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Apr 02

2020

New Hosted Game! The Aegis Saga by Charles Parkes

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

Hosted Games has a new game for you to play!

The blight eats the world while humans war for scraps. Will you fight, run, or lead your people to the stars? Or murderously ascend the human throne?

It’s 33% off until April 9th!

The blight eats the world while humans war for scraps. Will you fight, run, or lead your people to the stars? Or murderously ascend the human throne?

Two races clash; humans and turans–human discord versus turan magic. When the turans’ ancestors left the world to walk between stars, wild magic began returning. Now humans war to fill the vacuum, blind to the magical blight that is racing to smother the whole continent. High in their plateaus, the last turans must choose: Fight, follow their ancestors into the stars, or perish. And their fate rests on the life of a human child.

The Aegis Saga is a 280,000-word interactive fantasy novel by Charles Parkes, where your choices affect 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 male or female human, or as an ungendered turan; gay or straight.
  • Race through a hostile city on the back of a feaclaw.
  • Betray the trust of a powerful shaman as he teaches you to dance time.
  • Find love on the shingle beside a peaceful water garden.
  • Learn about glyf and how your magic can alter or destroy you!
  • See your personality change with your character development, without being locked into decisions to win stats checks.
  • Reread a page you missed, or skip ahead during a second read through.

Whether you try to understand the new world of the humans, or focus on the mysteries of the blight, either way, the child holds the key to everything.

Charles 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.

Apr 02

2020

New Hosted Game! The Kidnapped Prom Queen by Michael Gray

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

Hosted Games has a new game for you to play!

Terror has struck at Franklin High School! On the very day the prom court announcement, the prom queen is kidnapped! You and the rest of the prom committee members soon find yourself trapped in the school, held hostage by the scheming kidnapper. The only way to escape is to solve puzzles, search for clues, and go along with the culprit’s twisted game…but could the villain be closer than you think?

It’s 25% off until April 9th!

The Kidnapped Prom Queen is an exciting 120,000 word interactive novel by Michael Gray, 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 male or female.
  • Enjoy three different pathways, each with a different culprit!
  •  Over twenty different puzzles to solve.
  • Interact with an interesting cast of high schoolers.
  • Figure out the meaning of the kidnapper’s clues.
  • Suspense, mystery and secrets abound as you investigate.
  • Could one of your friends be working with the culprit?

Michael 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.

Mar 27

2020

Six of our classics. Free in the Choice of Games App.

Posted by: Dan Fabulich | Comments (0)

For a limited time, the following games are available for free in the Choice of Games omnibus app for iOS and Android, and free on our website.

Remember to click the “Play Now” button to access the game for free.

We know this is a difficult time for us all. Remember that we have a library of over 130 games in our convenient Choice of Games omnibus apps on iOS and Android, including 16 games that are now free to win, supported by ads. (That means you can play the whole game, for free, or support our authors by paying to turn off ads and delay breaks.) So in addition to today’s announcement, make sure you check out all our free Choice of Games titles:

Mar 05

2020

New Hosted Game! The Soul Stone War by Morgan Vane

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (1)

Hosted Games has a new game for you to play!

You are a person on the run from your past, and no matter how far or fast you go, you cannot outrun your destiny. In this epic journey, it’s not just your life that hangs in the balance. Ancient artifacts of untold power are waking up from their millennia-old sleep, and whoever controls them will help mold the shape of your world.

It’s 30% off until March 12th!

The Soul Stone War is a thrilling 487,000-word interactive fantasy novel by Morgan Vane, 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.

Embark on a journey of self-discovery, sacrifice, and heroism, meet the people that are bound to you through the threads of fate, fall in love or fall into despair. Will you rise up to the challenge that is to be a Soul Stone Wielder? Or will you allow the world to be shrouded in darkness? The choice is yours.

• Play as female, male, or non-binary; straight, gay, or bisexual.
• Be chosen by an all-powerful artifact—a Soul Stone assuming the form of eight different weapons and six different gemstones.
• Choose one of three different backgrounds, each one of them unique and providing different content for your roleplaying needs.
• Meet a cast of distinct characters—a prickly warrior, a mischievous she-elf, a half-dragon woman, a gentle noble with a dark past, and the mysterious antagonist. Forge friendships, or fall in love with each of them individually or in three different polyamorous relationships.
• Do battle with fierce enemies, grow in strength using your combat or magical prowess, your wits or persuasion. Become the Stone Wielder you’re meant to be against impossible odds.
• Immerse yourself in a world of magic, sacrifice, and love where your choices will determine the very fate of the world.
Your Soul Stone is waiting for you.

