We were delighted to host a showcase of exciting, innovative, and unusual IF games as part of WordPlay London.
These games were selected for showcase from an excellent pool of applications. The selection jury was: Sarah Cole, Liz England, Gary Green, Jerry Jenkins, Merritt Kopas, Andrew Plotkin, John Rathiganthan,Jo Summers, Kaitlin Tremblay, Stella Wisdom , and Robert Yang.
The following games were on display and free to play at the British Library during WordPlay:
A Normal Lost Phone
A Normal Lost Phone is a game about exploring the intimacy of an unknown person whose phone was found by the player. The game takes the shape of a narrative investigation: you have to search the phone’s text messages, pictures and applications, in order to learn about its former owner. Through this phone, you uncover Sam’s life, friends, family and relationships, until the evening when they turn 18 and mysteriously disappear.
Carlos Ramírez, Isabel Cano, Carlos G. Gurpegui, Samuel Fiunte
Apartment 613 is a hybrid between interactive fiction and hypertext game. Inspired by games like Gods Will Be Watching, and Cormac McCarthy's novel The Road, the piece recreates a post-apocalyptic setting and sense of isolation and abandonment. You play as Verne, a girl who doesn't know anything about the world outside where she and her parents live. You'll have to help them survive as many days as possible by gathering information and deciding how much to place your trust in one of the uncanny delivery persons who supply food to the tenants in the building.
Arcane Intern (Unpaid)
Getting coffee, making copies, tampering with powers beyond your control. You know, normal intern things. Now if only you were getting paid for it… First released during the 2015 Interactive Fiction Competition
Brendan Patrick Hennessy, Izzy Marbella
A young adult text adventure about falling in love, coming to terms with who you are, and saving your entire summer camp from weird alien bird monsters.
Robin Johnson (with thanks to Chandler Groover and Luke Jones for testing, and to Eve)
Draculaland is a comic puzzle game based loosely on Bram Stoker’s vampire classic, in which you explore Transylvania with the goal of defeating Count Dracula, creating an experience as close to a classic text adventure game as possible, without the need for typing, so that it would be more accessible and playable on mobile devices. Another game made with the same engine, Detectiveland, was entered in the 2016 Interactive Fiction Competition.
Emily Is Away
Sign in again.
Remember a time before Facebook and Skype? When Windows XP was the next big thing and AIM was king. Relive that era with Emily is Away, an interactive story. Create a screenname and browse buddy infos in this chat-bot meets adventure game. Explore your relationship with Emily, a fellow high school student, in a branching narrative where you choose the outcome. And most importantly, change your text color to lime green so everyone knows you're the coolest kid in school.
Arzamas academy, The British Council
Emoji Shakespeare – made exactly As You Like It! The best way to get to know Shakespeare. Just fill in blanks in famous quotes of the great poet and playwright with emoji. 20 plays, more than 50 challenges, over 500 emoji. Supported by The British Council. The app is part of the global Shakespeare Lives programme.
Use your keyboard and natural language recognition to build a relationship with our AI in this one of a kind atmospheric exploration game. Apart from it's unique retro-futuristic setting and detective story, Event offers you a new take on both interaction and narrative. The AI is alive, it is a character with its own fears and anxieties, a dark past and a darker future that you might just get a glimpse of.
Far From Noise
George Batchelor, Geoff Lentin
Far from Noise is a single-player narrative set on the edge of a cliff overlooking a vast ocean. You are a 20 year-old woman stuck, balanced precariously over the edge of a cliff in an old rusting car. The sun is gradually disappearing behind the horizon and the blanket of night will soon fall. Through a strange conversation you can attempt to discover your reasons for coming out there, your relationship with nature and if you'll make it out alive.
Gavin Inglis, Scribble Imp and Stephen Redman
Something is bothering Hana. Can you work out what it is? Take the role of four important people in her life, and guide their conversations. Then peek into Hana’s journal to see the effects of your words. Supported by New Media Scotland’s Alt-w fund, with investment from the Scottish Government.
Cat Manning, Kerstin Hall
It’s the end of the world, and there’s something after you. In the midst of an alien invasion, protect your memories, preserve lingering connections with your loved ones, and decide what you’re willing to sacrifice.
Laid Off from the Synesthesia Factory
Laid Off from the Synesthesia Factory is a work of interactive fiction, inspired by parser-based storytelling experiments such as Andrew Plotkin's The Space Under the Window and recent experiments in fragmentary static fiction such as Jennifer Egan's "Black Box," Jenny Offill's Dept. of Speculation and Mary Robison's Why Did I Ever. It was nominated for three XYZZY Awards in 2015, winning Best Use of Innovation.
Play as a jester in a duel to the death with a countess at a masquerade. This game features violence, sex, profanity, and sausage. Don’t worry if you die; it’s part of the story and carries no penalty. Midnight. Swordfight. placed third in the 2015 Interactive Fiction Competition and was nominated for six XYZZY Awards, winning Best Implementation.
A game about technology, magic and becoming a person. Open Sorcery is text-based. It follows the development of an elemental firewall. A creature of magical fire bound by C++ code. In this game you can: Search for malicious spirits; Protect your network; Make friends; Burn everything; Learn; Dream; Become sapient. There are 45,000 words of text, five animated sequences, eighteen achievements to pursue, and eight possible endings.
