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Aug 25

2016

A Midsummer Night’s Choice — Fairy outlaws invade a Shakespearean comedy!

Posted by: Dan Fabulich | Comments (0)

A Midsummer Night's Choice

We’re proud to announce that A Midsummer Night’s Choice, the latest in our popular “Choice of Games” line of multiple-choice interactive-fiction games, is now available for Steam, iOS, and Android. It’s 25% off until September 1st!

In this Shakespearean comedy adventure, can forbidden love conquer adorable fairy outlaws?

A Midsummer Night’s Choice is a 190,000-word interactive fantasy novel by Kreg Segall, where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based–without graphics or sound effects–and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind”

When your father, the Duke, tries to force you to marry, you’ll leave civilization behind as you flee in disguise, cross-dressed, into the enchanted forest. Mistaken identities, inexplicable bears, and tiny but fearsome fairies await! (Seriously, they wear little walnut shells for helmets, and ride armored baby bunnies into battle.)

Will you fall into the mysterious Faerie Queene’s clutches? Will you (or your identical doppelganger) find true love? Or will your father’s spies find you first?

Hold on to your heart! The course of true love never did run smooth.

  • Play as male or female, gay, straight, or bi.
  • Inspire the world with your noble deeds, or play everything for laughs.
  • Star in a play within a play. (Er, within a game…that you are playing.)
  • Become a jester, a diplomat, a knight, a poet, a shepherd–or leave the world behind and join the fairy court.
  • Why is there a bear?!

If you pre-ordered

iOS/Android: A Midsummer Night’s Choice is available as a free app. Anyone can play the first part of the game for free on iOS and Android (or on our website). Once you reach the end of the free trial, the app will ask you to either purchase the game or “restore” your purchase.

If you’ve purchased the game on our website, you can restore your purchase on iOS/Android at no additional charge, unlocking the rest of the game.

Windows/Mac/Linux: Visit our web page for A Midsummer Night’s Choice and click the link at the bottom of the page to “download it directly from us.” (The game is also now available to purchase on Steam, if that’s what you’d prefer.)

We hope you enjoy playing A Midsummer Night’s Choice. We encourage you to tell your friends about it, and recommend the game on StumbleUpon, Facebook, Twitter, and other sites. Don’t forget: our initial download rate determines our ranking on the App Store. The more times you download in the first week, the better our games will rank.

Aug 23

2016

Author Interview: Kreg Segall on A Midsummer Night’s Choice

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

Choice of Games’ latest release will be A Midsummer Night’s Choice, a Shakespearean romp (but much easier to read) through an enchanted forest, complete with fairies that do battle on harnessed rabbit-steeds. I sat down with the author, Kreg Segall, who is an Associate Professor of English in the Department of Humanities at Regis College to learn more about how Midsummer came about, and some of the challenges and pleasures of Shakespeare-style storytelling.

How did you stumble onto writing interactive fiction?

It feels less like a stumble than a natural progression. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing interactive stories for people to play with. I wrote stapled-together choose-your-own-adventure books for my friends in elementary school, played and ran all of the popular role-playing games around in the ’80s, and got involved in the live role-playing scene in Boston in college and grad school.

So when I discovered Choice of Games, it felt like an extension of what I had already been doing. I played the Heroes Rise series, and thought, “Oh, this is fun! I know how to do that.”

Your day job is being an English professor, so it’s no surprise that Midsummer is an homage to the Bard. Tell me about how you came up with the idea for the game and why this was a trope that worked for you.

The best part about being an English professor is that I get to talk to my students about my favorite stories all day. In a way, A Midsummer Night’s Choice is like a “best of” version of those stories—all of my favorite moments and characters lovingly parodied and morphed into something new.

I can hardly take credit for the idea for the game: it’s as old as comedy. The parent with their own idea about the child’s love life, and the child taking matters into his or her own hands by duping or otherwise ignoring the parent—that’s just a structure that sets us up for laughter. (Although strangely this structure seems less and less funny to me now that I have my own children.)

