirl, a game I could not find any information on. The Twine and Punishment bundle will be available on November 1. Keep an eye out on Anna Anthropy’s Twitter account for up to date information.

The post News: Anna Anthropy Announces Bundle “Twine and Punishment” appeared first on StoryCade.

Emily Short

IF Comp 2014 Roundup

by Emily Short at October 20, 2014 10:00 AM

I have now reviewed all the comp games I am going to review, which is to say, all of them except a Windows-only work I am not able to play. Most recent years I’ve done an end-of-comp roundup (2013, 2012, … Continue reading

October 19, 2014

Emily Short

IF Comp 2014: Slasher Swamp (Robot)

by Emily Short at October 19, 2014 08:00 PM

Slasher Swamp is a parser-based gross-out horror game, heavy on exploration. I got all the way to the end. This wouldn’t normally be on my review list at all, given that it was distributed as a Windows-only game and I … Continue reading

Too Much Free Time

IFComp 2014: One Night Stand

by Tracy Poff at October 19, 2014 05:01 AM

The third game I’ve played from the 2014 ifcomp is One Night Stand by Giannis G. Georgiou. You play Sandy, a woman who is trying to discover the name of the man she just spent the night with.

One pre-spoiler note: the download from the comp website just has an HTML file with a link to a web-based version of the game, but the story file can be downloaded, if you follow that link. You’ll need a Quest interpreter to play it.

(This post contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.)

First, a note about online play: the online interpreter was rather slow to react, occasionally taking many seconds to complete a command, and usually missing the first few characters of each command I typed, since it was still scrolling the response text. This was irritating, but it otherwise worked fine, and it was at least visually attractive. Not ideal, but better than nothing, given that I don’t actually have a Quest interpreter.

ONS is a short comedy game with one puzzle sequence. I spent about 35 minutes prodding everything in the game before I finished, but I imagine 10 minutes would more than suffice, if you just proceed toward the goal–and particularly if you aren’t using the rather slow web-based interpreter.

I appreciate the customized responses to trying to take various objects, and the randomly chosen sections of text (e.g. when knocking on Mara’s door) are a nice touch. The ending, though not entirely unexpected, is a good enough payoff for the few minutes the game takes to complete.

On the other hand, you don’t have any real options–either you proceed linearly through the story, or you don’t proceed at all. I wanted to try tricking the dude into saying his name. To break down in tears to avoid the situation. To call him Rumpelstiltskin, if his name is so important. Anything to have some choice–but I had none. More mundanely, there are few objects implemented, and no real, interactive NPCs. The parser is a little obtuse, too: you’ve got to knock door or use bottle on floor, which aren’t exactly the first commands that came to mind.

Overall, an average-quality game, which would probably be more at home in the first ifcomp than the twentieth.

Post-review pre-posting note: Okay, I think this review needs an addendum. Other reviewers seem to be unanimous in despising this game. It was my assumption throughout the game that it was a work of parody–the several-inches deep layer of grease on the kitchen floor not a greater exaggeration than the PC’s absurd internal monologue. Surely the game is so stupid exactly because it’s undermining its nominal position. Of course, while writing the review, I was under the impression that the author was a woman (Wrong! Giannis is a Greek name which is the masculine form Gianna. The more you know.), and that therefore the PC must be a parody of the ridiculous caricatures of women we see in games and other media (maybe not?).

It’s against my policy to change my judgment after reading other reviews, so I’ll let this review stand as-is. I’d rather be too generous in my assumptions about other people than too harsh. In retrospect, though, if you take seriously the bits that I assumed to be failed comedy, then the game really does become rather unpalatable… so take this review with a grain of salt.

October 18, 2014

The Gameshelf: IF

Zarfplan: Awaiting approval

by Andrew Plotkin at October 18, 2014 04:28 PM

On November 1, 2010, I opened a Kickstarter project for an iOS text adventure.