Morgan 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.

Feb 27

2020

Ironheart–Pilot a giant medieval iron war mech in 1182 AD!

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

We’re proud to announce that Ironheart, the latest in our popular “Choice of Games” line of multiple-choice interactive-fiction games, is now available for Steam, Android, and on iOS in the Choice of Games Omnibus app.

It’s 33% off until March 5th!

Pilot and customize a giant iron war mech in this alternate medieval history! In 1182 AD, the Papacy, the Caliphate, and the Mongols are at war, and they all have mechs–hulking war robots, powered by energy from mysterious “skystone” meteorites.

Ironheart is a 250,000-word interactive novel by Lee Williams. It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Our story begins in the far future, on a space mission to intercept a comet that can open wormholes through space and time. When your ship and the crew are sucked in and thrown backward through time, you awake from cryogenic suspension in 1182–at the height of the Third Crusade.

Trapped in the past, you must choose sides in the mech war between Saladin’s Caliphate, the Catholic Papacy, and Genghis Khan’s Mongolian Golden Horde.

Will you search doggedly for the rest of your crew or focus your energies on helping one of the factions in the war that rages around you? Do you seek to unite a divided land? Or use your advanced knowledge to gain wealth and power for yourself?

Along the way, you may meet historical figures such as Saladin, fight off attacks from the notorious order of Assassins and the secretive Knights Templar, or even take part in a grand tournament of mechs!

• Play as male, female or non-binary; gay, straight, bi or asexual.
• Pilot a giant medieval war machine! Choose how to equip, customize and decorate your machine.
• Take sides in the Third Crusade as a knight or emir. Rise through the ranks of your chosen faction or strike out alone.
• Hone your ability in a wide range of skills including warfare, diplomacy, medicine and engineering.
• Manage your own fiefdom. Decide how to govern, what to build and who to recruit.
• Entangle yourself with a wide supporting cast of characters, from fools and bandits to priests and princesses.
• Seek revenge, strive to build a better world or just live it up in the 12th century!

What new future will you forge now that the old one is gone?

We hope you enjoy playing Ironheart. We encourage you to tell your friends about it, and recommend the game on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, 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.

Feb 24

2020

Author Interview: Lee Williams, Ironheart

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

Pilot and customize a giant iron war mech in this alternate medieval history! In 1182 AD, the Papacy, the Caliphate, and the Mongols are at war, and they all have mechs–hulking war robots, powered by energy from mysterious “skystone” meteorites. Our story begins in the far future, on a space mission to intercept a comet that can open wormholes through space and time. When your ship and the crew are sucked in and thrown backward through time, you awake from cryogenic suspension in 1182–at the height of the Third Crusade.

Ironheart is a 250,000-word interactive novel by Lee Williams. I sat down with Lee to talk about his game, the Crusades, and why work-in-progress sharing works. Ironheart releases this Thursday, February 27th. 

Tell me a little about how you came to be writing for Choice of Games.
Like most good things that happen to me, I fell into it unexpectedly. I’ve been writing professionally for almost twenty years and a couple of years back I worked on a project with Gavin Inglis, who’d previously written a couple of excellent COG games, (For Rent: Haunted House and Neighbourhood Necromancer), and he recommended that I pitch some concepts. I was already a fan of the franchise so I followed his advice and here we are!

What drew you to this period of history for the subject of a game of interactive fiction?
I’ve always been fascinated by the Crusades and, in a broader sense, by all places and times where different cultures have rubbed up against one another with such dramatic results, seismic activity along the fault lines of history. It isn’t the conflict that interests me so much as the exchange of ideas and the ways in which the peoples and cultures involved were changed and often enriched by the contact.

The Crusades were vastly more complex than the simple clash of East and West that is often portrayed and I hope I’ve managed to capture some of that in Ironheart. Although I try to avoid having any sort of message or agenda in my writing, I think it’s worthwhile to reflect on this in a time when our own global politics seem to be increasingly polarised.