Once I realized that this game was going to incorporate all of my favorite moments from the comedies, it was easy to draw up a list of necessary elements—I had to have a fool, an unwelcome suitor, a domineering father, a courtier, a play-within-a-play, fairies, a bear, and so on. I think Shakespeare would have approved of my using his plays to create my own work—he did it all the time!

What specific plays informed this? I see snippets of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but also As You Like It, and even The Taming of the Shrew.

The three plays that my game owes the most to are A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, and The Winter’s Tale, although I tried really hard to get at least one joke or reference to every comedy in there, and most of the other plays too! But there’s also a significant amount of Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, the anonymous Mucedorus, The Knight of the Burning Pestle and really dozens of other plays. Shakespeare’s sonnets, too, make an appearance in my game as well.

Decision time: your favorite comedy, tragedy, history, and “weird” Shakespeare plays.

My favorite “other” play (and my favorite Shakespeare play overall) is The Winter’s Tale. Something in me responds to the long pastoral Act IV, with the singing rogue Autolycus, the silly-but-touching shepherds, and the young lovers trying to figure out their next step.

My favorite comedy is probably Measure for Measure, favorite history is Henry IV, pt. 1, and favorite tragedy is Antony and Cleopatra.

You didn’t ask me what my least favorite Shakespeare play is. So I’ll add that as a bonus. It’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. I keep giving it a try, but it’s not for me. But my favorite opera is Verdi’s Falstaff, which is based on The Merry Wives of Windsor. So at least that.

What elements of writing in ChoiceScript did you find favored or did not favor telling your story in the form of interactive fiction? This game seems like it’d have a huge burden on you for doing continuity—it’s both complex and has a good amount of variety in the endings.

I was wondering whether the coding would be difficult, but it was really quite straight-forward. It never got in my way. I have nothing but good things to say about ChoiceScript.

You’re right to say that the continuity was tricky: I would frequently draw out the possible endings on paper in a crazy-looking flowchart with ovals and arrows everywhere that took up several sheets of paper. I did make more work for myself than I needed to by adding a romantic option on a whim in the fourth chapter that I hadn’t anticipated—I had no clue that that whim would take weeks of work to properly integrate!

I grew very close to some of the characters as I wrote, and the process of writing the couple of dozen endings was bizarre. I had to imagine a character in love with the main character, and then, in an alternate reality, furious at them, and a dozen variations in between.

Midsummer feels so close to a Shakespeare play, in that it takes all the best elements of his comedies and mixes them up for a new audience. What would you tell a potential reader who hated Shakespeare plays in high school English class?

It may not surprise you to learn that I talk to people who hated Shakespeare in high school all the time. I would tell that potential reader that the hardest thing about Shakespeare is his language and his allusions to mythology. The story is the easy part. Anyone can understand a story about love, rebellion, and escape. While A Midsummer Night’s Choice does use a few Shakespearean words, it’s so much easier than reading Renaissance literature, and maybe my story will be interesting enough to inspire them to go seek out Shakespeare himself and give him another try.

The funny thing is that I was that person who didn’t care for Shakespeare in high school. I was so bored by Julius Caesar, and I didn’t get why Romeo and Juliet was a big deal.

It wasn’t until I saw a production of The Two Gentleman of Verona that I started feeling something. I had never heard of The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and it’s only an O.K. play, but the actors made it funny, and I had no expectations, and the magic of theater took over.

Finally, I can’t resist a little short answer Bernard Pivot/James Lipton action with some interactive fiction flavor thrown in:

What is your favorite word?

Syzygy” is a cool one. Three vowels, all “y.”

What is your least favorite?

Shindig” sounds really painful for something that’s supposed to be fun. “Sidekick” has the same problem.

What turns you off?

Where do I start? Off the top of my head: dust jackets; tiny shutters on houses that have no utilitarian function; “ex libris” book plates; the texture of popsicle sticks; highlighters; squishy bread;

What is your favorite IF novel other than your own?

I enjoyed Choice of the Deathless. I thought it was a really fun setting, and as a fan of the Buffy/Angel world, getting to play as part of an undead law firm intrigued me.

