Interactive Fiction

Since 2001 I’ve been making (off and on, though more frequently recently) interactive fiction (or IF) — game-stories, or story-games. Choice-driven narratives. I grew up with this form of game, particularly the Infocom offerings (though my first ever work of IF that I played was Scott Adams’ Pirate Adventure, on my Texas Instruments 994/a. (To show how long ago this was, the media format on that was a cassette tape.) The first pieces I started making were parser-based; more recently I’ve been making IF with a nifty program called Twine. It’s ridiculously simple to get started with, but has a lot of functionality under the hood (and with macros you can add) that allow really interesting narrative strategies to take place. People have been making great IF with parser-based systems like Inform 7, Twine, and plenty of others.

Here are a few of my offerings. It’s a fantastic community of players, readers, writers, and programmers, so if you’re interested in finding out more about IF, I’d recommend checking out the IF Forums or, with Twine more specifically, the Twine homepage. For the works of IF themselves, go to the Interactive Fiction Database.

Cryptophasia (2014)

Written for ShuffleComp

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“Ever since the fall of the Galactic Thessalocracy 40 years ago, on account of the erebus plague, the one thing that has bound people together across far-flung star systems has been a love of Viennese pastries.”

Pilot your starship, trade tortes for ASMR videos, avoid pirates, embark on adventures, and maybe even discover the secrets of the galaxy. Multiple playthroughs are encouraged. Chiptune soundtrack by Ivy Baumgarten. I had quite a lot of fun writing this. There is a lot of randomization in signifiers, and probably the most branch-y thing I’ve ever written.

Play

Solarium (2013)

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Cold War madness, alchemy, Dwight Eisenhower, crows, love and dissolution

The year is 1954. One year after mutually assured destruction. And I am trying to find you, through memory and alchemy. Not many people know how the nuclear devastation really happened. But we do.

We were part of Solarium.

6th place in 2013 Interactive Fiction competition.

XYZZY Award winner, Best Story

Play

 

We Are the Firewall (2013)

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A game-novella set in near-future Minneapolis. About a dozen 3rd person POVs.

Play

 

Corvidia (2013)

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A very short game-poem about a man, his daughter, the moon, some birds, and an evergreen.

Play

 

Deadline Enchanter (2007)

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This is the only one listed here (so far?) that’s parser-based. But it doesn’t really require a lot of knowledge of IF conventions. You should just follow the walkthrough–no, really, I mean you should really REALLY follow the walkthrough.

This is where I end and you begin. That, at least, is what I want to think. I don’t know you. Perhaps one day I will. But this Implementation–rather, its copies–are my seeds blowing to the wind. The palm-parsers, their oak gears whirring, will be pressed into hands long after I finish this. Hands like yours.

12th place in 2007 Interactive Fiction Competition

XYZZY Award winner, Best Use of Medium

XYZZY Award finalist, Best Writing and Best Story

Play

 

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