What was the most challenging part of writing Ironheart for you?
As I was writing, I was conscious of being tugged two ways: on one hand, I love the period and want to make it feel as authentic as I can, but on the other hand, my game has giant mechs in it! I tried hard to hit a sort of swashbuckling mood that could marry the setting and the silliness together and I just hope I’ve been successful.

How did you like working on it in a semi-public way, as a posted WIP on the forum?
I usually write in a complete vacuum so this was a new experience for me and I loved it. The forum was a really helpful source of feedback and encouragement and I made huge changes to the early chapters of the game in response to requests and suggestions from players.

I think it’s especially useful for interactive fiction to be developed in this way since player agency is such a large part of the experience. If I were writing a traditional novel, a reader could say “Oh, I wanted the main character to be more like this” or “I don’t think the main character would have done that” and I could simply dismiss their concerns with a lordly wave of my hand and say “Pshaw! It’s my story and my character, I know how it should be!” In interactive fiction, however, you can’t treat the player/reader like that–they’re in control of the protagonist and if they want to do something and can’t, that’s a fault you have to address.

(I wouldn’t really say “Pshaw” anyway. I had to check how to spell it and I’m not brave enough to try pronouncing it in conversation…)

Did you have a favorite NPC you liked writing? I think Tonzo will be a fan favorite.
He’s probably mine too. They say write what you know so a fool was easy! I especially enjoyed writing his interactions with Guillaume, his elderly master; they seemed like a natural double-act.

To be honest, I enjoyed writing all the characters. The structure of a COG game was really healthy for me as a writer because there’s an expectation that you cover every path a reader might care to take and this means writing a whole range of disparate characters. It forcibly broadens your focus and that’s really invigorating!

What are you working on next?
I’ve recently been able to take on enough writing work that at the start of 2020 I made the decision to step down from my other job, as a special educational needs co-ordinator in a local school. So it’s all clear horizons at the moment, exciting and terrifying in equal measures!

One of the reasons for my change of career was that I’d moved into a more administrative role and missed working with young people, so I’m hoping to marry the teaching and writing together by working on some educational games, with a particular focus on games designed to help children with emotional and behavioural regulation. I think there’s a lot of untapped potential for good in this area.

I also have a couple of collaborations on more traditional video games underway, and I’d love to write something else for Choice of Games in the future. ChoiceScript is a beautiful, flexible language and it’s been an absolute joy working on Ironheart.

Links to all my projects can be found on my website: www.leewilliams.eu

Feb 21

2020

Choice of Games’ The Magician’s Workshop by Kate Heartfield is a Nebula Finalist

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

We’re proud to announce that The Magician’s Workshop is a finalist for the 2019 Nebula Game Writing Award–and it’s on sale this week!

Last year the renowned science fiction and fantasy awards added a game writing category, and Choice of Games authors M. Darusha Wehm (The Martian Job), Natalia Theodoridou (Rent-a-Vice), and Kate Heartfield (The Road to Canterbury) were finalists, alongside (winner) Netflix’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, and Santa Monica Studio’s God of War.

This year, Kate Heartfield has again been named a finalist for her game The Magician’s Workshop, and we’re celebrating by putting it on sale until February 27th! The game is on sale on Android, Steam, and the Choice of Games Omnibus app on iOS.

The Nebula Awards take place at the end of May: watch this space and keep your fingers crossed for our finalist!

Feb 21

2020

Our Hidden Gems Are on Sale!

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

Thanks to a very scientific poll conducted on our forums, we’re proud to announce that our “most underrated” games, aka the hidden gems, are on sale until February 27th!

Pick them up on the platform of your choice–Android, Android Omnibus app, iOS and iOS Omnibus app, Steam (where applicable), the website, and on the Amazon Android Marketplace! 

Choice of Games Titles: $2.99 USD EACH!
Avatar of the Wolf
Cannonfire Concerto
The ORPHEUS Ruse
Sixth Grade Detective
Weyrwood

Hosted Games Titles:
Divided We Fall now $0.99!
Elemental Saga: The Awakening now $1.99
Marine Raider now $0.99
My Day Off Work now $2.99
The Saga of Oedipus Rex now $2.99

Feb 20

2020

Zip! Speedster of Valiant City–Use your speedster powers to battle villains!