What strategies do you use to keep writing when you feel blocked?

This has never happened to me—not in my scholarly work, and not in my creative work. I just sit down and write, which I like to do in 3-5 hour stretches when I can. I find it meditative, getting to play with words on the page.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Sometimes I think I’d like to be a baker in some quiet town. Wake up really early and make all sorts of amazing crusty breads. I’d like to have the sort of bakery that people describe as “artisanal” and “bespoke” and “locally-sourced” and “sustainable.” I wouldn’t use those words, but other people would. I think I mostly have that thought when I have a lot of papers to grade.

What profession would you not like to do?

A mere glance outside my window suggests that I really, really don’t want to be a gardener. Maybe the state of my backyard was inspiration for the untamed forest in my game.

Favorite authorship candidate/conspiracy theory?

There’s way too much amazing, fascinating critical work being done for me to keep up with fake issues.

Aug 19

2016

New Hosted Game! Machinations: Fog of War by Chris Conley

Posted by: Dan Fabulich | Comments (1)

Hosted Games has a new game for you to play!

Machinations: Fog of WarGunpowder diplomacy in a city primed to explode! You’re a shapeshifting android created to infiltrate the enemy. Steal, lie, and persuade your way to success. Can you save a people on the brink of war?

Machinations: Fog of War is a 150,000-word interactive fantasy novel by Chris Conley, where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based–without graphics or sound effects–and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

It’s 25% off until August 26th!

  • Explore a 150,000-word tale of deception, intrigue and betrayal in an age of gunpowder and rapier duels.
  • Embody a lifelike automata with the ability to study and mimic the appearance and behavior of anyone you meet.
  • Develop your personal skills, accumulate an array of disguises, and cultivate contacts and allies.
  • Navigate the hostile waters of diplomacy, scheming and plotting when everyone has their own motives.
  • Decide who to trust and who to deceive.
  • Serve your master faithfully, or break away and serve only yourself.

Chris developed this game using ChoiceScript, a simple programming language for writing multiple-choice interactive novels like these. Writing games with ChoiceScript is easy and fun, even for authors with no programming experience. Write your own game and Hosted Games will publish it for you, giving you a share of the revenue your game produces.

Aug 12

2016

Pre-order our next game: A Midsummer Night’s Choice by Kreg Segall

Posted by: Dan Fabulich | Comments (0)

For the first time, we’re offering our fans a chance to pre-order our next game, A Midsummer Night’s Choice by Kreg Segall.

We’ll release the game to the public on Thursday, August 25th; you can buy it today at a discounted price. If you buy it here on our website, you’ll be able to play it on your preferred device (iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, or Linux) when the game comes out.

Fairy outlaws invade a Shakespearean comedy!

In this Shakespearean comedy adventure, can forbidden love conquer adorable fairy outlaws?

A Midsummer Night’s Choice is a 190,000-word interactive fantasy novel by Kreg Segall, where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based–without graphics or sound effects–and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind”

When your father, the Duke, tries to force you to marry, you’ll leave civilization behind as you flee in disguise, cross-dressed, into the enchanted forest. Mistaken identities, inexplicable bears, and tiny but fearsome fairies await! (Seriously, they wear little walnut shells for helmets, and ride armored baby bunnies into battle.)

Will you fall into the mysterious Faerie Queene’s clutches? Will you (or your identical doppelganger) find true love? Or will your father’s spies find you first?

Hold on to your heart! The course of true love never did run smooth.

  • Play as male or female, gay, straight, or bi.
  • Inspire the world with your noble deeds, or play everything for laughs.
  • Star in a play within a play. (Er, within a game…that you are playing.)
  • Become a jester, a diplomat, a knight, a poet, a shepherd–or leave the world behind and join the fairy court.
  • Why is there a bear?!

How the pre-order works

Today: Anyone can go to our A Midsummer Night’s Choice page, play the first part of the game for free on our website, and purchase the game at a discounted price.

