Mid-June Link Assortment

Events

July 2 the SF Bay IF Meetup gets together at 1 PM.

July 3, the Oxford/London Meetup has a WIP exchange meeting in Oxford. We keep a low ceiling on attendance for these because we don’t have time or room to go into too many games in detail in one afternoon, but waitlist spots do sometimes open up, so feel free to sign up if you’re interested.

Further in the future, there are a couple events that might take some planning to get to:

Felicity Banks is organizing an IF writers’ get-together in Melbourne in September.

September 10-11, Guildford, UK, the Always the Sun festival will feature a crowdsourced interactive fiction project.

Competitions and Jams

Once again the Future of Storytelling Prize is awarding $10K. To me, it looks likely to favor fairly glossy, video-like projects over traditional IF or games, but I suppose you never know.

Much sooner and with much lower stakes, Bring Out Your Dead opens for entries June 18. This is an opportunity to share unfinished, abandoned or experimental work that you think others in the IF community might like to know about.

If your WIP is more alive than dead, on the other hand, you might be interested in Introcomp, a competition for the opening sections of non-commercial IF works. Introcomp has been running for fourteen years now, and offers a chance to get some early player feedback about how well your hook is working, what is promising or otherwise about the gameplay, etc.

New Releases

I released a small parser puzzle game set in the universe of Brain Guzzlers from Beyond! called The Mary Jane of Tomorrow. If you like procedural text generation and/or fanfic of existing IF works, it might interest you.

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Teviot is a Twine piece by Hannah Nicklin that came out in May, but I didn’t hear about it then. It’s about (among other things) demographics and daily life and the history and present of unionization in one of the poorer bits of the UK.

Kevin Gold (Choice of Robots) has a new ancient-history-themed game out, Choice of Alexandria. I haven’t checked it out yet, but approve the theme.

Simon Christiansen’s wordplay puzzle IF PataNoir is now available on Steam, complete with an updated interface and illustrations.

Crowdfunding

Speaking of procedural text, Failbetter announced the first five games to be funded by Fundbetter, including Voyageur by IF author Bruno Dias. Voyageur goes deep into procedural text territory, with procgen descriptions of locations, governments, and cultures: something to watch for people who are into those sorts of topics. I’m excited to see what will come of this.

The Armchair Detective Company has an indiegogo campaign to make three mysteries with feelies-style evidence delivered in a box. These look like serious puzzle games — more so than, say, deliveries from the Mysterious Package Company.

Related Experiences

Amelia Granger writes about a sort of treasure hunt/interactive story experience at Disneyland, mediated by a special phone app.

Articles

Eric Kaltman has a long, detailed article about current challenges in game archiving and preservation.

This is something that I think about from time to time, and not just because my games Bee and Blood & Laurels are currently unplayable. Historically the IF community has actually done really well on this front, archiving thousands of games on the IF Archive, but many of the things that represent strength and growth recently are also simultaneously challenges to archiving and preservation. More games are being created in more places, and on more different systems! They have a wider variety of user interfaces! This is a sign of a healthy ecosystem in a lot of ways, but it means that those materials may be more fragile, more likely to be lost. If Failbetter took down StoryNexus, what would happen to those games? If philome.la went down? inklewriter?

Not everything needs to be archived (in my view). Some things are intentionally ephemeral, and that’s a valid thing to do with your art. But I worry about the preservation fate of many projects that were meant to last but that are just stored in a precarious way.

Meanwhile, this article from Kirkus Reviews talks about the challenge of undermining assumptions of whiteness, and whether it’s useful to name the races of characters under discussion in books. We are much more likely to see “The protagonist is a young African-American boy” than “The protagonist is a young white boy,” and that fact speaks to our linguistic defaults.

3 thoughts on “Mid-June Link Assortment

    • For a long time in the U.S. (though largely before my time) it was common for white people to address black men as “boy.” This was incredibly insulting and disrespectful; Roland S. Martin has a piece on it, which mentions that this is part of the reason why the black sanitation workers on a strike led by Martin Luther King would wear signs saying “I am a man.”

      So “boy” has been used as a slur against black people but not against white people–that’s why “white boy” isn’t particularly charged compared to “black boy,” as I understand it.

      • OK, that makes sense. But Ms Short doesn’t avoid the ‘boy’ as such: “The protagonist is a young African-American boy”. Maybe it is the combination with ‘black’ that gives ‘boy’ the negative connotation.
        I had also understood that ‘black’ in itself is to be avoided as an indicator of genetic heritage, whereas ‘white’ is (still) OK – but I see you use it (in “black people”), so I am probably wrong there.

        Getting a feeling for the ever-shifting landscape of euphemisms that take over the negative connotations of what they replace and then need replacement themselves is hard – especially in a foreign language.

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