Last night I submitted the Hadean Lands iOS app for App Store approval. (And also uploaded it to the Itch.IO and Humble distribution platforms.)

As I said, this will be a simultaneous release on all platforms. So we're now at Apple's mercy -- not an unfamiliar feeling for modern game developers. According to the charts, the iOS approval process is currently running about eleven days. (I'm used to five or six days, but I figure they're swamped with app updates for iOS8 and the newest phones.)

I am targetting October 30 as the launch day. That means you'll be playing the game on the fourth anniversary of the Kickstarter launch. Tidy! If it looks like approval is going to run longer, I'll let you all know.

In the meantime, you can take a gander at the Hadean Lands web site, which is now up and running. The map is the game's big "feelie". Old Infocom fans will get a kick out of the IF sample transcript -- no spoilers for the game itself, just an example of how alchemical IF plays out.

So what will happen on (I hope) Oct 30?

  • You will see the game appear in the iOS App Store. (Don't buy it yet!)
  • You will see Itch/Humble widgets on the HL web page.
  • If you asked for an Itch/Humble download key, you will get email (from me) containing that key.
  • If you asked for an iOS app, you will get email (from Apple) notifying you that the app has been credited to your iTunes account.

The last bit is the tricky one. I will be gifting the app directly to all US-based backers. But Apple doesn't allow gifting between countries. So if you're outside the US (or your iTunes account is), I'll have to do some dancing.

Here's what I figure: for the major countries (UK, Canada, Australia, a few others) I will pick somebody I know and PayPal them a bunch of money. That person can then do the gifting. If you're the only person from your country, I'm afraid I'm going to have to contact you directly and PayPal you US $5 -- then you can just buy the app.

(I will be contacting you directly to talk about PayPal matters.)

I realize this is a hassle, and it may take extra time for non-US backers to get their iOS app. I'm sorry; I don't know a better way to do this. (Other than opening bank accounts in a dozen different countries, which I can't manage.) I was hoping that a solution would turn up before the game was finished... Fortunately, none of this hassle applies to the Itch/Humble downloads, so those will all go out on time.

I still have not started to plan the physical rewards. One thing at a time.

October 17, 2014

Post Position

#! Reading at MIT, Wednesday, 6:30pm

by Nick Montfort at October 17, 2014 09:24 PM

Nick Montfort presents #! in the atrium of MIT’s building E15, just steps from the Kendall T stop. It’s October 22, Wednesday, at 6:30pm, and thanks to the List Visual Arts Center. The book is Montfort’s new one from Counterpath Press, consisting of programs and poems. Please, come join me!

E15 Atrium

Too Much Free Time

IFComp 2014: Raik

by Tracy Poff at October 17, 2014 08:00 PM

The second game I’m looking at this year is Raik by Harry Giles, which is written with Twine. According to the blurb, it is “A scots fantasia about anxiety. Battle kelpies, watch TV, avoid your emails and find the magical Staff of the Salmon.” Sounds amusing!

(This post contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.)

My spoiler warning above goes double for this game. Really definitely don’t read this without playing the game. I mean it.

When you start the game, you’re advised that you can “Learn about Scots and use a translator at“, and you are presented with a pair of links: gang and go. It looks from the outset as if the game is simply available in two languages–Scots and English–for flavor, and the “Translate to Scots” and “Translate to English” links that appear reinforce this. The text is even very similar in shape in each language. However, this is only a facade: there are two stories being told, and they are superficially unrelated.

In the Scots-language story, the PC struggles through the day, trying to fill time: “If ye can get tae hauf five, mebbe ye can get tae dinner, than mebbe ye can get tae bed.”

In the English-language story, the PC is on an epic quest: “You are searching for the Staff of the Salmon, whose magic alone will release your clan from the withering curse of Black Edward.”

