New Game Journalism: GDC The Text Adventure

I do like that pixel art.

This is really neat. Picked up from Indie Games. They had Jim Munroe go to GDC with a press-pass and write up his experiences in the form of a text adventure. It’s actually more of a text-based game than a text adventure (i.e. you shouldn’t be having any problems with the parser as long as you REMEMBER the instructions at the start), and actually somewhat splendid. You can play it online in Java here, for the java-hating here and for those who use an IF interpreter, its actual code is here. And some more explanation follows…

It puts you as a GDC delegate and is a sort of simulation of the social whirl of a conference. There’s three parts – the infection of ideas to one another, the creation of a social web and desperately trying to get a development team together. So you’ll end up going to a session, picking up ideas about procedural generation, and then be able to talk about it with people. Much like the Sims, you bore people by chatting to them about stuff they’re not interested, and excite them by doing the opposite. Soon, it’s the true conference experience with Susan and Jeffrey making in-jokes and smiling whenever we cross paths, and Simon scowling because I’m the idiot who talks about 2D physics all the time. And, at the end of the day assuming you’ve made some friends, you get dragged out for drinks, meeting more people. The game starts slow, with you not excited by anything or knowing anyone. By the end, everyone is talking or scowling at everything else – and possibly you’d have excited enough people to make a videogame. I ended up with a team devoted to making a game featuring viral marketing, 2D physics and Chiptune music. Which sounds like exactly the sort of thing we’d end up linking to on RPS, so I better get cracking.

Oddly human little thing which captures quite a bit about the human side of development. Go play.


  1. a rob amongst many says:

    I made an ARG using creative commons licenced art and bot movement! Someone should put these concepts into practice.

  2. KBKarma says:

    There’s two parts Рthe infection of ideas to one another, the creation of a social web and desperately trying to get a development team together.

    Isn’t that three parts?

    It’s a fun game, though.

  3. Jazmeister says:

    The dev team is the social web. They are the same thing. So, not different, separate things.

  4. BooleanBob says:

    I would play that game.

    I would play anything with a good chiptune soundtrack, though. Even Reset Generation, which was interesting and brave, but ultimately not for me. Strategy + insane amounts of randomisation =/= strategy.

  5. PleasingFungus says:

    Heh – ended up with chiptune music and 2d physics, myself. (On my second go – didn’t get anywhere on my first one.) 98% chance of success!

  6. VPeric says:

    I didn’t get an artist, sadly enough (did manage to find another coder, two promoters and two designers… doesn’t really look like a longlasting team). Anyway, 2D physics, bot movement, pixel art, chiptune music and micropayments coupled with viral marketing – what’s not to like!

  7. Quirk says:

    Hah, it’s possible to get more than 100%! I managed to rack up 107%…

  8. vagabond says:

    I got stuck on the last day. I had an almost complete team, but it kept automatically dragging into the dev team conference to give me pointers. All I seemed to be able to do was move south, where people would arrive and talk and I would automatically go back into the dev team thing. It was interesting for a bit watching the advice change as the dev team I had got mad at each other and then made up and then got mad, but I didn’t seem to be able to do anything and the day didn’t seem to be ending, so I quit.