Wanting to play something Halloween-flavored this week? Can’t wait for the new Ectocomp games to turn up? Here are some suggestions:
Lethophobia (Olivia Wood and Jess Mersky) is a game of haunting and lost memories. This is one of the longer pieces in this set — it took me a couple of hours to play in full.
16 Ways to Kill a Vampire at McDonalds (Abigail Corfman, current IF Comp) is an entertaining, silly vampire-fighting game from the current IF Comp. There are a bunch of different ways to solve the game’s key puzzle (as the title implies): expect to play several times trying out different approaches.
If you’re more in the mood for science fiction-flavored horror, Tentaculon (Ned Vole, current IF Comp) is in the mode of The Axolotl Project: Researchers Do Something Extremely Foolish. I ran into a few rough spots in the implementation, but I liked what you have to do in order to deal with your situation.
Evermore (Adam Whybray and Edgar Allen Poe, current IF Comp) is a choice-based IF based on the works of Edgar Allen Poe. I wouldn’t really call it an adaptation — more pastiche, or medley. But if you feel like your IF lately has been undersupplied with italics and adjectives and exclamation points, this might be just the ticket for you. Also if you’d like to spend more time wandering Mouldering Tombs.
(True story: in sixth grade my teacher put me in a reading group that for some reason spent three months supposedly working on a diorama representation of The Pit and the Pendulum. We never completed it because we never received the promised modeling clay to make the rats. In digital literature, though, you never run out of rat-matter.)
An Evening at the Ransom Woodingdean House is a Ryan Veeder piece from earlier this year, about a docent in a historic house. It’s quietly, effectively creepy, and asks about our use and appropriation of the past. You could probably call it a ghost story if you chose. Or if you’d rather a more cheery, less scary Veeder piece, I recommend Dial C for Cupcakes, set at a Halloween party.
Open That Vein (Chandler Groover) is a 2015 Ectocomp game, but if you missed it last year, now is a chance to catch up.
Sigil Reader (Field) (verityvirtue, IF Comp currently) lets you explore the scene of mystical law enforcement gone wrong. It’s set in an alternate, magical version of Singapore, and the worldbuilding is good fun.
Three-Card Trick (Chandler Groover, Spring Thing this year) tells the story of a magic trick at a carnival. The trick is miserably simplistic; the magic is… well, I’ll leave it to you to discover. This was one of my favorite Spring Thing pieces this year.
Darkiss! Wrath of the Vampire (Marco Vallerino, multiple chapters) is a series of Italian games about a vampire waking in his tomb and then gathering power to fight his enemies. I previously wrote here about part 1, which was released in English as part of IF Comp 2015. Part 2 is now participating in IF Comp 2016, and is even more over-the-top, set in a hellscape with all kinds of demonic artifacts to collect. Many of the puzzles in Part 2 involve your vampiric ability to shape-shift, and I enjoyed trying these out. If you already played this and you loved the shape-shifting mechanic, try Transfer by Tod Levi from 2000.
The Act of Misdirection (Callico Harrison, 2004). This is an older piece, but if you like the sinister Victorian magicians flavor of Three-Card Trick, you might enjoy this one as well: both pieces put the protagonist in the role of performer of a magic trick the player doesn’t fully understand.
The Ebb and Flow of the Tide (Peter Nepstad, 2006) is a parser adaptation of a piece by Dunsany, and is more melancholy than terrifying. But if your preferred flavor is Gothic, there you go.