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Sep 14

2017

Grand Academy for Future Villains — Taking over the world? Come to villain school!

Posted by: Rachel E. Towers | Comments (0)

We’re proud to announce that Grand Academy for Future Villains, 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 30% off until September 21st!

Congratulations! We are delighted to welcome you to the Grand Academy for Future Villains, the world’s finest evil preparatory school, where unimaginable power begins with a world-class education!

Grand Academy for Future Villains is a hilarious 200,000-word interactive novel by Katherine Nehring, 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.

Looking for a career as an evil overlord? A mad scientist? A megavillain, a wicked witch, a final boss? You’re not going to get there without hard work, dedication, and thorough education. In the space between worlds, between genres, beyond time and space itself, the Grand Academy for Future Villains trains the bad guys that every good story needs.

You, our hero–or our villain, rather–will arrive at the Academy ready to learn, but you’ll quickly discover that there’s so much more to villain school than getting good grades. As you navigate the school year, you’ll have the opportunity to:

• Secure an internship with a prestigious heartless corporation or megalomaniacal dictator
• Seduce a hero to the dark side (Attention students: do NOT allow yourself to be seduced by the forces of good!)
• Put in the extra hours at the lab to become an actual monster.
• Pledge your family’s secret society and become worthy of–or defy–the grand destiny your family has mapped out for you.
• Pay off your student loans (in the blood of your enemies, if necessary).
• Find true love, deadly rivalry, or both at the same time with your fellow students.
• Save your alma mater, take it over, betray it, or drop out in a blaze of glory.

Our alumni have gone on to dominate worlds, conquer galaxies, break hearts, and succumb to the creeping darkness in their souls. The choices that you make at our school will determine whether you join their illustrious company.

Enroll today!

We hope you enjoy playing Grand Academy for Future Villains. 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.

Sep 14

2017

New Hosted Game! Lost In The Pages by Felicity Banks, Adrao, Cecilia Rosewood, and Sashira

Posted by: Rachel E. Towers | Comments (0)

Hosted Games has a new game for you to play!

Travel through different books in a quest to find your uncle! You will travel through a number of stories, seek to understand why they are falling apart, and trying to solve the mystery of your uncle’s bookshop.

Lost in the Pages is a 125,000 word interactive novel by a collection of authors, 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.

There are over a half a dozen stories to choose from, from fantasy and science fiction, to horror or mystery. Can you rescue your uncle and restore order to the stories, or will you be consumed by the menace hanging over him?

• Play as male, female, or non-binary, with any orientation.
• Travel the seas as a mermaid, ride a dragon, explore futuristic worlds or become a detective. The choice is yours!
• Stick to tropes, or break them!
• Save not one world, but many!

Felicity Banks, Adrao, Cecilia Rosewood, and Sashira 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.

Sep 14

2017

The Hero Project: Redemption Season Has a New Short Story: The YouPower Project

Posted by: Rachel E. Towers | Comments (0)

Can you not wait for the next installment in the Heroes Rise universe? Do you just need to read another story featuring your favorite characters from The Hero Project? Well now you can purchase the The YouPower Project, already available everywhere The Hero Project: Redemption Season is sold!

The YouPower Project is a short story developed by Zachary Sergi and written by Michael Alan Nelson. It's set in the months following The Hero Project: Redemption Season, but is entirely separate, with no spoilers for the main story.

The YouPower Project was originally developed in partnership with Serial Box. Serial Box brings everything that’s awesome about TV (easily digestible episodes, team written, new content every week) to what was already cool about books (well-crafted stories, talented authors, enjoyable anywhere).

Sep 13

2017

Author Interview: Katherine Nehring, “Grand Academy for Future Villains”

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

Looking for a career as an evil overlord? A mad scientist? A megavillain, a wicked witch, a final boss? You’re not going to get there without hard work, dedication, and thorough education. In the space between worlds, between genres, beyond time and space itself, the Grand Academy for Future Villains trains the bad guys that every good story needs. I sat down with Katherine Nehring, author of Choice of Games’ latest release to talk about what influenced her writing. Grand Academy for Future Villains releases Thursday, September 14th. 

Tell me about what influenced your world creation for Grand Academy. What kind of a world is this set in?

Trope-spotting can be both a delight and a distraction when it comes to reading, watching, playing, and otherwise partaking in popular fiction–especially popular genre fiction. There’s a sort of sly double perspective: in-universe you’re asking yourself who this character is within the framework of their created world, but as a reader you’re also asking yourself what type of character they are within your own experience of stories. Who do they remind you of? What do you expect from their narrative arc?

