Kill Screen #2 is coming out!

The Back to School issue, extensively discussing the ground between education and games, is now available to order. It includes an article by me, on teaching and designing; the discussion covers the IF game Voices of Spoon River among its examples. I’m also looking forward to the articles on Oregon Trail and Assassin’s Creed II, among others.

For those not already familiar with it, Kill Screen is an on-paper in-print magazine with high production values that looks great on the shelf. It talks about games in depth beyond the numerical scores, and is edited with dedication, insight, and tremendous raw persistence by Chris Dahlen. Seriously. Guy is not kidding around.

Act 1 of Clockwords is out

Clockwords is a casual wordplay/defense game by Gabob, for which I contributed story content. It’s coming out in acts. Act 1 is now available, with more of the story, more kinds of letters, and various gameplay refinements. For those who played the prologue version, there’s now a more staged structure to the gameplay, and no microtransactions are required. (Yay! I don’t like microtransactions.)

Hard mode is really genuinely hard, too, which leads to more interesting tactical play.

Alabaster status

GothPrincessesCurrently there’s a release 3 available here. Release 3 addresses several bugs and adds new vocabulary for certain actions. It also plays significantly faster on slow machines, especially under Windows.

(I haven’t built a Windows installers for this yet, so that installer still contains release 1. I’ll update that when I have a chance.) (All the installers now contain release 3.)

Jay is Games kindly carried a review. There’s also a discussion on the Legendary blog (which covers various forms of mythical creature) on the game’s premise. (Image by Claire Beauchamp.)

Official Release


The Queen has told you to return with her heart in a box. Snow White has made you promise to make other arrangements. Now that you’re alone in the forest, it’s hard to know which of the two women to trust. The Queen is certainly a witch — but her stepdaughter may be something even more horrible…

There are some eighteen possible endings to this fairy tale.

Some of them are even almost happy.

A fractured fairy tale by John Cater, Rob Dubbin, Eric Eve, Elizabeth Heller, Jayzee, Kazuki Mishima, Sarah Morayati, Mark Musante, Emily Short, Adam Thornton, & Ziv Wities.

Illustrated by Daniel Allington-Krzysztofiak.

Available now from

(Changed because the old site went over its traffic allowance.)

Please note — as the site also points out — that you’ll want the latest available Glulx interpreter to play (Git 1.2.4 for Windows, Zoom 1.1.4 for Mac). Alabaster is processing-intensive and makes use of the latest Inform optimizations.

Another warning: some of the comments here get spoilery.

Russian Metamorphoses release

Thanks to Vsevolod Zoubarev, there is now a Russian translation of Metamorphoses. I find this very exciting, though I cannot actually read a word of it myself…

To pass along the links from his email, in case anyone wants to try it:

Link to the archive with the game, short manual and the options.txt file
Link to the entry on the translator’s blog (in Russian)
Discussion on the local IF forum (which I can sort of make out with Google Translate…)


A very short-short, not-very-game-like piece of mine has been published at Up Right Down. URD is all about retellings of the same story, so fugue won’t make much sense unless you read the basic plot and instructions. This one isn’t particularly directed at the IF community — it’s intentionally tiny, puzzle-less, and unresponsive to most of the standard IF verbs. But the story struck me as something I could work with and the constraints resonated well with the conversation-system experiments I was doing, and it all just kind of gelled.

I’ve always been a sucker for multiple tellings of the same story anyway.

It’s also an early application of Flaxo, a program I am liking more and more. I have had some trouble running ZMPP et al from my mindspring site, but Flaxo works fine. I’m not ready to use it to host longer games yet, since it doesn’t yet let the player restart and restore — but for something that’s only half a dozen moves or so to start with, that’s less of a problem. And Flaxo looks quite pretty as browser-based IF interpreters go.