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

We’re proud to announce that Zip! Speedster of Valiant City, the latest in our popular “Choice of Games” line of multiple-choice interactive-fiction games, is now available for Steam, the web, and on Android and iOS in the Choice of Games Omnibus app.

It’s free to win, and $4.99 to turn off advertisements and delay breaks, discounted to $2.99 until February 27th! Turning off ads also unlocks special content!

Please note this is a special, omnibus-only release on mobile.

Use your speedster powers to defeat the superpowered Sloth and save the day, all while tracking down a deadly new weapon threatening your city! There’s no room for error in the hero business, not even for the fastest person in the world. One tiny mistake against your deadliest foe threatens to end your career and plunge your city in chaos.

Zip! Speedster of Valiant City is a 48,000-word superpowered interactive novel by Eric Moser. It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

As a superpowered hero, you’ve beaten the Sloth before, but this time he’s finally gotten the upper hand (claw?) and he’s aiming his deadly new device right at the innocent citizens of Valiant City. It’s up to you to stop him and his terrible machine before time runs out!

  • Play as male, female, or non-binary; gay, straight, or bi.
  • Use your speed powers to battle an array of superpowered foes.
  • When facing especially tough decisions, use your limited supply of Juice to run even faster.
  • Focus on your struggling relationship with your romantic partner or flirt with a new hero.
  • Train your snarky sidekick to prepare for battle with the Sloth, or leave her to make her own mistakes.
  • Unleash your powers to run for mayor, land a lucrative endorsement deal, or run your enemies out of town.
  • Destroy the Sloth’s machine, learn how to disarm it, or even convince to Sloth to give up his criminal scheme.
  • Paying to turn off advertisements (or buying the whole game on Steam) will also unlock a special power boost feature!

Are you fast enough to thwart the Sloth’s scheme and save the day?

We hope you enjoy playing Zip! Speedster of Valiant City. We encourage you to tell your friends about it, and recommend the game on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, 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.

Feb 17

2020

Author Interview: Eric Moser, Zip! Speedster of Valiant City

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

Use your speedster powers to defeat the superpowered Sloth and save the day, all while tracking down a deadly new weapon threatening your city! There’s no room for error in the hero business, not even for the fastest person in the world. One tiny mistake against your deadliest foe threatens to end your career and plunge your city in chaos. Zip! Speedster of Valiant City is a 48,000-word superpowered interactive novel by Eric Moser. I sat down with Eric to talk about his commitment to writing superpowered heroes.

This is your first Choice of Games title, but not your first ChoiceScript game. Tell me a little about the Community College Hero series.

Just a little? Okay, here’s my elevator pitch to potential new readers!

The Community College Hero series, published by Hosted Games, follows the exploits of young adults who are students at essentially a “community college for people with crappy powers.”

There’s lots of action, and plenty of tough choices for the player to make, but I focused primarily on character development and humor, two elements that I think carry most stories. If I’m not invested in the characters, whether it’s in a movie, book, television series, or ChoiceScript game, I lose interest. For me, humor grounds a story in reality; it doesn’t feel authentic when the ass-kicking hero growls their dialogue and never cracks a joke.

And when you find yourself laughing with characters, I think it’s easier to find yourself crying too, because the attachment has been built; it’s real. Players have emailed me telling me how the series brought them to tears, and I can assure you that is a very humbling thing to hear.

Anyway, I really leaned into the idea that even heroes who can’t lift buses or shoot laser beams from their eyes would still need training to control their abilities…but they may not need the very best training. Mediocre training will do just fine! So, we find ourselves at Speck Community College, in the fictional town of Speck, Nebraska, with questionable professors, rookie heroes, and distrustful locals. The school hopes to ease students into their training, but when a new villain targets the school, the kids have to grow up fast!

The series starts with Community College Hero: Trial by Fire, and continues with Community College Hero: Knowledge is Power.

How did you stumble onto writing ChoiceScript games?

I have no idea! I remember loving so many of the earliest ChoiceScript games, like the Heroes Rise series and Choice of the Star Captain, but I don’t remember what made me decide to take the plunge to become an author.

