Mid-October Link Assortment

The big thing at the moment (as covered yesterday) is IF Comp, currently running with 79 games to play and rate. You only need to rate five to have your vote count, though, so please don’t be daunted by the size of the pool if you’d like to judge. We need more judges this year, not fewer!

October 21, probably, the London IF meetup plays Comp games. I say “probably” because nailing down the venue has taken more running around than I hoped.

As it has for many years, the Saugus.Net Halloween story contest accepts IF submissions as well as static ones. Submissions are due October 22.

October 23, the People’s Republic of IF meets in Cambridge.

Ectocomp is a traditional Halloween IF competition, with games due October 31.

November 4 is the next meeting of the San Francisco Bay area IF Meetup.

November 9, Hello Words meets in Nottingham to write IF.

AdventureX is coming November 11-12 at Goldsmiths in London. The event schedule is here.


If, somehow, the nearly 80 games released for IF Comp aren’t enough for you, you might also be interested in:


Thaumistry: In Charm’s Way. Bob Bates Kickstarted this classic-style parser game, and it’s now available:

Thaum: (noun). A unit of magical energy
Bodge: (verb). To hack or kludge

Eric Knight was a child prodigy who was featured on the cover of Invent! Magazine at the age of 13 for his invention of an anti-stain chemical treatment.

Unfortunately, he hasn’t invented anything since and now, at the age of 23, he has a strong case of imposter syndrome. He feels like a failure…

Andrew Plotkin has written up his impressions of this game as well.


Screen Shot 2017-10-14 at 5.32.57 PM.png

Trackless is sort of a cross between graphical adventure and text parser experience: you move through a visually realized world, but sometimes to interact with things you have to click on those things and type an appropriate verb. Usually, only one verb is correct, and typing the wrong one gets you the terse discouragement “NOPE”.

I wasn’t sure what this was gaining. Why not just treat a click as USE if there’s only one thing you can do with this item? It’s not like guessing the verb was the fun part of parser IF back in the day, except in special cases. (It does claim that you get more points for using more imaginative verbs or not repeating yourself, so flexing your synonyms may be a useful strategy. But at the same time, it doesn’t seem like it’s mostly a wordplay game, per se.) So it feels like Trackless keeps the least appealing thing about parser IF but dispenses with the richness of control, world model subtlety, and textual descriptions.

That said, I did not play the whole thing. It may be that the verb choice gets more interesting later.

5 thoughts on “Mid-October Link Assortment”

  1. Hi, Emily. Great to see that these IF meetups are happening in various places. Is there, anywhere, a directory of in-person IF clubs around the world? I’d love to see if there’s anything closer to me than London.

    1. I don’t know of any central directory, but I do list everything I know of. Where are you? The Nottingham meetup is an option, and I think a few people have occasionally discussed doing something in Edinburgh, though I don’t know if it came to anything. We also did one spinoff meeting in Cambridge once.

      1. I’m afraid London is probably the best of those options for me: I am out in the wilds of Gloucestershire, in the Forest of Dean. The nearest cities worthy of the name are Gloucester, Cardiff and Bristol.

  2. Thanks for playing Trackless Emily! I agree that having different outcomes for different verbs would improve the game a lot. I personally really enjoy using the exact right word, so that is what the game is about. I like the feeling of involvement that comes when you think of the verb and type it. That said, I can understand that it’s not for everyone!

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