Code 7, a sci-fi text adventure that aims to inject fear into your mind

There’s a scene in Alien (1979) when Nostromo captain Arthur Dallas climbs into the ship’s tangled air ducts to seek out the Xenomorph on-board. The crew, looking on from a computer terminal, sees only two dots on a map—Dallas and the Xenomorph—until the tracking system malfunctions, and neither Dallas nor the crew have any clue how close or how far the alien is from him. Dallas waits in panicked silence while the rest of the team manages the glitch.  All of a sudden, it’s too late. Code 7 uses a similar approach to explore the terrifying nature of the unseen.…


TextureWriter might be the best interactive fiction tool for beginners

Header image by Paul Downey An announcement on Twitter last week revealed a new piece of software called TextureWriter, which supposedly makes creating interactive fiction easier than ever. Joining other IF (interactive fiction) tools like Twine and Inform, TextureWriter offers a different and more intuitive way to navigate through a story. Like Twine and Inform, TextureWriter doesn’t require any coding knowledge to create a story. But it also incorporates a much more user-friendly interface than the others, using a simple click and drag button prompt called an “interaction word.” Interactive fiction simulates environments where players can choose different paths for characters,…


Sunless Sea director’s next game is all about crafting new, cultish words

In what he is entitling “devlog zero,” Alexis Kennedy—former CEO of interactive fiction developer Failbetter Games and creative director of the astounding Sunless Sea (2015)—has announced his newest project: Cultist Simulator. Kennedy describes the project as follows: “Cultist Simulator is AdVenture Capitalist meets single-player Fallen London meets Doodle God, set in the NOON world that I’m going to build my next game in.” It’s a crafting game for English language nerds, allowing you the ability to combine words by their meaning into new words that take elements of the old and incorporate them into a wholly new product. At its…


A cyberpunk text adventure explores life outside of the gender binary

“Well, here we are again,” NUGK tell me. The last time I was here, TODN was saying the exact same thing. Usernames here, including my own, are made up of a mixture of four letters, shifting each time. The post-apocalyptic world is dark, fashioned only with unnerving sounds and dimly lit text. This is the world of  _transfer. Selected as part of IndieCade 2016, _transfer, developed by Hyacinth Nil and written by Reed Lewis, of the newly-formed Abyssal Studio, tackles uncomfortable issues of identity and memory. _transfer’s post-apocalyptic theme is more than just a stylistic choice Using a DOS-like interface, the player interacts…

Katamari Adventure

Katamari Damacy gets rolled up into a text adventure

Game designer Keita Takahashi’s Katamari Damacy (2004) is easily one of the most charming videogames of all-time. It had a silly premise, a colorful aesthetic, and a grin-inducing soundtrack. Katamari Damacy was like no other game in existence. An underrated aspect of it, though, is its whip-smart writing. From the bizarre story of the King of All Cosmos knocking out all of the stars in the sky after a drunken binge, to the descriptions of all the mundane items the Prince’s magical ball rolls up on Earth, Katamari Damacy’s quirky writing embellished everything else that made the game so notable.…

with those we love alive map2

Twinescapes, or The Rise of Spatial Hypertext

At least 100 pages of four novels. At least 20 pages of maybe half a dozen others. Not one book finished, not even in rough draft. These are the vital statistics of my long war with fiction. For most of my life now it’s been my fondest wish to write and to publish a novel. Sometimes I’ve wanted to author a book of the Great-American-sort, other times my ambitions have been more humble, or more genre-bound. Sometimes my drafts have been muddy slogs through self doubt, other times they came as if poured from a vase by a woman in…


A videogame dares to ask “What is the meaning of life?”

You might head into Dissonance assuming it to have something to say about so-called “ludonarrative dissonance.” Because that’s all people can think about when the word dissonance comes up in the videogame space, apparently. And, actually, upon playing through the first couple of minutes, you might find that suspicion of yours steadily coming true. You’ll be reading along with this virtual novelette and, all of a sudden, a maze game will appear at the end of the first chapter. It’ll seem completely dissociated with what you’ve just read as well as the entire format of reading a book; it’s like it’s been…