The Mystery of Skull Island for Teacart 1K

Teacart 1K was a game jam I participated in a while ago. It used the Sharecart save format– a shared save file which all jam games read from together. Editing values on the save file with ONE game may affect all the other games in interesting ways!

You can play all the Teacart games together using this loader.

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Our game, The Mystery of Skull Island, is a loving “homage” to Fallen London, an excellent browser-based interactive fiction game which you should definitely go play. Like Fallen London, Skull Island uses a card-based decision tree structure. Each “turn” in Skull Island draws random event cards from one of three different “decks.” Each card contains several thematically-related actions– sometimes they’re different solutions to the same problem, but other times they’re just “a bunch of stuff you can do in this place/time/with this person.”

I’ve always like the freewheeling attitude that Fallen London has toward players’ purposes and goals. You can’t easily “set out” to do stuff in the card deck. The cards just fall, and you explore their hidden crannies and opportunities as you see fit. It very effectively simulates the feeling of living in a place, of passing time in a world bigger than you. In most RPGs, you are the master of your own fate, but in Fallen London, you are merely a denizen of a city much more complicated and dense than you could ever hope to master. When you really surrender to the writing and the setting, the experience of playing can be very cool. There’s a feeling of endless possibility every time you encounter a new card. (Unfortunately, the dark side of this philosophy is that you end up doing a lot of “story grinding” to unlock certain kinds of new content. It’s not for everyone.)

Skull Island basically copies this attitude toward player agency– you only get three cards at a time, and most of them are just menus of different weird little activities and dumb little jokes tangentially related to one another by a common location or character. You may discover endings as you go, and choose either to explore or ignore them. You may load up a Sharecart file that already has all the endings unlocked! Who knows?

The Mystery of Skull Island project was led and coded by Jim Crawford. The art is by Rachel Sala and the music is by Ryan Ike.


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