October 3 is the next meeting of the SF/Bay Area IF Meetup.
A pair of Halloween-themed contests are getting underway for the month of October. The annual Saugus.Net Halloween contest is already open for entries, while Ectocomp 2020 recently announced that it would be returning this year as well. For Ectocomp, submissions will be accepted starting October 27, but now is a good time to start working on an entry.
IF Comp — the annual interactive fiction competition that has now been running for more than two decades — opens for judges very shortly, and the competition is also continuing to accept prizes and contributions to the Colossal Fund. You’re very welcome to judge and review the competition: you only need to have played five of the games to assign scores, and reviewers are encouraged to share their views on social media, blogs, or the intfiction forum.
As the competition is ongoing, you may also enjoy the coverage from the podcast Verb Your Enthusiasm, hosted on Patreon but in fact free for all to enjoy.
I wrote an audio romantic comedy piece, Matchmaker, for Zombies, Run! — it’s part of their New Adventures series of stories about subjects other than zombies. Rather than a standard meet-cute, it’s a story of a couple who have already been together for some time, and are deciding where their relationship will go next. That’s now available to Zombies, Run! players, and the Six to Start website also features an interview with me about the process of writing it, though it’s very spoilery.
While you’re over there, you may also enjoy the other New Adventures and interviews with their creators, such as the horror piece Between the Lines and the interview with its author Tom Crowley.
inkle’s Pendragon is now out, and the game is doing intriguing things to create narrative out of the player’s choices and actions during non-narrative gameplay. I discussed this topic in more depth back in January, and people who are interested in those techniques will likely want to take a look at what Pendragon is doing.
David Welbourn has released a big new walkthrough for Cragne Manor, for anyone who would like to see the whole game but was overwhelmed by the scope of the project. For background on the game itself, check out my post from when it was originally released.
Another recent release, The Year After is a story-based Gameboy game best described as an 8-bit JRPG-looking Firewatch or What Remains of Edith Finch. Author Hadrian Lin says: “the game tells an emotional tale about a family coping with a brutal winter. You walk forward and backwards in time. Seasons pass and characters age. It is an exercise in minimalism and uses the idea of player choice/accountability and a few simple movement mechanics to invoke emotion.”
The game runs in desktop or mobile web browsers and is playable in 30 minutes.
Resources & Links
Play Craft is writing articles about narrative design concepts in things that aren’t quite games; here is an article on Swipe Night, Tinder’s Choose Your Own Adventure-esque experience.