But the rest of the game is not available to play today, even if you pay now. Everyone who pre-orders the game will get to play it when it becomes available to the public on August 25th.

iOS/Android: On August 25th, we’ll make A Midsummer Night’s Choice available as a free app. Anyone can play the first part of the game for free on iOS and Android (or on our website). Once you reach the end of the free trial, the app will ask you to either purchase the game or “restore” your purchase.

If you’ve pre-ordered the game on our website, you’ll be able to restore your purchase on iOS/Android at no additional charge, unlocking the rest of the game.

Windows/Mac/Linux: On August 25th, players who have purchased the game on our website will be able to download the game directly from us. We’ll make downloads available on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

On launch day, (but not before then) the game will also be available to purchase on Steam. We’re not allowed to make our games available for pre-order on Steam yet — that option is available only to larger publishers — but if our pre-order experiment is a hit, we hope to be able to use our data to justify offering pre-orders on Steam as well.

We’ve never done this before

This is the first time Choice of Games has offered a game to the public for pre-order. We think of it as an experiment; we hope to learn a lot about what you’d like to see in the course of the next few weeks. If the experiment is a hit, we’ll try to make more of our games available for pre-order. If our players aren’t interested in pre-ordering, we might modify the experiment next time, or give up on pre-order sales and try something else.

Jul 29

2016

Three New Hosted Games! The 3Games, Academy of Disaster, and Swamp Castle

Posted by: Dan Fabulich | Comments (1)

Hosted Games has three new games for you to play!

The 3Games by Ema L. Bícová & Anna Michalcová

The 3GamesImagine an independent city in space, where drugs are a source of superpowers and lethal reality shows a source of income. Team up with equally desperate citizens and fight for your life. How many will you save from an untimely death?

The 3Games is an interactive novel by Ema L. Bícová and Anna Michalcová where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based–200,000 words, without graphics or sound-effects–and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

  • Join a deadly reality show to fulfill your dreams. Follow or surrender your secret agenda.
  • Take control of five characters diverse in gender, race and sexuality.
  • Form the best team you can and test mutual loyalty. Betray your teammates to create new alliances.
  • Enter a polyamorous relationship. Enjoy a night with no strings attached to take your mind off of tension.
  • Utilize your skills and superpowers to escape life threatening situations and get your enemies before they get you!
  • Save all five characters from death or sacrifice some in favor of another. Replay to see who lives under different choices!

Academy of Disaster by Maxine Janerka

Academy of DisasterTake the role of an amnesiac student and probe the mysteries of an isolated private school—one favored by the local crime families at that! Will you solve the murders of your classmates and make good on your family debts?

Academy of Disaster is an interactive novel by Maxine Janerka where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based–200,000 words, without graphics or sound-effects–and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

  • Enjoy a tale of murder and conspiracy set in a secluded boarding school.
  • Choose how you investigate—are you a people person or a strategic thinker? There are many paths to a solution.
  • Solve the murder of your classmate, fall in with the mob, and dig through your family’s shadowy past.
  • Play as male or female, and enjoy a break from romance options.

Swamp Castle by Philip Kempton

Swamp CastleYou are a newly appointed Lord in charge of a small castle. Manage your castle’s finances, hire troops, resolve conflicts among the peasants, and bring order to the realm. Expand your power through war, diplomacy, or stealth. Whether you rise or fall is up to you in Swamp Castle.

Swamp Castle is an interactive novel by Philip Kempton where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based–102,000 words, without graphics or sound-effects–and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

  • Manage the economy of your province by controlling the tax rates.
  • Decisions you make impact the story and your ability to rule your subjects.
  • Fight against raiders and even other Lords.
  • Choose between decisions that could help your subjects or give you additional power.

These authors developed their games using ChoiceScript, a simple programming language for writing multiple-choice interactive novels like these. Writing games with ChoiceScript is easy and fun, even for authors with no programming experience. Write your own game and Hosted Games will publish it for you, giving you a share of the revenue your game produces.

