Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Why Text Adventures on Mobile Devices are Important

At IndieCade, the number one comment I got on Blue Lacuna, by far, was:

"This would be really cool if you could play it on an [iPad/iPhone/Kindle]. I could see myself playing something like this that way."

How delightful that there is a KickStarter project going on right now to realize this possibility.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Brenda Brathwaite at IndieCade

I had a wonderful time at IndieCade in Culver City last weekend, and it was great to have Blue Lacuna participate as a finalist. I'll have some more things to say about the festival and reactions to my game later in the week, but I wanted to first devote a post to what was, for me, the best moment of the weekend.

Saturday afternoon I attended a keynote address by Brenda Brathwaite. Most recently in the news for last year's controversial game Train, Brenda spoke about the larger series of games it's part of, "The Mechanic is the Message," which explores human tragedy on both personal and stunningly epic scales. Starting with a joke that "tragedy in most games is not having enough hit points," Brenda moved on to speak about the power games can have to move us emotionally, and connect us to stories and histories through simulation and reenactment. Originating with a desire to help her daughter understand that the slave trade was not just about "black people going on a cruise," Brenda has spent several years crafting a series of games and meta-games exploring the systems behind violence perpetuated on groups of people, saying "wherever there is human on human tragedy, there is always a system." In the same way we can understand a system of urban planning by playing SimCity, Brenda wants to make games that help us understand the pervasive systems of exploitation, coercion and complicity behind genocides and removals, and how individuals who think of themselves as moral can get caught up in these systems to perform acts of terrible immorality. The talk was incredibly powerful, and led to a lot of self-reflection on my own projects and ideas for future work.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Blue Lacuna at IndieCade

The 2010 IndieCade International Festival of Independent Games is getting underway today in Los Angeles, California. Blue Lacuna is a finalist, along with some amazing other games, and I'm very excited to be here to participate.

If you're in the L.A. area and want to stop by, check out the "Game Walk," open Saturday and Sunday, where you can play the 32 finalist games. It's free and open to the public. The games are spread out between several venues in Culver City, near the intersection of Culver and Main. Blue Lacuna is at the WWA Gallery, 9517 Culver Blvd. Check out the IndieCade site for further details.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Experiment 2

This is the second in a series of experiments about interesting, little-explored story spaces made possible with Inform 7. I posted the first experiment a few months back.

Click through to read the literate source of the experiment first, then try playing it in your browser, or altering it in your local copy of Inform 7.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Reviews

I'm sure you're getting sick of hearing about it, but I wanted to note that some great reviews of Creating Interactive Fiction with Inform 7 have popped up online in the past few weeks. One's greatest fear when working on a book like this is that it's going to be too obtuse, or conversely too dumbed down, to be useful. It's been wonderful to hear that people seem to be enjoying the book and finding it a useful resource for learning Inform 7.

One place without any reviews yet is the book's Amazon page. If any past or future reviewers have an account there and wouldn't mind posting your thoughts (perhaps on a break from reviewing comp games?) it would be a much-appreciated way to help me a little with the book's promotion.