IF Comp 2015: Midnight. Swordfight. (Chandler Groover)

The 21st annual Interactive Fiction Competition is currently on, through mid-November. Voting is open to the general public; the only prerequisite is that you not be an author, not vote on games that you tested, and submit votes on at least five games. (You emphatically do not have to have played them all! In a year with 55 entrants, it is very unlikely that most judges will get through anywhere near all of them.)

If you are looking for other reviews, this ifwiki page contains a list of places currently carrying them.

Midnight Swordfight cover Midnight. Swordfight. is a parser game with an experimental world model, many possible outcomes, some puzzly aspects that nonetheless don’t make the game too horribly hard, and really delicious writing. It is the work of Chandler Groover, who has been prolific this year, with Toby’s Nose and Down, the Serpent and Sun and another game in this very competition, not to mention Tailypo in the October lineup of Sub-Q magazine. It took me only about 15-20 minutes to reach one possible outcome for the game, but I didn’t want to stop at that point, and played to others, for a total of about an hour and a half of play time. It is aggressively non-linear.

Note that despite its playfulness, low-difficulty design, and use of animal costumes, this game is not what is generally meant by “suitable for children”. Indeed, it is graphic in ways that some adults may find not their thing. I didn’t feel that these were gratuitous in context, and I wasn’t offended by them; but since I’m about to praise this game and encourage willing folks to play it, I feel like I should hang a bit of a warning up first. Regard the references to sex and violence in the blurb as R/NC-17 level content warnings, not PG-13.

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