Earlier this year, I participated in the Imaginary Games Jam, an interactive fiction game jam where creators make games based on prompts which are reviews of nonexistent games. It’s a very cool premise and I liked it a lot!
My game is Our Bleak-Ass Writing Competition At The Ragged Verge Of Spacetime, a collaborative/competitive party game where players have to pretend to be 19th century authors trapped writing a story together at the end of the world.
The game is not designed to be particularly replayable; it is designed to reflect the fact that I thought the prompt sounded like a completely horrific and terrible experience. I think that was the prompt-writer’s intention; I found that misery very funny, and I wanted to create a game that was as horrible to play as the situation the prompt described would have been mind-destroyingly frustrating to live through.
The result is a game where players must shout words at each other along with the beats of a metronome, without stopping, until they all agree on what they want to write. They have conflicting goals, which makes it even more miserable.
You can find both the jam download and the updated version of the game here.
Emily Short wrote about the game here, and also talked about the prompt I wrote for the game Sub Way. I was extremely proud of all five prompts that I wrote. I may post them on this blog at some point in the future. They were pretty damn great, if I do say so myself.
I’ve been griping about Six Months since the beginning of time and I’ve never showed more than about 8 people a single scrap of the actual goddamn game.
Time to fix that!
Head here to play the prologue and first month of Six Months.
Head here to download the twine source file and a local copy of the demo.
From the demo’s About page:
Six Months is an interactive novel about family, power, revenge, and faking it until you make it. I consider it an anti-Game-of-Thrones: it’s a fantasy story where nobody is a genius schemer, nobody’s titillating cruelty looks even the least bit cool, and the grand wars and gestures of “epic” adventure have realistically fucked-up consequences.
Six Months has numerous choices and will have more than three unique endings, but I don’t consider it to be a story “about choice.” It’s more about the ways I can use its unusual, color-based “grammar” to make the reading experience itself interactive. Hypertext lets me mess with meaning, timing, and emphasis in ways that normal text does not.
I’ve been working on Six Months for over two years. Its current version contains over 85,000 words. It takes most readers about four hours to read through months 1-4. (I am currently writing Month 5.)
My goal is to eventually release Six Months as part of an interactive story collection with several other tales from the same fantasy world, some of which use different “text mechanics.” It will be a primarily tablet-focused experience, with additional releases on PC and Mac.
How long will it take me to finish? I have no fucking clue. I have a day job. It’s a significant portion of my free time, though, and has been since 2014.