Help Leon through his night-time getaway in this surprising gamebook! Swap the words of the story to transform Leon's destiny, solve riddles and unravel 30 alternative endings! A game for all ages, to explore alone or together - ideal for a shared parent-child experience. Leon is a brave little boy with only one thing on his mind: growing up, as quickly as possible! Transform Leon's tale by cleverly exchanging the words of his story! Solve riddles in a way you've never seen before, change the course of his destiny and help him live extraordinary adventures! Will you outwit the game and unravel Leon's story out of the thirty alternative endings?
Claris Cyarron, Lucas J.W. Johnson, Ken Glass, Megan Furesz
Tectr is a short, pun-filled text adventure game by Silverstring Media about #ThirstyArchitecture, and casual sex with buildings. Find your matches, see if you're compatible, and hook up with some feisty real estate. Tectr was made during the 2016 Global Game Jam and is definitely NSFW and adults-only! Tectr is a satirical look at contemporary dating apps and sexuality. It’s also earnest erotica; we were a bit surprised by how readily the settings and structures of our contemporary life eroticize themselves. Architecture is a container for desires that have nothing to do with shelter. While reducing those desires to sex is crude and more than a bit Freudian, it turned out to be instructive, exposing the desires for self-actualisation that we project onto our built environment, as well as the ways the built environment is used to project social pressure or desire onto us.
Text quest is a first person text-based adventure for PC, Mac and Linux where the entire world is made of words. Trees are the word "tree," clouds are the word "cloud," and giant spiders- well, you get the idea. Travel from dark forests to colossal caves as you solve puzzles and embark on a literal text quest!
Daniel Gallagher, Nathan Gallardo
Trawl is a first person experiential game of discovery and creativity, and can be seen as a writing prompt, with you playing the role of sea-bound detective. How you choose to interpret and record the results are up to you. First you must figure out how to operate the various parts of the boat, manipulating the wheel, throttle and the net. Then, trawl the sea to discover what secrets are hidden in its depths and record your findings on your typewriter. The sea has many stories to tell, and will reward multiple voyages.
Mauro Vanetti, Emanuele Klemp, Tommaso Annoni, figuredisfondo, Tania Ziegler, Phoebe Revolta
Two people are unemployed. They are going to be interviewed today and if they manage to make a good impression they will get the job. The questions are the same, the answers are the same, but the interviewees are not the same: one is Martin, a man, the other one is Irene, a woman. Should it make any difference? This is a "playable leaflet" about the gender gap.
2016 Inspired by the life of devoted writers Typoman takes you on a journey to explore the Power of Words in the everlasting battle between good and evil. You slip into the role of a character made of letters, struggling to make your way through a dark and hostile world. Despite your small stature you have a powerful gift: You can craft words which will have an effect on the environment. But choose your words wisely - they can either be a blessing ...or a curse!
Wheels of Aurelia
Wheels of Aurelia is a narrative road trip game set in the roaring Italian 70s, it tells the story of Lella, a restless woman driving on the roads of the western coast of Italy, the famous “Via Aurelia”. This is an interactive fiction game in the shape of an isometric racer and with a focus on replayability: every playthrough lasts about fifteen minutes and there are sixteen different endings to discover. The 1970s in Italy were a time of terrorism, kidnappings, and political turmoil. Based on your choices and the places you'll decide to visit you may end up in car chases, illegal street races, or in tense debates with a catholic priest, and more from a cast of characters that you have never met before in a video game.
When Acting As A Particle
David T. Marchand
A person full of uncertainty has to make a decision that will affect the future for a lot of people.
Which Passover Plague Are You?
Which Passover Plague Are You? is an interactive narrative and performance game in which players travel the cosmos to complete a cosmic quiz with God in order to transform into a vessel for his righteous revenge.
The Wild Eternal
The Wild Eternal is a first-person adventure game about an old woman trying to escape the cycle of rebirth, whose only hope for liberation is an outcast and unraveling demigod.
Joost Vandecasteele and Happy Volcano
Winter is a colourful but deeply disturbing narrative exploration game about a one second world where everybody who dies in the same second ends up. The player is confronted with different death moments of other people, presented as puzzles to be solved. The circumstances of their death have influence on the look of feel of these moments, from lovingly and peaceful to pure violence. The texts appearing with these images enhance the mystery. The protagonist tries to understand the bizarre world of Winter through linking her own foggy memories with her own death. The camera viewpoint is an homage to the classic roleplaying games. We chose to show one isometric tile on the screen at a time. As a player you’ll never see the whole world, but only one detail or snapshot. This forces the player to experience the game world on a micro level, but at the same time know that there is the bigger universe. This astonishing feel fits with the experiences of the main character and thus in turn reinforces the concept.
Word After Word
Word After Word is the beginning of an exploration into games that use massive natural language datasets. These datasets, used in linguistic research, are becoming increasingly popular, large, and freely available. In Word After Word, players are given the same randomly generated series of adjectives one at a time. For each adjective, the player must type a noun that commonly follows it (e.g. fast CAR). The player is then given a score based on how often their noun follows the given adjective in a dataset compiled from over a half a billion words taken from magazines, tv, and books. By accepting and proportionally scoring hundreds (and in some cases thousands) of correct answers, Word After Word shows the potential for a different type of word game, where players are rewarded for thinking naturally about common usage and context.
Move slowly, question your assumptions. You are a rock is an unconventional text-based rpg - you play as a rock, buried deep beneath the ground. It's about geology, logic, and learning how to program. It's written in python, using the curses library, and is open source at https://github.com/ana0/youarearock.