Hand Eye Society is hosting the 2020 WordPlay festival on November 21 and 22. The festival celebrates “the most interesting uses of writing and words in contemporary games.” The event is taking place online, and it is free to attend.
The IF Comp voting deadline is fast approaching. Players have until November 29 to vote on their favorites of this year’s games.
November 21-22 is the weekend for the 2020 WordPlay online festival.
Contest, Jams, and Festivals
Hand Eye Society is hosting its 2020 WordPlay festival on November 21 and 22. The festival celebrates “the most interesting uses of writing and words in contemporary games. Each year there will be a curated game showcase, talks by creators about the craft, and ways for the public to learn about making games.” The event is taking place online, and it is free to attend.
The submission window has closed for both IF Comp and Ectocomp 2020, but the voting period is now underway. For Ectocomp, you can cast votes on your favorite games until November 15. For IF Comp, you have until November 29 to vote.
AdvXJam (a non-ranked game jam hosted by the Adventure X Team) is coming up during the second half of the month, November 14-28. The jam focuses on story-driven games, and is open to authors at all levels of experience.
In a typical year (not this one) the AdventureX Narrative Games Convention would have been held in the UK in mid-late autumn. Because the convention this year was canceled, the AdventureX team has instead decided to host a non-ranked game jam from November 14-28. AdvXJam focuses on story-driven games (but this can be broadly and creatively interpreted) and it is open to authors at all levels of experience.
“What if you could dive into a Wikipedia rabbit hole in the year 2049 and use that information to investigatea high-profileassassination?” That’s the question asked in the premise of Neurocracy, a project by Joannes Truyens and Matei Stanca of Playthroughline. The game is currently in the early stages of development, and still needs some additional funding, if you are interested in helping it get off the ground. You can check out the preview here:
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.
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.
IntroComp has just posted a list of the winners for their 2020 contest, and you can still check out any of the titles from the now-completed inkjam 2020.
XYZZY Award finalists for 2019 have just been announced – yes, later in the year than usual, but this is an unusual year. Congratulations to all the nominees! Anyone may vote for winners, in categories from Best Story to Best Individual NPC to Best Technological Innovation. This year’s nominees include a range of parser and choice-based work, and some games — from AI Dungeon to Disco Elysium — that are neither.
Inkle is about to unveil their latest game Pendragon, slated to release on Steam on September 22. The game promises to be a character-based adventure set around the mythology of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
It’s a new Dark Age for the dead. When the Second Inquisition’s vampire hunters hacked phone lines and computer networks to expose and destroy vampires all over the world, the elders turned to undead couriers like you. For ten years, you’ve raced across the desert between cities, delivering vital information and supplies. But when an old friend reappears with a plan to disrupt the blood trade across the American Southwest, everything you’ve built starts crashing down.
Someone recently asked me about writing for audio games. I had the wonderful good fortune to be educated by Jude Kampfner, a hugely experienced producer of radio for the BBC and others.
That process was one of the most effective professional learning experiences of my career. I continue to use techniques that she taught me. She’s very interested in games as a medium, and we had many many conversations about them while we put together Game Over.
I mention this because she’s now doing some freelance coaching, editing, and feedback on audio projects, as well as some broader workshops on creative career development. She is such a resource. If you are trying to learn the craft of writing for audio and you have funds for professional development, I definitely recommend talking to her.
The “intent to enter” deadline for IFComp 2020 is just around the corner, on September 1. The entries themselves are due September 28.
IntroComp, meanwhile, has its voting come to a close at the end of August. Results will be posted on September 15. And the games from the recently-concluded inkjam 2020 are still online to play.
Celestory founder Pierre Lacombe’s recent work Writing an Interactive Story is an in-depth look at the topic of branching story-writing. The book contains interviews with David Cage, Jean-Luc Cano–among a number of other writers and storytellers–and is available from multiple sellers, including Blackwell’s and Bookshop.