Fabricationist DeWit is not an IF Comp game, but something I stumbled across this month via Twitter. It is a lovely Twine about a fabricationist that wakes after (it is implied) apocalyptic climate change, and sets about restoring the world. I wasn’t previously familiar with the author, Jedediah Berry, but after playing the game I checked out his website and was not surprised to discover that he is an award-winning author of short stories and at least one novel.
It’s not just the writing that works here, though. Among Twine games that attempt a world model, this one offers an unusually strong sense of NPC presence. There is a character who accompanies or confronts you, challenges you on your actions, and comments on what is going on. The story as a whole is about the movement from loneliness to connection, from ignorance to understanding. The interaction recapitulates this; your environment becomes more populated, your actions stop being purely functional interactions with machines and become dialogue and social gestures.
The effect is enhanced with music and sound effects, and with beautiful backgrounds to each screen, which seem meaningful in ways you can’t put your finger on — until, eventually, you can.