The Grand Academy inverts that order: to be in-universe at the Academy is to be outside the universe of any particular story.  This is a world where the laws of narrative are far more important than the laws of physics–a world where it’s taken for granted that concepts can be prohibited (and confiscated, and smuggled), where acting too much like a protagonist means heroic things start happening to you, and where doing something memorably can be just as effective as doing it competently.

You and I both attended St. John’s College for undergrad, and Jason Hill did a graduate degree there. I see a few parallels between the Grand Academy and SJC. Were you drawing on anything of personal significance in your writing?

I’d never thought of this before, but both the Academy and St. John’s are worlds of books – adhering to this overarching meta-order, living by the rules of narrative (surely one can call SJC’s pared-down arc of Western thought a narrative!) And of course, that’s always in tension with the ‘real world’, with history and particularity and the need to go out and find a job at some point.

The Grand Academy has elements of every one of the schools I attended, going right back to high school (the arbitrary nature of the class schedule is a less-than-fond memory of trying to decipher when lunch hour was). DarkBoard is an only slightly more vivid version of the class management software I used in grad school; Professor Ulik’s brisk, career-oriented Evil Architecture class was definitely influenced by community college classes I took. But St. John’s, with its intensity, eccentricity, and constant narrative engagement, was undoubtedly the biggest influence.

There’s a great cast of weird characters here: the PC’s mother, Maedryn, Dr. Cerebrist, and Professor Mortwain were some of my favorites. Did you have a character you enjoyed writing most?

I had a lot of fun with all of them–probably the most with Aurion and Kinistra. Either one of them could be the focus of an interesting story of their own, I think (or several interesting stories; one of the delightful things about writing this as a game rather than a novel is the way their stories can go very differently depending on their relationship to the player character. For Aurion, there’s something that appeals to me about an overachieving underdog at a school for villains–he has all the markers of a protagonist, but he’s determined to rise to greatness in the realm of evil. Kinistra, on the other hand, the player meets in one of the most classic of heroic ways: as someone to be rescued. And the ways in which you and she either thwart those tropes or fulfill them can have a big effect on how your story plays out.

What did you find challenging about the process of writing in ChoiceScript/our game design?

There was definitely a steep learning curve with ChoiceScript. It’s very easy to pick up, and can do a great many things once you’ve picked it up, and learning how to make those things engaging for players and manageable as a writer is quite a task! The editors were enormously helpful through this process, as were playing other Choice of Games titles, reading the forums, and going through my own game, over and over, until I could look at it both as a player and an author. By the middle of the editing process I was thinking in ChoiceScript, mapping out my daily activities as *choice and *if and *goto, setting my personal stats higher or lower. I’m not new to writing or to games, but I am to game-writing, and creating a game that worked was a challenging discipline. There was nothing I could fudge, handwave, or leave to the reader’s imagination: every loose end had to be woven in on a technical level or the game couldn’t be played at all, woven in on a narrative level or the game wouldn’t be fun to play.  This process taught me a good deal both about games and about writing!

Would you do it again?

In a heartbeat! Well, not a heartbeat. I need to nap for at least a month.

Short answer, Bernard Pivot-style Questionnaire:

Favorite color? 

Green. (A little-known rule of the universe, stemming from color-coded childhood possessions: all green things belong to me.)

Favorite word? 

Peal, apparently, as I learned in the copy-editing process. (I hadn’t realized I used that word so much!)

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

Alternate-universe me is an art conservator somewhere.

Which would you not want to attempt? 

I’m glad that electricians and tax lawyers exist; I’m very glad I don’t have to be one!

Personal choice for genre dormitory at the Grand Academy?

I think I’m going to have to go with the player character’s mother and say Science Fiction. “Taking over the galaxy” has a nice ring to it.

Aug 18

2017

New Hosted Game! The Dryad’s Riddle by Avery Moore

Posted by: Rachel E. Towers | Comments (0)

Hosted Games has a new game for you to play!

Cryptic riddles and perplexing puzzles await you as you solve the Dryad’s Riddle. In a world where wit and wisdom are worth more than silver and gold, you must embark on an adventure of a lifetime. Test your mind to it’s limits and escape the land of dreams. It’s 33% off until August 25th!

The Dryad’s Riddle is a 70,000 word interactive fantasy novel by Avery Moore, 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.

