rainy day

Rainy Day is a powerful and sobering look at anxiety

Rainy Day, a recent interactive narrative by Thais Weiller, is a quick and impactful glimpse of the paralyzing power of anxiety. It was born out of creative frustration when she moved from a design role to production, where she often stayed quiet about her own creative ideas so as not to disrupt the flow of her team. “I remember feeling as if I was silenced,” she said, “as if something was missing and I couldn’t say exactly what. Feeling that bad wasn’t particularly new to me a year back […] but feeling silenced was new.” She decided to try to…


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,…

Make Your Own Video Games

Anna Anthropy’s new book aims to teach game design to kids

Game maker Anna Anthropy is no stranger to book publishing. She’s contributed to multiple anthologies in the past, including Merritt Kopas’s Videogames for Humans (2015) and Seven Stories Press’s The State of Play (2015). She’s also written multiple works of her own, including 2012’s Rise of the Videogame Zinesters and Boss Fight Books’s 2014 critical overview ZZT. This November, Anthropy has another book planned for release. But her demographic is a little different: she’s writing videogame guides aimed at young kids. Published by No Starch Press, Make Your Own Video Game!: With PuzzleScript, Scratch, and Twine is an all-ages approach…


There’s a game about exploring sexuality while fighting bird people you need to play

You know those moments between wakefulness and sleeping, where the edges of dreams get soft, and bits of them kinda seep into the real world? Now imagine that happening in the middle of the day, while you’re wide awake. And you’re at summer camp. This is more or less the premise of BIRDLAND (2015), An interactive fiction game, written by Brendan Patrick Hennessy and illustrated by Izzy Marbella, where all the anxieties and identity making moments of teenage-hood are complicated by robot-like anthropomorphic birds. it’s the human aspects that are the backbone Made for the 2015 Interactive Fiction Competition and created in Twine, BIRDLAND won six…

The Temple of No

The Temple of No is interactive fiction for people who might not typically enjoy it

Crows Crows Crows, the studio created by William Pugh (co-developer on 2013’s The Stanley Parable), has launched their second game—a Twine adventure called The Temple of No. The game is relatively short and comedic, similar in that regard to the studio’s previous short, narrative title, Dr. Langeskov, the Tiger, and the Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist (a name you are sure to have to Google to remember.) Made in the Twine engine, it’s a simple interactive narrative experience where you go on an adventure as either a woman, a “bloke,” or a frog. “Have you ever played a good game…

Teviot Tales

Using Twine games to preserve modern folk stories

Teviot Tales is a game that shares the stories of residents living in the Teviot Estate in Poplar, London. Developer and writer Hannah Nicklin spent six months at the estate, exploring the nearby area and conducting interviews with locals. Alongside the poetry and game design workshops she ran during her time there, she also held one for storytelling, where she invited and encouraged people to tell whatever stories they wished to tell. There’s Terry, who speaks of his time spent with his best friend John back when he was 12-years old, as they smoked Weights and listened to Temperance Seven records; Margaret, who always puts…

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…


The sequel to dys4ia explores the failure of empathy games

Despite being about “the experience and aftermath of getting hit by a car,” you’ll probably expect Anna Anthropy’s latest autobiographical game, titled Ohmygod Are You Alright?, to take the subject lightly at first. Get a little further into it, however, and you may understand why Anna says that “you could call it a survival horror.” The game’s intro is upbeat. You’re told that you (that is, Anna) have just got back from hosting a New York gallery show that landed you some decent cash. It’s Wednesday, and as with every Wednesday, your friends are waiting to meet you at the pub…