At the bottom of each page of text is an option to ‘translate’ into the other language, which actually presents not a translation but the section of the story which is in the corresponding position in the other language: the stories are structurally the same. They are related in more ways that one: at the end of the English-language story, “You imagine another version of yourself, who stayed in bed that fateful day and even now lies frozen in time, unable to act, an endless scream seeking only relief.” In the most recent corresponding part of the Scots-language story, the PC is paralyzed by a panic attack.

My interpretation: the Scots-language story is ‘real’, and the English-language story is the PC’s way of dealing with life–or of not dealing with life, as the case may be.

The duality of the stories is very cool and well done. Though you could (mostly) play them separately, the English-language story serves as commentary on the Scots-language story. For example, when the PC of the Scots-language story is (figuratively) lost in a panic attack, the PC of the English-language story is (literally) lost in a maze. It’s an impressive way to use metaphor.

The individual stories are well-crafted, too. I particularly liked the use of links to pace the story. Early on, links interrupting the text make the story seem to move slower, but later they make the pacing seem more frantic–well done!

You’ll note that my praise is all for ‘meta’ aspects of the game–this is not an accident. The actual game isn’t all that interesting. The Scots-language story is dull (but it’s supposed to be, since it’s the ‘real-world’ part of the game) and the English-language story is far from engaging. However, the game is quite short (about fifteen minutes for a single playthrough), so this wasn’t a problem.

The language aspect could prove something of a problem. It’s easy enough to tell the general sense of the Scots-language story, but for most readers there will be many specific terms that require definition. It’s certainly the author’s intention to induce readers to learn more about Scots, which is fine, though I wonder how much effort the (non-comp-judging) general public will be willing to expend on comprehension. My own experience with Scots (other than Robert Burns) is limited to an encounter with the Scots Wikipedia, some years ago. At the time, I judged that the editors were treating Scots as a somewhat more dignified version of leet-speak, and put it from my mind. It seems to have done better since, though it still has very few editors.

According to the author, Raik was inspired by Depression Quest, which I have not yet played. I’d like to come back to this game after playing Depression Quest, to see how it affects my opinion. At any rate, I foresee myself continuing to revisit and think about this game in the future, which is about the highest praise that can be given to a ‘serious’ game like this.

Play time: about 40 minutes for several playthroughs.


[Kickstarter] Ice-Bound: A Novel of Reconfiguration

by Amanda Wallace at October 17, 2014 04:01 PM


The creators of Ice-Bound, Aaron Reed and Jacob Garbe, call it a novel of reconfiguration. It’s closest corollary is either Reed’s 18 Cadence or very unique works of fiction like House of Leaves. 

It’s easy to say what Ice-Bound is not. It is not traditional IF.

It becomes more difficult to parse what the game is, as it defies explanation by simply creating it’s own sub-genre. Ice-Bound is an indie game, a work of electronic art where collaboration between the real world and the fictional is paramount. As the developers say in their Kickstarter video — it’s the games primary mechanic.

In keeping with the stated inspiration of novels like House of Leaves, Ice-Bound is a fragmented story. The stories nest inside of one another — the tale of an abandoned polar base, a dying authors notes, a confused AI that you must lead towards the truth. The story alone could be enough to sell you on this Kickstarter. But that isn’t all that the developers are offering.


One of the primary components of the game is a physical book — the author’s notes from an incomplete masterpiece. The game operates by having you show portions of the book to the camera on your Windows device or iPad, which gives the AI (the game) the ability to figure out more of the story. It’s a fascinating interplay of concepts that looks like it combines elements of Aaron Reed’s interactive non-linear experience 18 Cadence and Jacob Garbe’s Closed Room, Soft WhispersThe game is on the bleeding edge of emergent fiction and augmented reality experiences, and promises to be the next great experimental hit in the interactive fiction community.

The game is already funded, but there is still time to back the project before it concludes on November 5. $20 will get you a copy of the Ice-Bound Compendium (the physical component) as well as access to the game. You can find out more at the Kickstarter page.

The post [Kickstarter] Ice-Bound: A Novel of Reconfiguration appeared first on StoryCade.