Posts Tagged ‘interactive fiction’

Interactive Fiction Competition 2017

IFcompbanne

Fans of interactive fiction! IF Comp 2017 is currently in progress, with 79 entries — the largest field in the competition’s more-than-20-year history.

The selection includes parser, choice, and hypertext stories, a PDF gamebook, a joke game from the perspective of the grues, two parser games of Viking-era menace, three branching narratives translated from Chinese, and a game where part of the intended play experience is to read the source code.

If you feel overwhelmed by all that bounty, here are a few standouts:

Read the rest of this entry »

Snowden-em-up email thriller Top Secret out now

Top Secret [official site], a game about whistleblower Edward Snowden that you play in real time via email, was released at the weekend. It lurked on Kickstarter back in 2015, when Joe leaked his thoughts on it, delving three days into a demo where he met a cryptanalyst who made him genuinely encrypt all future emails he would send. It’s all generated by clever machines of course, but the delay between sending a message and receiving a reply is there to make it feel real.
Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Stories Untold

Gosh, we’re living in brilliant times for interesting games. It seems barely a month goes by now without something novel and fascinating appearing, pushing at the edges, upcycling old ideas for new minds, and messing with our brains. The latest that fits all these categories is the really very splendid Stories Untold [entirely pointless official site], ostensibly a collection of four novella-like adventures linked by an opaque theme. It’s part parser-based text adventure, part horror peculiarity, part 80s TV show… It’s unlike anything you’ve played before, despite being built from the half-remembered remains of a childhood of gaming.

So a familiar caveat to accompany such a review: if you trust me, if you want to experience the game with as little information as possible so everything’s a surprise, then take the above paragraph as everything you need and spend £6 on this. If you want more details (wonderfully written and spoiler-free), then read on. Read the rest of this entry »

Detectiveland leads IFComp 2016 winners list

Winners!

Emily Short has been picking out gems from the 2016 IFComp (the annual interactive fiction competition) as part of her IF Only column so you might well have already played the winners BUT! the official final rankings for the contest have now been released. So, drumroll…

Detectiveland by Robin Johnson got the top ranking – it’s a noir setting with a number of different cases to solve (one is called A Study In Squid). It turns out I’ve not played any of the top three so I’ll put an excerpt from Emily’s assessment for each of them instead of rushing through them now. Read the rest of this entry »

500 Apocalypses: An Alien Interactive Fiction Memorial

Following Emily’s reminder that this year’s Interactive Fiction Competition entries are now playable I started to browse and found a curious and enjoyable piece called 500 Apocalypses [entry page] by Phantom Williams. It’s a fictional in-browser museum/garden curating the apocalypses of various societies as translated from an extraterrestrial resource. There’s also a cool FAQ which augments the experience nicely, toying with the fact/fiction distinction.

Read the rest of this entry »

Killing Time At Lightspeed’s Enhanced Edition Out Now

Killing Time at Lightspeed [official site] is a quirky interactive fiction-type adventure game that was created for last year’s sci-fi anthology-inspired Antholojam. It’s…it’s hard to explain. Ostensibly, it’s a game about travelling on a spaceship where your only means of interaction with home is via social media. But the further you travel from earth, the longer the delay is between your messages – to the point where refreshing your homepage skips years at a time. Holding a mirror to modern culture, then, the game often dives into some pretty dark and somber themes as you uncover snippets of life in uncertain times. “Just how much can you affect other people’s lives with your fleeting interactions through social media?” asks the game’s blurb.

The game’s Enhanced Edition has just landed on Steam if you’re keen to find out.

Read the rest of this entry »

IF Only: Text Adventures For People Who Hate Guessing The Verb

Emily Short is one of the world’s leading gurus on Interactive Fiction. We’re delighted to tell you that IF Only will be a regular column about the myriad world of IF gaming.

Back in the late 90s, the name “interactive fiction” was applied mostly to parser-based text adventures descended from Zork, where all output was in text and the player had to type commands to proceed. The genre has opened up enormously in recent years, with Twine and other choice-based fiction now often included in IF competitions and databases, and with some players and journalists applying the term “interactive fiction” even to graphical games with 3D environments if they have enough of a focus on story. Contrary to common report, though, this doesn’t mean that text adventures have either gone away or stopped innovating.

Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… 9:05?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

The phone rings.

Oh, no — how long have you been asleep? Sure, it was a tough night, but… This is bad. This is very bad.

The phone rings.

9:05 [official site] is a text adventure about being late for work. When you finish playing it, you’ll almost definitely tell the next person you meet to play it immediately, even if that person is a stranger at a bus stop.

Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… Aisle?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Aisle is one of my favourite games. It’s a snapshot of a life in progress that unfolds into a complex character study that you can guide toward tragedy, farce, drama, thriller or romance. The confines within which it operates – a text adventure in which a single action can be taken on each playthrough – are as strict as any I can think of, but from the restrictions of that stage it gestures toward distant cities and a storehouse of memories. You should take some time to play it right now.

Read the rest of this entry »

Boo: The Uncle Who Works At Nintendo

Michael Lutz made My Father’s Long, Long Legs, which just so happens to be one of my favourite Twine games, and his latest release is right up in the top ten as well. The Uncle Who Works At Nintendo is a horror game that plays on schoolground jealousies, feelings of inadequacy and experimental Nintendo hardware. There are multiple endings, some of which aren’t quite as alarming as others, and the whole story takes place in the few hours leading up to midnight during a sleepover. Best played with headphones on, although sound is atmospheric rather than intended to startle in screamer fashion.

Read the rest of this entry »

Freeware Garden: [R]espawn

That's [R] not R.

Javy Gwaltney, the person responsible for both You Were Made For Loneliness and the (commercial) The Terror Aboard The Speedwell, has returned to his post-cataclysmic science fiction universe with a new Twine-powered text adventure: [R]espawn. A freeware sequel to those games that can perfectly well stand on its own.

Read the rest of this entry »

IFComp 2014 Ballots Open, Lots Of Unusual Free Games

O, glorious IFComp. The interactive fiction competition has been running since 1995 and at times during those 19 years has felt like the last stalwart keeping the community ticking over. Now the genre is more healthy than its been in a long time, and voting for this year’s entries has just begun. Would you like to be Galileo’s assistant and sneak his banned book out of the country for him? Would you like to play a “randomized fantasy begging sim”? Would you like to be an interstellar diplomat trying to satisfy the snooty etiquette of a blob-alien?

This is a lot of free games to play from a lot of talented writers and designers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Freeware Garden: The Price of Freedom – Innocence Lost

Illustrating posts on text adventures can be infuriating. Please, devs, make some cover art! Please?

Created for the latest Spring Thing compo, The Price of Freedom: Innocence Lost is a choose-your-own-adventure styled piece of interactive fiction that, somehow, wasn’t created in Twine and, rather emphatically, went on to win this year’s competition. Also, it’s very, very good.

Read the rest of this entry »

Freeware Garden: Capsule

A starship the size of Wales looks a bit like this.

I am slowly yet surely discovering that I adore illustrated interactive fiction. I believe I could take the thing and live with it on a desert island, where I’d fish and cook and it’d provide me with stuff like Capsule. Ah, yes, it would be a lovely exercise in calm, enlightened misanthropy.

Read the rest of this entry »

Freeware garden: Americano

A typical text-adventure screenshot.

They don’t merely dream of electric sheep these days. They have actually reached the point of loving old books and lusting over good looking if vacuous boys. Yes, today’s androids are indeed different. More sophisticated*. More mature perhaps and definitely more interesting as characters in and of themselves than as intriguing sci-fi concepts to be explored.

Evidently, they are also perfectly capable of enjoying cheery tunes during storms of melancholy and, of course, of savoring an Americano.

Read the rest of this entry »

Freeware Garden: Weird City Interloper

Freeware Garden searches the corners of the internet to highlight one free game every day.

Welcome to C.E.J. Pacian‘s exquisite, fantastical, yet magically oppressed city of Zendon. Welcome to an interactive tale of conspiracy like no other. Welcome to the wondrous world of Weird City Interloper and one of the most memorable and downright engrossing text adventures you have ever played.

Read the rest of this entry »

Freeware Garden: (The Aptly Named) 3DTextAdventure

Freeware Garden searches the corners of the internet to highlight one free game every day.

Sometimes experiments don’t need one of those fancy imaginative titles and, appropriately, 3DTextAdventure doesn’t have one. It’s content with attempting to do what it says on the tin and, crucially, succeeding.

Read the rest of this entry »

Freeware Garden: You Were Made For Loneliness

Freeware Garden searches the corners of the internet to highlight one free game every day.

Elizabeth Simins provided You Were Made For Loneliness with a brilliantly evocative opening illustration, that really sets the game’s mood and acts as a first warning of sorts. A warning followed by further trigger warnings for suicide, depression, and psychological abuse.

You Were Made For Loneliness, you see, is definitely not for everyone, but, for those who can brave disturbing scenes in their texty Twine games, it does offer both food for thought and some great, wild prose by Tsukareta*.

Read the rest of this entry »