Jun 30

2016

Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation Announced, Takes Over IFComp

Posted by: Dan Fabulich | Comments (1)

Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation

http://www.iftechfoundation.org/press/interactive-fiction-technology-foundation-announced/

Cambridge, Massachusetts, 30 June 2016—The Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation (IFTF) was formally announced today as the first-ever nonprofit formed to support the success and growth of all forms of interactive fiction — text adventures, choice-based games, visual novels, and more. The Foundation’s mission is to ensure the ongoing maintenance, improvement, preservation, and development of tools and services necessary to the creation and distribution of interactive fiction. IFTF also announced today that it will assume stewardship of the prestigious Interactive Fiction Competition (IFComp).

Interactive fiction is a game category where the player’s interactions primarily involve text. Examples run the gamut from classic titles such as as Infocom’s Zork (the bestselling computer game of 1980), to more contemporary work including Zoe Quinn’s controversial Depression Quest (2013), or inkle studios’ 80 Days (TIME magazine’s 2014 Game of the Year).

In order to further support and broaden the reach of interactive fiction, a team of category veterans came together this year to found IFTF. The board of directors includes President Jason McIntosh (principal organizer of IFComp), Andrew Plotkin (the most award-winning interactive fiction author of all time and author of Hadean Lands), Carolyn VanEseltine (founder of Sibyl Moon Games and former Harmonix developer), Chris Klimas (creator of Twine), and Flourish Klink (Chief Research Officer of Chaotic Good Studios).

The Annual Interactive Fiction Competition is the largest and longest-running competition of its kind, founded in 1995 by Kevin Wilson and having taken place annually ever since. In 2015, more than 20,000 people took part in making, playing, or rating the 53 games entered into the twenty-first IFComp. Under IFTF’s stewardship, IFComp will receive long-lacking legal and financial support to ensure its continued presence as a cornerstone of the modern IF community.

“IFComp is just the first of many efforts that we want to help with this foundation,” says Chris Klimas. “People have given so much of themselves to projects like it, not for any external reward but because of their love of interactive fiction, and we want to make sure that work endures.” Carolyn VanEseltine adds, “The formation of IFTF begins a new chapter in interactive fiction history. With input and help from players, authors, and communities, we’ll maintain old tools and create new ones so this unique art form thrives for years to come.”

IFComp is just the beginning: IFTF seeks to support all parts of the interactive fiction community. It is currently considering ways to best support the Twine platform’s growth and development. A project to increase the accessibility of works of interactive fiction is also in planning stages. To learn more, visit IFTF’s website: http://www.iftechfoundation.org/.

I’m on the Advisory Board of IFTF and I’m super excited about it!

Jun 23

2016

Affairs of the Court: Choice of Romance on Steam

Posted by: Dan Fabulich | Comments (0)

Affairs of the Court: Choice of Romance

We’re happy to announce that one of our bestselling games, Affairs of the Court: Choice of Romance, is now available on Steam for Windows, Mac, and Linux. (It’s still available on iOS and Android, too.) It’s 17% off on Steam until July 4th!

Plunge into court politics and change the course of history, or pursue a love affair that rocks the kingdom to its foundations!

Affairs of the Court is an epic interactive fantasy novel by Heather Albano and Adam Strong-Morse. It’s a tale of romance, deception and court intrigue, where your choices control the story. The game is entirely text-based–223,000 words, without graphics or sound effects–and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Will you play as male or female? Gay, straight, or bi? Match wits with the schemers of the court, or play your suitors off each other? Will you find true love? Gain a crown? Lose your head?

Buy it today!

Jun 23

2016

All of our games are 25% off or more in Steam’s 2016 Summer Sale

Posted by: Dan Fabulich | Comments (1)

Steam

All of our Steam apps are 25% off or more until July 4!

We’ve also introduced a bunch of new bundles on Steam. Buy our games in a bundle and you can get them for an additional 25% off or more, on top of the discounts available in Steam’s Summer Sale!

All of these bundles are “Complete the Set” bundles, which means if you’ve purchased some of the games in the bundle, you can still complete the bundle at a discounted price.

