Posts Tagged ‘IF Only’

IF Only: Apocalypse Eve

Prospero Cover Clip

Apocalypse is a popular topic of IF. Brian Moriarty’s Trinity explored the threat of nuclear annihilation, back in 1986; Phantom Williams’ 500 Apocalypses got several mentions here last year, from me and from Philippa Warr. Max Kreminski’s Epitaph takes a more Spore-like approach, as you’re allowed to try to nurture procedurally generated civilizations to survive longer than a few turns, and instead (most likely) rack up an impressive collection of failures.

Whatever kind of apocalypse you’re trying to model, interactive fiction probably has something to offer. Here are some of the most interesting.

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IF Only: Remembering Textfyre

Shadow in the Cathedral Cover

For quite a lot of the 2000s, IF enthusiasts hoped for a future in which parser IF would become commercially viable again. There were various theories about how to do that, but one company made a more serious attempt than most. Dave Cornelson put together Textfyre, a company that would create interactive fiction aimed at roughly middle school-aged children. The games would have a custom interface that resembled a book, and they’d be released as parts of a series, to encourage repeat sales. There would be handmade maps and artwork, so that these games would feel like quality products. And they’d sell for a serious price, $25 each. Read the rest of this entry »

IF Only: Looking back at 2016 in Interactive Fiction

Vesp Screenshot

We have, at last, reached the end of 2016. I’m not going to do a top-ten list — both because a lot of the games I might put on this list are things I’ve already covered elsewhere in previous columns, and because I think some of the most interesting things to happen in 2016 were about trends rather than single hits. But here are a few highlights of the year past. Read the rest of this entry »

IF Only: What to watch for

Screenshot of Interactive Fiction Database

Most of my columns look at a particular author, game, style, or theme in IF that you might be interested in trying out. But if you’re new to interactive fiction entirely and want to branch out into finding new work of your own, where would you look? Here’s a quick tour of some interesting things to look at and watch for.

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IF Only: The Works of Steph Cherrywell

Cover art for Jacqueline Jungle Queen

Steph Cherrywell is the creator of web comics (not necessarily safe for work) and graphic novels, such as Pepper Penwell and the Land Creature of Monster Lake. She is also one of the standout creators of comedy parser IF from the past couple of years, carrying over into interactive fiction her skill as an illustrator and her taste for riffing on naive adventure stories.

In Jacqueline, Jungle Queen (parser, Quest 5), the eponymous heroine is a spunky reporter who winds up stranded in the jungle and needing to explore her way to freedom. It’s available to play online. The online version offers a self-updating map, a permanent inventory list, and some other nice goodies. Just be aware that the website times out if you leave it alone for too long, so don’t expect to leave the game half-finished in a tab and come back the next day.

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IF Only: Bears and Shoes

Cover art for Bear Dad

IF Comp 2016 is still running as I write this — though by the time you read it, we’ll be down to the final days. Most years recently, I’ve been certain what game was going to win by this point in the process. This year, I truly don’t know. Partly, that’s because the crop is so very large. With nearly 60 entrants in the pool, there are still a couple of games I haven’t even had a chance to look at at all. But partly it’s also just a wildly diverse group of games and stories, trying very different things. How to compare the grief-filled short choice-based memoir Ash with the story-sparse parser-based logic puzzle that is Inside the Facility?

Still, I have a few more recommendations from this year’s collection. Read the rest of this entry »

IF Only: All About The Setting

Banner image for IF Comp

IF Comp 2016 continues to run, with a diverse range of fascinating games. And there’s still time for you to play and judge five of them if you wish!

This week, I’m taking a look at some Comp pieces that are particularly rich in setting. Letting the player explore a place deeply and really get to know it has always been one of the strengths of interactive fiction, and the XYZZY Award for Best Setting is hotly contested most years.

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