Tuesday, November 29, 2022

A couple more recent puzzle games

We're coming up on IGF judging season. Okay, actually we're a week into IGF judging season. I haven't jumped in yet due to various other tasks that piled up my Thanksgiving holiday. (You might have seen yesterday's post.)
Anyway, this means I'll be accumulating a lot of game review posts which I'll drop in a batch in a couple of months. But before I start that, let's clear out the ones I've already written!
  • The Entropy Centre
  • The Case of the Golden Idol

Monday, November 28, 2022

NarraScope 2023: June 9-11, Pittburgh

A quick note that we've gotten things rolling for NarraScope 2023! The conference will be in Pittsburgh (my old college town), hosted by the University of Pittsburgh. (Not my old college, but right next door.)
We're really excited to have another in-person event. But we know the past couple of virtual NarraScopes have attracted plenty of online attendees who won't be able to make it to Pittsburgh. So we're aiming to run the (perhaps-mythical) hybrid conference. All events will be streamed, and we'll do our best to keep conversations flowing in the NarraScope Discord.
You can read the full announcement here. We've also posted the call for proposals for program items.

Monday, November 14, 2022

Leviathan launches today on Steam and Itch

It's out! The latest interactive comic by Jason Shiga, author of Meanwhile.
The first choice in Leviathan
A seaside village – and a monstrous threat. Explore as you choose, by day or by night. Can you unravel the secrets of history and defeat the Leviathan?
Leviathan is a comic, but not an ordinary comic. Follow the paths from panel to panel. Where the path divides, you decide where to go next! A thrilling tale of sorcery, deception, and discovery.
Navigating the Cobalt Isles
I have tested Leviathan on the Steam Deck and it works fine. However, I've seen Steam try to install the wrong version of the app on Steam Deck. If it doesn't launch, select Properties, Compatibility, Force the Use... and then select "Steam Linux Runtime". That should get the native Linux version for you.
You can of course also buy Leviathan in its actual-printed-book hardback edition.
The cover of the hardback edition
That's all the news for today. I hope it's enough!
Watch this space for information about the iPhone/iPad version of Leviathan. (It'll happen, but I don't have a release date for you yet.) And of course keep your eyes open for the next in the Adventuregame Comics series!

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Recent narrative games: the old school

I didn't intend to play three different takes on the "old school" in a row. Or maybe I did, but didn't realize how different they would be.
Warning: This is the sort of post where I talk about games I enjoyed and mostly focus on what didn't work for me. I recommend all these games!
But endings are hard. Adventure games have always been tricky to wrap up. Adventure, the original, ended with a "master game" which both broke the fourth wall of the cave-world and handed you an uncharacteristically nasty final puzzle. Myst left you trailing around a bunch of worlds you'd fully explored while Atrus told you to buzz off and wait for a sequel. Monkey Island -- but we'll get there.
Naively, you want hit a dramatic, world-changing climax in the story while also smashing through the game's best puzzle. These ideas are, shall we say, in tension. So do you put the big puzzle before the big story beat? Do you make the final puzzle a cakewalk and give the player a victory lap? Or try to make the finale thematically satisfying rather than relying on pure challenge for the high? Can you keep your theme from being undermined by the focus on puzzles or game mechanics? There's a lot of ways you can play it, and a half-century of adventure gaming is still coming up with new ones.
So let's talk games!
  • One Dreamer
  • The Excavation of Hob's Barrow
  • Return to Monkey Island
  • The Past Within

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Leviathan launches on November 14th

Release date! We have interactive-comic-sign, two weeks and counting.
"Next thing I know, our ship is capsized..."
Okay, thirteen days and counting. Jason Shiga's Leviathan will be out Monday the 14th on Steam and Itch. Runs on Mac, Windows, Linux, and -- why yes -- Steam Deck too.
(The print edition is already available. Just to remind you.)