Upcoming live IF Meetups and events:
May 7, 1:00 PM, the SF Bay Area IF Meetup gets together at MADE.
May 7, 2:00 PM, Baltimore/DC IF Meetup is getting together to talk about IF and then to play Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective.
May 11, 6:30 PM, Boston/Cambridge, the People’s Republic of IF gets together to talk and also to attend a presentation of student IF.
May 26, 10 AM – 1 PM, Oxford. I’m doing an Intro to IF workshop based around inklewriter. It is primarily aimed at Oxford humanities people, but I may be able to arrange for a few non-University people to attend; feel free to get in touch.
June 2-4. Feral Vector is a game design conference in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire. It’s explicitly designed to be affordable and accessible to indie/altgame types, especially those not ordinarily in reach of London events. I went last year and had a great time. This year I will be presenting, and of course will be up for chatting about narrative games in general. (Ordinarily I list events only a month or so in advance, but you should get your tickets for this sooner rather than later if you want to participate.)
Worthy Things. Choice of Games is auctioning off cameos in a few of its upcoming games; proceeds benefit homeless youth. If you’ve ever wanted to appear in a Max Gladstone story, now is your chance.
Classic IF Institutions. This month there’s a new SPAG (the article-based IF ‘zine) including an article on Clickhole adventures. SPAG is also seeking pitches and cover artists for future editions.
The XYZZY Awards are running now, and anyone familiar with IF is welcome to vote. (We’re just at the transition between first and second round voting — if you hurry, you might be able to sneak in a first-round vote to determine nominees.) In addition, the XYZZY website is running essays on last year’s nominees in each category (the “XYZZYmposium”), starting with Gabriel Murray on Best Story. Murray’s article starts with a useful enumeration of the qualities he’s personally looking for in Best Story games, which makes it useful even beyond its careful analysis of the specific pieces he covers.
If you liked my bibliography of IF history, you might also enjoy this Blind Panels podcast with Andrew Plotkin, in which he presents his own oral history of the evolution of interactive fiction. He goes into a bit more depth than I did both about his own work and how it fits into development, and about technical innovations in different periods.
I also did a bit of an overhaul on my IF community participation page. Probably still imperfect, but it is now less stuck in 2012.
New Releases. These are by no means all the new releases in the past month, just things I happen to know/have heard a reasonable amount about. TinyUtopias is an accidental game jam — I mentioned the idea on Twitter and several people immediately participated; eventually I wrote a small thing for it as well. Cat Manning has a write-up collecting the entries and explaining a bit more about the backstory.
Lynnea Glasser’s new Choice of Games piece The Sea Eternal is now available, along with a sizable developer diary. (If you’re interested in design issues around ChoiceScript stat management, as I am, she has a whole post devoted just to that.)
Elixir is a Ludum Dare Twine about trans experience by way of fantasy and monstrosity — borrowing a page from Monsterhearts — and it also incorporates its own constructed language you gradually and partially learn in the course of play.
Porpentine has a miniature museum site with exhibits that you can only view at certain times of day. (At the time of writing, it appears to be open just after midnight in Pacific time.)
Reference and Representation: An Approach to First-Order Semantics is a new parser game by Ryan Veeder, even though it sounds like the PDF of a thesis. I haven’t had a chance to play yet.
The illustrated IF game Lifestream is now available, and is an attempt to do commercial IF that emulates trad parser IF but with a button/menu-driven interface and illustrations. I haven’t played, but Hanon Ondricek has written up some impressions from the demo.
And speaking of chatbot games (as we did earlier this month), Humani is a new one playable on Facebook Messenger.