Until Trial by Fire was published in 2015, I had never published any creative work, so it’s not like I knew what I was getting into. I remember spending most of 2013 and 2014 typing scenes on our living room computer after my kids went to bed each night. It was a painstaking process, and I relied heavily on the support of my wife and encouragement from the folks on the Choice of Games forums. If you’re reading this, but haven’t checked out the forums, I’d encourage you to do so. There are tons of resources for aspiring writers and discussion threads for players to share their experiences about their favorite ChoiceScript games.

What’s the deal with you and superpowered heroes?

Stories about superpowered people can fall into all sorts of genres and can convey all types of themes, so there’s a lot of flexibility there as a writer that appeals to me. I guess I include the powers because I like the trappings, but also, I like the idea of exploring how powers could intersect with our existing societal expectations and institutions.

For example, in Community College Hero, the school requires students to study Hero and Enemy Law and Liability, which can be shortened to HELL. I’m an attorney by trade, and I think there’s a ton of potential to really dig into how the law would have to adapt if people were to start developing powers. I mean, who would insure these people? Who pays for all of the collateral damage? Either the government steps in, or an entire new area of insurance is created. Now some people might be yawning at this point, but I’m like, “I want more of this!” I wish I could have explored the legal aspects even more than I did. Maybe one of these days, I’ll write a superpowered legal thriller.

There’s a lot of thematic freedom, too, in writing superpowered stories. Community College Hero has a lot of coming of age elements, combined with some fish out of water aspects as well.

With Zip!, I switched things up. In this story, I wanted to explore the life of an established hero, perhaps even one past their prime. Thematically, it was a natural fit to make the character a speedster, because no one can outrun their mortality, not even the fastest person in the world. I included some midlife crisis messages in Zip!, as well as themes about keeping up with progress and knowing when to pass the torch to the next generation. These are things we grapple with more as we age, and much of it really hit home with me. I hope players feel the same way, even if you’re one of the people still waiting for others to pass the torch.

Zip! is part of a new thing we’re trying: publishing some shorter games like Choice of the Dragon, which are free with ads. What’s the secret to writing a short but engaging game?

For me, the key word is engaging. For Zip!, I really wanted readers to live the story. By this, I mean there is very little ‘telling.’ This game is almost 100 percent about the ‘showing.’

Your character is constantly on the move, pursuing various goals, but always aware of a looming showdown that could be your last. There’s a lot of dialogue, much of it banter, all designed to develop the characters and further the plot. The story only covers a few days. I chose this tight timeframe to help build tension and stress the sense of urgency. There just wasn’t room for extraneous material.

I used a smaller cast of characters to give each more time to breath. I think I succeeded in doing so, but I’m pretty sure that one character in particular will be a favorite of players. I won’t say who!

Lastly, the vast majority of choices directly affect your progress toward your goals, and in turn, affect the different endings. So, while there may be fewer choices when compared to a standard Choice of Games release, virtually all of the choices are important, which I think will ramp up the tension for the player from the very start.

I love this Sloth villain. Tell me a little about his genesis. 

I love him too! I’ll watch what I say to avoid spoilers, but I’ve always thought that the best villains are the ones with legitimate grievances but who then adopt entirely disproportionate measures. It’s like you identify with them, and on some level, you might even root for them, but then they go and do something too extreme, and you’re like, “Oh, why did you have to do that? You lost me there!”

But yeah, I wanted to create the perfect villain for the player’s speedster, and thus the Sloth was born! I was inspired by Aesop’s fable, The Tortoise and the Hare, and the exploration of matching speed against persistence. Being fast doesn’t make you invincible. All it takes is one wrong move by the hare, and the ‘tortoise’ might just end up on top!

What are you working on next?

I wish I could write these games full-time. It’s always a struggle to choose the next project. I have at least half a dozen fairly well-developed story ideas in my head (or on spreadsheets), a few of which I’ve mentioned to Choice of Games staff.

For 2020, my priority is absolutely to finish All Things End. I want to give my Community College Hero characters the sendoff they deserve and give the players the endings they desire! But I might have time for a side project this year. In that case, I’ll likely continue work on Talon City, a legal thriller set in a city of anthropomorphic birds, or draft a follow-up to Zip!, assuming that players enjoy this one!

Anyone interested in my projects can visit my website, fictionbyericmoser.com, for more information.

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