Imaginary games jam update   5 comments

jam

What, what?

This thing from last year. Authors wrote a set of reviews for “five games that do not (and possibly, cannot) exist in our universe,” then received randomly chosen reviews from others, and produced “a sequel, a prequel, a fan fiction, a critical response game, a sidequel, a remake, a demake, a parody, or an artifact of some genre category never before seen by humans.”

It turned out well! All the games can be found here.

Weren’t these supposed to go onto a more permanent archive?

Indeed. All the games are currently sitting at the incoming directory at http://www.ifarchive.org/ and I am sure they will be sorted soon.

As soon as they are settled I was going to add entries for all the games at The Interactive Fiction Database. If you are an author and want to add the entry yourself, please let me know!

What happened to the bit after with the response pieces?

I did receive some very good ones (thank you!) but it turned out the coverage was pretty spotty. Some works had no responses at all, some had in-universe reviews, some had “serious reviews”, and when I laid it all out it felt very weird and imbalanced. I toyed with filling in the gaps myself but it just didn’t work. So I’m going to be putting the responses up still if people are still interested, but they’re not going in the book.

Oh yes, you also promised a book.

Indeed I did. The intent was to put the reviews followed by game excerpts followed by the responses. After a lot of editing it turned out to not work very well.

What I settled on was a compilation of all the original reviews of imaginary games people sent.

You can find this compilation, right now, here. It currently runs at 59 pages although I still have some fixing up to do. It’s extremely good!

Note I also still need to do some formatting standardization, and to that end, I have two questions:

a.) Should I put each imaginary game description on a new page?

b.) Should I put the author credits right before the ones they wrote, or should I just put them as an appendix at the end? I’m inclined for the latter just because it reads smoother, but I can understand why people might want their credit front and center, hence I wanted to solicit comments.

For publishing I was going to go with Lulu unless someone has a better suggestion; I was going to price it to be just the printing costs.

Anything else we should be worried about?

Well, the annual XYZZY Awards are coming up, and it is often the case things from earlier in the year have slipped the mind when nomination time comes around. So consider this a friendly reminder there was some innovative work here! It’s important to get the entries up at The Interactive Fiction Database soon because that’s what determines they’re eligible.

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Posted February 20, 2017 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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5 responses to “Imaginary games jam update

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  1. I think I’d rather have the credits at the end because it’s less immersion-breaking, but I don’t have a strong feeling about it, and if anyone wants their credit right there then I won’t stand in their way.

    Or maybe a good way to handle it would be to put the authors’ initials discreetly at the bottom of the page and then have a key at the beginning. If you’re going to mix up reviews instead of presenting each author’s reviews as a block.

    Thanks for doing this Jason! I’d still really like to see the response pieces somewhere, but I can see how they might not really have worked as a book together.

    Also, dunno about the XYZZY, but if anyone’s reading this and hasn’t played the game Mayfly I double super recommend it.

  2. Heads up on the PDF–it looks like there’s a ñ where there was probably meant to be an em dash in the review of Perennial etc.

    (Also, having read that far, I’m amused that at least one other review writer hit on the idea of playing as a mayfly to limit game time.)

  3. I am not sure if this went through the first time I posted it, I had trouble logging in and it did not show up in the comments but the website said this was a duplicate:

    I read about 75 of those entries, nd they were interesting, so I decided to take a shot–and yes, some of these are based on weird dreams.

    Rock of Spaces: A world where rocks were living things that assisted policemen. Everything was in strange, bright colors and the whole thing was a surreal kaleidoscope, a portrait of the madness that happens in a world where fossils contain leftover brain energy from creatures, pressurized to the point where it transcends time to give sentience to rocks. That energy is used eventually to travel through time, dig a path which allows ancient magma to travel through another region and retroactively prevent a supervolcano that destroyed the world.

    Bear with Us until we Launch the Raccoons: A sports game spinoff of the above, the most popular sport in that world: To take bears that could turn into racoons, put them on rafts until the vibration caused them to change and then shoot them. It was a spectator sport with some danger, as if the raft ran aground, the bear got loose.It was even weirder than it sounds.

    Nihili Deus por Sic Transit Gloria Machina: A game set in the ruins of a wonderful technological utopia, in which the characters are led by a man who claims to have been a scientist, and that science destroyed the world. His story eventually proves to have a lot of holes: He supports irrefutable ideas like religion; he claims that the factories were built by one corporations, but if you explore you will find signs associating them with multiple different corporations; he never tells you his field of research or where he was trained. You find a real scientist in the end, who tells you that this fraud was a member of an anti-technology group which performed terrorist attacks against the civilization, escalating to the point where it developing bombs exponentially more powerful than any others, destroying everything and sending the wonderful civilization back to the Stone Age.

    King of the Damned: You play a king, in any time period from prehistoric tribes to futuristic galactic empires who will be assassinated by an usurper who will reverse all of his decisions. Your decisions will decide both the present and the future of the land, and you must decide whether to make everyone miserable now to ensure future prosperity or vice versa.

    Blood is Naught: A survival horror game with a twist: Your blood is the only thing that can hurt the enemies, but you have limited healing supplies. It becomes a complex, extremely challenging game of resource management and cat-and-mouse tactics.

    Light is the Brick That Holds the Universe: An all-encompassing darkness is swallowing reality, killing all men who come into contact with it, and you must escape it. It ends with you in a tiny room, the last thing in the universe, with a brick wall blocking your path. You can save yourself by completing an esoteric puzzle: Wipe the bricks and they turn into a window; pass through the closed window and you end up in a public park, with the Grim Reaper but alive and safe.

    Spellcasting 1301: Ernie Eaglebeak is now 70 years old, and bitter because he no longer has the energy or excitement of his youth. He discovers that there is a spell that can restore Telomerase and erase the harsh memories of the frustrations of adulthood, but he is nearly dead of old age. Help him find the spell and regain the life of a carefree teenager before his body consume itself. His rapid aging must be taken into account, not just because it imposes a time limit on the game, but because the more Ernie’s body degrades, the harder it is to solve the puzzles.

    Chrontendo: The Game: Play through old games on a variety of systems, and judge whether they have aged well. Your comments on them are passed through a complex A.I. program, judged to determine what you love about classic games, and used to produce old-school games that you will love. A near infinite amount of potential games means that you could play this forever and never get bored.

    Dream of the Ultimate Game: What is it that influences emotions within dreams? Our scientists have answered this question, and developed a computer that will put your mind in your favorite games and allow you to play them in a state of constant ecstasy. We will soon eliminate pain, boredom, place our minds into robots and create the ideal society.

  4. extremely stoked to report that OBAWCATRVOS, the game I made for this jam (which was fucking excellent, by the way, I loved this experience) will be at Now Play This this weekend! http://nowplaythis.net/2017-events/

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