• Choose your own name and play as a man or woman.
• Explore a world of fantasy and meet a collection of weird and wonderful characters.
• Use special hints and cheats whenever you get stuck.
• Over 50 riddles and puzzles to be solved.
• Three different endings to be discovered depending on how you play.

Avery Moore 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 18

2017

New Hosted Game! Knight of the Fellowship by Ivailo Daskalov

Posted by: Rachel E. Towers | Comments (0)

Hosted Games has a new game for you to play!

Master the art of dancing with a weapon and unearth the secret of the temple, bringing love and carnage to the world. “Survive” an assassination attempt. Learn about the warrior’s honor of the Knights of the Temple. Allow those who tread the line between Light and Darkness show you their beauty. Embark on a night patrol mission with a militia officer that will lead you to the depths where the seeds of doom are growing. Finish your quest with honor and explore what your heart desires before going back to where you belong. It’s 50% off until August 25th!

Knight of the Fellowship is a 50,000 word interactive fantasy novel by Ivailo Daskalov, 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.

• Play as a man or woman, gay or straight.
• Master the techniques of lightning-quick blows and dodges, heroic leap charges and blade whirlwinds.
• Learn about the honor of the Knight of the Fellowship.
• Allow a dark lady to show you her beautiful side.
• Choose between eight optional romances, or end up alone.

Ivailo Daskalov 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 10

2017

Trials of the Thief-Taker — Fight crime and get rich as a 1700s bounty hunter!

Posted by: Rachel E. Towers | Comments (0)

We’re proud to announce that Trials of the Thief-Taker, 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 August 17th!

In London, 1729, before they had police, they had you: thief-takers, hunting criminals for cash! Fire a flintlock and sip gin in the age of powdered wigs. Will you grow rich catching smugglers and highwaymen, show mercy, or become a crime boss yourself?

Trials of the Thief-Taker is a 140,000-word interactive historical adventure novel by Joey Jones, 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.

As a thief-taker, paid by the court or hired by the victims of crime to recover property and, for an extra price, bring the culprit to justice, you’ll stalk your prey across the misty commons and narrow rookeries of 18th-century London. Lead a gang of unwashed ruffians (or stalk the streets alone) as you apprehend highwaymen on lonely roads, and root out crooks and counterfeiters in inns and coffeehouses. Through cunning, force, or suspicious connections, you will find your mark.

You may strike a blow for justice, making a name for yourself and bringing good people to your cause. Or you can create the crimes you intend to solve, stealing the goods you’ll be paid to recover, bribing prison guards to let your associates go, building your criminal empire while everyone lauds you as a hero.

Be quick or cautious, proper or disreputable, generous or mercenary…it’s all in a day’s work for a thief-taker.

Load your flintlock! There are thieves to take.

• Play as male, female, or as a woman disguised as a man; gay or straight.
• Make your way through a world ruled by manners, harsh laws, and lurking treachery.
• Run an empire of crime or establish the first police force…or both at the same time!
• Capture, befriend, or romance corrupt officials, escape artists, courtiers, highwaymen, smugglers and grave-robbers.
• Immerse yourself in Georgian lingo: learn the difference between a cove and a swell, a blue pigeon and an ark ruffian.
• Play the high-stakes dice game Hazard in the gaming houses of Covent Garden.
• Make your way with your silver tongue, a good horse, your street smarts or with two fists flying.

We hope you enjoy playing Trials of the Thief-Taker. 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 10

2017

New Hosted Game! Diamant Rose by Teo Kuusela

Posted by: Rachel E. Towers | Comments (0)

Hosted Games has a new game for you to play!

Diamonds are pouring out through the Iron Curtain, but somebody talked – your entire spy ring is either dead or disavowed. Everything ties back to what happened a decade prior in Africa, and you have to find out where it ends. The mission isn’t over.

Diamant Rose is a 87,000 word interactive cold war novel by Teo Kuusela, 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.

• Experience an exciting romp through the deadly world of espionage!
• Play the part of a French intelligence agent.
• Evade enemies, find old friends, manipulate those closest to your targets.
• Shut down a major operation funneling Soviet diamonds past the Iron Curtain.
• Will you focus on revenge, or redemption? Your future depends on your actions.