The “Every Game” bundle is especially interesting because as we add new games on Steam, we’ll add them to the bundle, allowing you to complete and re-complete the bundle each time a new game comes out, rewarding our most loyal customers with our best possible savings.

Hosted Games has a few bundles, too, including an “Every Game” bundle:

(Note that we can’t create bundles including games from both Hosted Games and Choice of Games, so if you want all of Paul Wang’s games, you’ll need to buy both the “Paul Wang” bundle and the “Infinity Series” bundle.)

Jun 10

2016

Choice of Alexandria — Save the ancient library as a heroic polymath!

Posted by: Dan Fabulich | Comments (0)

Choice of Alexandria

We’re proud to announce that Choice of Alexandria, the latest in our popular “Choice of Games” line of multiple-choice interactive-fiction games, is now available for Steam, iOS, and Android. It’s 34% off until June 17th!

Change the course of history! Can your scientific discoveries save the ancient Library of Alexandria? Will you defend the empire’s legacy, or your own?

Choice of Alexandria is an interactive novella by Kevin Gold, author of “Choice of Robots.” Your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based–90,000 words, without graphics or sound effects–and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

The year is 245 BCE; you’re a heroic polymath librarian, invited to Alexandria to tutor prince Ptolemy IV. The real Ptolemy IV fell under the sway of his evil advisor Sosibius, and brought the empire to ruin–but perhaps under your tutelage, things will turn out differently.

Or disregard your responsibilities to focus on inventions instead! With the help of Archimedes and Euclid, you can discover the steam engine, the germ theory of disease, or even robotic automata, thousands of years ahead of schedule.

Will you deplete the libraries of other cities to enrich your own? Achieve popularity for your scientific inventions, or protect the legacy of the empire? Will Ptolemy IV grow up hedonistic and selfish, or wise and just? Will you be ransomed by the pirate queen Nefertari, or can you win her over with your silver tongue?

The fate of the city of wonders is in your hands!

  • Play as a brilliant inventor, a gifted speaker, or a life-saving doctor
  • Make great discoveries while protecting Prince Ptolemy IV from manipulators at court
  • Save famed mathematicians Archimedes and Euclid from untimely deaths
  • Based on the real life of Eratosthenes, the ancient genius who calculated the size of the Earth
  • Save the Great Library and invent the steam engine two thousand years early!

We hope you enjoy playing Choice of Alexandria. We encourage you to tell your friends about it, and recommend the game on StumbleUpon, Facebook, Twitter, and other sites. Don’t forget: our initial download rate determines our ranking on the App Store. The more times you download in the first week, the better our games will rank.

Jun 10

2016

New Hosted Game! The Iron Destinies by David Berner

Posted by: Dan Fabulich | Comments (2)

Hosted Games has a new game for you to play!

Iron Destinies

This is the story of Fe, an Iron atom that caused a supernova. As you take the helm of this atomic hero, soaring through the fabrics of space at the speed of light, take heed of the forces that are not only in plain sight, but also hidden in the darkness, for they are the keys to unlocking the secrets of the Cosmos.

The Iron Destinies is an interactive sci-fi novel by David Berner, where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based–455,000 words, without graphics or sound effects–and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

  • Soar through the tales of a 455,000-word narrative of intrigue, intuition, and adventure.
  • Solve the labyrinth of a dormant planet.
  • Face the trials of the elements and become a god.
  • Wage war with the living and the dead of a haunted planet.
  • Be the gear that starts a mechanical solar system.
  • Infuse yourself with a sword of destined greatness, or destined iniquity.
  • Ignite the quarrel of creatures in a microscopic world.
  • Crush planets; Devour worlds; even travel through a Black Hole.
  • Earn over 90 achievements and fulfill over 40 endings.

David developed this game using ChoiceScript, a simple programming language for writing multiple-choice interactive novels like these. Writing games with ChoiceScript is easy and fun, even for authors with no programming experience. Write your own game and Hosted Games will publish it for you, giving you a share of the revenue your game produces.

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