Jun 30


Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation Announced, Takes Over IFComp

Posted by: Dan Fabulich | Comments (2)

Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation

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:

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

Jun 23


Affairs of the Court: Choice of Romance on Steam

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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


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

Posted by: Dan Fabulich | Comments (1)


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


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

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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


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.

May 20


Choice of the Pirate — Plunder ghost ships for cursed treasure!

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Choice of the Pirate

We’re proud to announce that Choice of the Pirate, 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 May 27th!

Plunder ghost ships for cursed treasure! Battle the Crown Navy, sea monsters, and other bloodthirsty pirates on a quest to rival the Pirate King himself!

Choice of the Pirate is a fast-paced swashbuckler of an interactive novel by Alana Joli Abbott, author of “Choice of Kung Fu” and “Showdown at Willow Creek.” Your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based—165,000 words, without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Rise from a deck-swabbing sailor to fleet commander over five years of piracy in the tropical paradise of the Lucayan Sea. Command the winds with magic, or board enemy ships with your cutlass in your teeth.

Will you play as male, female, or nonbinary? Find romance as gay, straight, bi, or poly, or pursue friendships and alliances instead? Will you join the Crown as a privateer and bring pirates to heel? Will you parley with the Pirate King to protect the Lucayan from the navy’s rule? Or will you duel the Pirate King and claim his power for yourself?

Buckle yer swash and set sail for adventure!

  • Develop your skills as a swashbuckler, sailor, diplomat, scoundrel, or weather-mage.
  • Explore a chain of tropical islands where buried treasure and secret pirate camps are hidden.
  • Face pirate curses, haunted ships, terrifying monsters, and the wrath of the sea herself.
  • Spy for the Crown or become a double agent to support the Pirate King.
  • Become a celebrated hero or a ruthless villain.
  • Play as male, female, or nonbinary; gay, straight, bi, poly, or asexual.

We hope you enjoy playing Choice of the Pirate. 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.

May 16


Author Interview: Alana Abbott on Choice of the Pirate

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (1)

COG author Alana Abbott (Choice of Kung Fu, Showdown at Willow Creek) sat down with me over email to trade a couple questions about her experiences writing Choice of the Pirate which lands in stores this Friday, May 20th.


How did this game come about? I was especially impressed with your nautical knowledge and some of the sailing-related stuff.

I’ve always loved pirate mythology, and even after I grew up enough to realize that real-world piracy involved a lot of preying on innocent people, the legends remained a delight. I love the swashbuckling action of pirate movies. I really love the haunted superstitious aspects of some of the folklore. One of my favorite collections is a book about pirates and ghost ships I picked up when I was studying abroad in Venezuela. Plenty of eerie tales in that one. As for the nautical knowledge… I have an in-home sailor who has a ton of real-world boating experience, and I enlisted his fact checking more than once! I also visited Mystic Seaport in Mystic, Connecticut several times while writing the game. It’s a recreated, historical whaling village, and the ships there are a little newer than the golden age of piracy.

I love Mystic, yeah. That would be a very inspirational place for a game like this. You know, Pirate is unique for me in that it fulfills not just some, but all of the progressive options I like to see in a game. There are options to play the game as male, female, nonbinary; gay, straight, bi, and asexual. And, this is also our first game with a true poly option. That’s a lot. Authors sometimes shy from creating these options for players, but it’s certainly doable. Can you speak to your experience writing, for instance, not only an ace option but a poly option?

Romance is something I’ve struggled with doing well in all my games to this point, so I’ve constantly tried to improve each game from the last. I did start with an asexual option in Choice of Kung Fu, because a couple of my playtesters really wanted options that didn’t involve romance. I was touched to receive feedback after the game was released from a player who identified as asexual at how much the options resonated, so I set about making the asexual options more intentional from the get go–something my playtesters didn’t have to encourage.

The poly option came about because I’d already written an early romance possibility into the game when I reached the scene where most of the romance options were being introduced. From a design perspective, I didn’t want to be limiting, and I thought that poly relationships in the setting I had designed could be a really natural fit. So I played with making the coding work to allow a really wide variety of relationship possibilities, and introduced text that would respect the complexities of balancing a poly relationship–all while trying to take into account whether the actions the PC takes would damage or enhance those relationships. It was definitely tough to keep all the options fluid! But I hope that the players will find the results engaging, fun, and resonant.

Although that makes me wonder if someone who chooses to play as ace is necessarily going to have a shorter playthrough.

Not due to that choice, I hope! The ace option let me highlight the importance of non-sexual friendships, which I think can sometimes get lost in the romantic options, and friendships across genders is something I feel very strongly about! Players can always choose to spend more time developing their skills than spending time with their crew–which might end up feeling like a shorter option, because there could be less dialog. But I absolutely made an effort to open up similar conversation trees outside of the romance options, so ace players won’t be missing anything.

The world of Pirate is one in which magic can play a huge role. Tell me a little bit about “cambiar,” which in English means change or exchange. In the world of Pirate cambiar stands for a kind of magic or power over the natural world.