Teo Kuusela 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 07

2017

Author Interview: Joey Jones, “Trials of the Thief-Taker”

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

In London, 1729, before they had police, they had you: thief-takers, hunting criminals for cash! Fire a flintlock and sip gin in the age of powdered wigs. As a thief-taker, you are paid by the court or hired by the victims of crime to recover property and, for an extra price, bring the culprit to justice. I sat down with the Joey Jones, author of Choice of Games’ latest release, Trials of the Thief-Taker for a short interview. Thief-Taker is out this Thursday, August 10th. 

I loved the 18thC world of Thief-Taker including all the lingo and historic details in the game. Tell me what inspired you to write this period piece. 

My interest was first piqued by reading about the thief-taker, Jonathan Wild. He self-styled himself the Thief-Taker General and took it upon himself to publicly break up gangs and recover stolen items. He even pioneered some modern policing methods like separating suspects during interrogation. Behind this exterior he personally organised the gangs of London and had hanged on false charges anyone who got in his way. He got rich on the fees offered for thief-takers as well as the proceeds of crime. I thought this two-sided nature would make for a great premise of an interactive story.

What kind of research did you do before or during the writing?

For the initial research I buried myself away in the local university’s library, spending a week writing out lists of intriguing period elements I wanted to include, like smugglers, a masquerade, and highway robbery. During the writing I had a guide to the period slang, the ‘cant’, which I referred to throughout.

What did you find challenging about writing with ChoiceScript?

I found it quite straightforward to get to grips with, though there were some tricks that I wish I’d learned sooner! I discovered *gosub and *hide_reuse quite late into writing after developing a mess of workarounds with temporary variables.

Are you a fan of interactive fiction? Any favorite games you’d like to share?

Very much so! I’ve been writing interactive fiction for ten years now, having started with co-writing the philosophy text adventure The Chinese Room. I recommend Jim Munroe’s Everybody Dies. It’s a tightly written illustrated parser game with multiple perspectives. I can also recommend Hana Feels by Gavin Inglis (he also wrote For Rent: Haunted House and Neighbourhood Necromancer for Choice of Games). It’s an interactive story about a young woman dealing with self-harm played entirely through dialogue with significant people in her lives. The characters are superbly realised and the handling of the subject is sensitive and engaging. Of the CoG titles I’ve played, I particularly enjoyed the philosophy of art conversations in Lynnea Glasser’s Creatures Such As We.

What are you working on next?

I always have half a dozen projects on the go. I’ve got a picaresque puzzle game, a one-room game where you play as the room,  a procedurally generated dystopia generator, a game where you organise zoo animals in a revolution, all in various states of completion. It’s quite possible I’ll do another game with CoG!

Short Answer, Bernard Pivot Questionnaire 

Favorite color?

Burgundy.

Favorite word?

Peckish.

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

It’d be fun to do something completely different like marine conservation.

Which would you not ever want to attempt?

Insurance salesman.

“Family Bonds” or “Dog the Bounty Hunter”?

I watched a bit of Dog the Bounty Hunter. I find it interesting how it sells itself on the chases, but so much of the show is about heartfelt conversations with unlucky people who’ve made some bad choices.

Jul 27

2017

The Hero Unmasked! — Impersonate your twin as a champion of justice!

Posted by: Rachel E. Towers | Comments (0)

We’re proud to announce that The Hero Unmasked!, 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 30% off until August 2nd!

Impersonate your identical twin as the Swashbuckler, masked champion of justice! You have two weeks to rescue the REAL Swashbuckler and marry the mayor before superpowered criminals take over the city.

The Hero Unmasked! is a 300,000 word interactive novel by Christopher Huang. It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

As our story begins, you have everything you’ve ever wanted. Your TV news show is the highest rated in the city, and you’re engaged to the mayor, with two weeks until the wedding. But when superpowered criminals kidnap the Swashbuckler, you realize the awful truth: the person in the ransom video is your identical twin, and everyone thinks it’s you!

Now, you must draw the Swashbuckler’s laser sword and wear the Swashbuckler’s mask to bring down three of the city’s most wanted super criminals before time runs out.

How is this going to work? Can you keep up the charade? Do you want to? When you meet the Swashbuckler’s sweetheart, will you remain faithful? To whom?!

Who is really behind the mask?

• Play as male or female, gay or straight
• Infiltrate high society events and root out criminal hideouts
• Uncover the true identities of Caledon City’s superpowered criminals
• Disarm a bomb and save the city’s finest from destruction
• Maintain the masquerade as you learn about the Swashbuckler’s secret hero life
• Find romance with a journalist, a pyromaniac, or a vampire
• Become a powered hero in your own right

We hope you enjoy playing The Hero Unmasked!. 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.

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