August 5 is the next SF Bay Area IF Meetup. The proposed agenda is to look at the games released for Introcomp this year.
August 7 is the deadline to apply as an exhibitor at November’s AdventureX. This is an application to demonstrate your game(s) at a table during a two-day narrative games conference in London. Both textual and graphical games would be suitable; you will need some kind of working demo to apply, even if it’s not finished.
August 10, Nottingham, UK, the Hello Words IF writing group meets at the National Videogame Arcade.
August 17, Cambridge, MA is the next meeting of PR-IF, the people’s republic of interactive fiction.
August 14-17, Cape Cod, MA is the Foundation of Digital Games conference, including a workshop in procedural content generation. The PCG workshop has a theme this year:
What do our generators say about the underlying systems we have designed and the designers who create them? Our theme aims to explore the biases inherent in PCG and the potential with which to subvert it.
I found out about this one a little too late to include it in my list of paying opportunities in IF, but the Hand Eye Society is looking for IF authors to be artists-in-residence in Toronto, and is paying $50/hour for the person(s) selected.
Felicity Banks’ “And Their Souls Were Eaten,” published by Tin Man games, is now complete at 380,000 words; the app in question has now been named Choices That Matter. The app can also be used to access two other stories: “And the Sun Went Out”, and a new piece called “And Their Heroes Were Lost” by Phill Berrie.
Veteran parser author Christopher Huang (Muse, Sunday Afternoon, An Act of Murder, and the Peterkin mysteries) has written a Choice of Games piece called The Hero Unmasked, which looks to be a superheroic romp with twins and mistaken identities.
Meanwhile in the Hosted Games category, Lewis Manalo has released The Spy and the Labyrinth, a story told entirely through documents and journal entries (an unusual format for Choice of Games pieces). The premise involves an archaeologist from Miskatonic University lost in the Amazon. Given Lovecraft’s well-known racism and poor handling of indigenous cultures — and the way that sometimes comes through in other writing in the Lovecraftian tradition — I’m cautious about that premise. On the other hand, CoG as a brand works intentionally to avoid sending racist messages in the works they create or host, and I feel like the editors there would flag a work if it were displaying those tendencies. So I’m not entirely sure what to expect here, and haven’t had a chance to read it yet.
Reviews, Play Reports, and Post-Mortems
craiglocke/mathbrush has completed a year-by-year retrospective on IF Comp, identifying trends and influences in each year. The sequence makes a useful comparison point for some of the other histories of the amateur IF scene. Here they all are linked: 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
If you’re looking for more reviews on gamebooks and interactive fiction apps, Gamebook News covers them. Among other things, they have recent in-depth review of Nocked!, and an interview with Cubus Games, who made The Frankenstein Wars. Gamebook News’ back collection of articles also includes coverage on Choice of Games and inkle works among others.
Bruno Dias writes for Waypoint about themes of imprisonment and escape in Bronze, Spider and Web, and howling dogs.
Touch Arcade profiles a few popular mobile interactive fiction pieces.
Adam Cadre’s Radio K podcast takes on three new games: Finding Martin (Gayla Wennstrom), A New Life (Alexandre Owen Muniz), and Chancellor (Kevin Venzke).
Jon Ingold and Meg Jayanth talk about writing for 80 Days in this recording.
Lucian Smith has a particularly powerful three-part play report from a session playing the LARP “Storm Cellar,” about how the story’s themes intersected with his own life.
XYZZY 2016 award results are out: congratulations to best game winner Superluminal Vagrant Twin by CEJ Pacian.
The Independent Games Festival is open for submissions. Typically interactive fiction, especially pure text IF, doesn’t do particularly well in the IGF, which is a large, pay-to-enter competition with many other entrants. But there are a few pieces that have picked up visibility this way.
Related Articles and Writing
Julian Togelius offers advice for journalists writing about artificial intelligence. The article provides some good perspective even for people who aren’t writing articles, but just want to some context for all the reports they’re seeing in the news.
Perhaps you will enjoy this Markovian tumblr about programming plus the KJV.
2 thoughts on “End of July Link Assortment”
After an exchange of emails, Emily has invited me to comment here on her mention of my IF game “The Spy and the Labyrinth.” Basically, as a person of color, I was surprised that someone who had admittedly not read my interactive novel would speculate that my work might be racist.
Ironically, my allusions to Lovecraft and Joseph Conrad are part of my attempt at subverting some of the expectations of the exotic that are rooted in colonial literature. I spent several years producing documentaries shot in South America. We spent time with indigenous Ticuna families, and we visited areas affected by the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam. When I first began developing “The Spy and the Labyrinth” a year ago, my goal was to use sci-fi IF to addresses the contemporary and historical issues affecting the region.
I would be happy if readers simply enjoy the adventure in “The Spy and the Labyrinth,” but I have attempted to write a mature and literary IF game. I understand that Lovecraft’s racism has been mentioned on the blog before, but I would appreciate it if you gave “The Spy and the Labyrinth” an honest read rather than judging it by the dead author mentioned in the blurb.