July Link Assortment

If you want to talk to and hang out with other interactive fiction enthusiasts, here are a bunch of forthcoming live IF meetups:

SF Bay: August 1, 1 PM. (Details here.)

Boston: Friday, August 14, 6:30 pm. (Details here.) I’m not sure August’s meeting has been scheduled yet, but there will probably be one; check out this space if you’re curious.

Seattle: August 15, 1 PM. (Details here.)

London: August 24, 7 PM. (Details and RSVP here. This was originally scheduled for the 25th, but Tube strikes are expected to make it hard to reach the venue that night, so we’ve moved it.)
We’re a diverse group including people interested in choice-based and parser IF, hypertext and Twine, StoryNexus, writing in video games, transmedia and interactive performance. You do not have to be experienced in any particular area to fit in; if you’re curious, please do join us and tell us about what you’re into. We meet in a lovely room above Failbetter Games HQ with a view of the Thames, talk and have snacks, and then after a couple of hours adjourn to the nearby pub. Everything is in easy walking distance of the North Greenwich tube stop.

Baltimore: August 29, 3 PM. (Details here.)

New York: I couldn’t find a listing for this month, and it looks as though the group may be on summer hiatus.

If you know of others I should be listing, please feel free to comment below.


scrollthiefScroll Thief is out!

I haven’t had a chance to play the full version yet, but I really enjoyed the demo submitted to IntroComp (review here). It’s a classic old-school parser puzzle game set in the Zork/Enchanter universe, with humor and fun systemic results; while I’m not always keen on pieces that are just doing nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake, the Scroll Thief demo was pretty inventive with its spellwork concepts and was actually taking the premise in some new directions. Cast spells! Cast spells on spells!


Sub-Q, the new IF magazine/website, has announced its lineup of four new IF pieces upcoming in August. One of these is a reprint of Silver and Gold, a formally daring piece I reviewed here; the others are new work, including new material by Porpentine with Brenda Neotenomie and Yoon Ha Lee with Peter Berman (the team that produced the surreal and gorgeous To Spring Open). I am not familiar with any IF by Vajra Chandrasekera, but his publication history makes me eager to see the results.


The Prix Net Art has a call for nominations open through August 17: it calls for works that are primarily experienced through a web browser and are more than incidentally acting on or acted on by the network; they explicitly call out twitter bots as an example of this kind of work, and I would guess that some types of interactive fiction might also be considered eligible. There is a $10,000 grand prize, as well as an additional $5000 for the runner up. Artists may nominate themselves, or may be nominated by third parties; the artist is not required to create a new work as part of the submission but will be judged on the basis of their existing portfolio. Additional details are provided here.


I’ll be speaking on a panel with Naomi Alderman and Cara Ellison about stories in games at the London Literature Festival on October 7. If you’d like to join us, tickets are available here.


I am also going to be at WordPlay this year (Toronto, Nov 7). WordPlay always shows a selection of text-rich games to the general public. If you want to submit something for consideration to be shown at WordPlay, there’s more information here, including discussion from IF community people who are planning to be there. I know in past years some people have worked together to pool transport and lodging, so that’s a place to look for those resources if you need them, too.

I’m also attending PRACTICE the next weekend in New York, with a stop in Boston in between. My schedule is filling in, but I’m planning to work in a way to get together with the Boston and New York IF groups; if there’s something else you want to meet about, please do get in touch and I’ll see if I can work in some time. (I’ve started listing upcoming appearances on my Contact page, in case that helps.)


Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 11.38.33 AM

Stephen Colbert’s new show has an associated Twine game. With illustrations and Narnia references.


Much darker: here is an interactive graphical piece on the experience of Vietnamese refugees. It seems to be pitched at an Australian audience, providing some background for present-day Vietnamese communities in that country, but it’s interesting even if that’s not where you’re coming from. Probably best viewed with a reasonably fast internet connection, because it’s loading a lot of graphics and motion elements.


Offworld covered Never Go To Work, recent IF from the Interactive Fiction Fund (some of whose earlier works I reviewed here). The IFF has recently reached a funding level to step up its commissioning, and it’s always looking for new work as well as guest editors. If you’re more interested in being a patron than a creator, contributing to the fund gets you free access to each new supported work.


Victor Gijsbers is playing through Tom McHenry’s games: so far there’s discussion of Horse Master and Let’s Go Eat, but presumably the thread will also get to Tonight Dies the Moon.


Aaron Reed wrote about gender presentation in Hollywood Visionary — a game in which you can select your gender, your title, and your clothing/self-image separately. This includes the challenge of communicating to the player what he was doing and that all this freedom was intentional rather than buggy.


Text Adventure Time is a project for youth in the north of England to build a text adventure based in local geography, together with things they’re calling Artefakes, but which look like what we’d call feelies.



Leigh Alexander, over on Offworld, writes up a procedural moth generator.


Here’s an article about the game Never Alone as an expression of Native experience.


Microscope Explorer, now on Kickstarter, is an expansion on the tabletop storygame Microscope, which includes several variants including Microscope Union. $10 gets you a copy of the PDF rulebook, though of course there are more extensive combinations if you want to pledge more. Sam Ashwell writes the project up in detail as well.

And while we’re on the topic of currently-being-Kickstarted narrative storygames with write-ups by Sam: here’s his take on Downfall; he describes it as having one of the most effective culture-building mechanics he has yet encountered.


Hannah Nicklin wrote some game poems for the Wellcome Collection’s free play event.


Diorama Club is a super-simple, no-variables, branching-only CYOA website. I don’t think it’s necessarily easier to use than inklewriter (while being rather more restricted in what it can do), but completionists about IF systems might be interested.


The Office for Creative Research does imaginative visualizations of data sets. This is not a particularly IF-related thing, but it is really cool.

3 thoughts on “July Link Assortment”

    1. I’m afraid not, but if you wanted to start one, asking around on the intfiction.org forum might be a way to see if anyone else there wanted to meet up.

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