I wanted to create a magic system for Pirate that would involve things like wind and water, but wouldn’t feel too much like Bending from Avatar! My thoughts were really about invoking something natural and making it supernatural. How can you trip someone on deck with magic? Convince the wood on deck to rot beneath them–something it wants to do eventually anyway, you’re just changing the process. Likewise, the winds aren’t always constant, and using cambiar just convinces them to go a certain way they might go on a different day. Cambiar is harnessing the power of the natural world and just… changing it a bit here and there. Sometimes it’s a little more dramatic than others in the game, but most of it is practical nautical work: filling your own sails and cutting the wind to a foe’s.

The ghosts and curses, of course, are something entirely different!

This is actually not your first rodeo. You’re also the author of two other games for us, Showdown at Willow Creek and Choice of Kung Fu. These are some seriously disparate genres to write in. Going back to my first question, sort of, can you tell me a little about your process in finding a project/period/genre that interests you?

When I’m looking at pitching a new game to Choice of Games, I try to take a look at the ideas that have already been covered and find a hole to fill with something I like. I’m a martial artist and I love kung fu movies, and I had devoured Romance of the Three Kingdoms a few years earlier, and there weren’t any martial arts games in the catalog yet, so it seemed like a good fit. I wanted to try something entirely different for the next game, with a different structure and setting, and I’d written for Cowboys and Aliens II which was set during the same period, so I had a stack of research on the era. I picked a region a little farther north than where C&A took place, so I delved into the local tribes and politics of the era and got to play with a little bit of suffragette lore from that period as well! With Pirate, I got to stay in the Americas–albeit fictional ones–and I drew on the Caribbean Lit course I took in college, my own limited personal experience in the region, and a lot of folklore I already loved.

That may look like it’s all over the map–and that’s sort of the point. I love to travel, and I love to read in a wide variety of settings and periods (though mainly in SFF, with some romance in the mix). Because (thus far) my games are stand-alone, I have a great excuse to explore a totally different period and setting that I’m already interested in for each project.

What in particular attracted you to writing IF? How did you come to write for us in the first place?

Writing for Choice of Games is like this perfect hybrid of writing fiction (which I do) and writing for tabletop roleplaying (which I used to do a lot more than I do now)–although of all the writing I’ve done, I think it’s the most challenging! Like most gamers and fantasy readers around my age, I grew up on the Choose Your Own Adventure books and really enjoyed them, but always found it disappointing when you’d hit a tree that was only a few pages long and had to start over. I liked the idea of being able to design a story that would allow that kind of interaction, or, even better, interaction reminiscent of sitting around a game table, but would also feel like reading a novel. I’ve played many of the Choice of Games games by now, and I love how my choices matter as a reader. I’ve even loved those shorter ending death scenes on occasion–one of my favorite deaths is in To the City of the Clouds; I laughed out loud when I hit it, it was so entertaining.

I was recruited to write my first game at Anonycon, this wonderful, small game convention in Stamford, Connecticut. Adam Strong-Morse knew I was a gamer, game-writer, and a fiction writer, so he asked if I’d be interested. The rest is history!

In terms of the type of game design principles that Choice of Games puts forward in our editorial process, can you speak a bit to the constraints of how we design games? What do you like most about it, and what is sometimes a stumbling block for you?

I find the framework to be very helpful, honestly. I like the branching structure, and I like the guidelines that try to keep the story from becoming too linear–although as with any kind of interactive writing, that’s always a big challenge, even when you do your best to avoid railroading the players in any fashion. One of my biggest challenges tends to be not taking the branches too far in one direction so it’s hard to come back to what I think of as the main story line. I know my word count tends to be on the high side–but any given run through of the game sees only a portion of that, which can make the game seem shorter than the writing would indicate. I worked with the editors to hammer Pirate into shape so we could make sure that each play through has a really satisfactory amount of text, but also has a high replay value with the different text options.

Writing in the code is also a challenge in itself, because it’s applying the grammar of a foreign language (the code) to the prose, and then keeping track of where the heck I am inside of it. I learn something new from each game I write (and most of them that I read/play)–something I want to try differently the next time, or structure a different way. Each game has its own particular new and different hurdles to overcome!

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

What is your favorite word?


What is your least favorite?


What turns you on creatively?

Sometimes there are ideas that just percolate for a long time before they finally bubble to the surface, so there’s no real “on” switch. But occasionally I’ve been so irritated by some fiction I’m reading that I decide to write something

What turns you off?

Lack of sleep. I find it really hard to be creative when I’m exhausted.

What is your favorite IF novel other than your own?

Can I list more than one? The game I loved in total surprise–because I didn’t think it would be my thing when I picked it up–was Slammed by Paolo Chikiamco which is amazing and really drew me in and made me care about the professional wrestling setting. I think Max Gladstone’s Choice of the Deathless is fantastic, and I’m a fan of the Craftverse, so it was huge fun to get to play in it myself. (Also, there are references to the game in future books, and I find that interplay utterly delightful.) And lastly, For Rent: Haunted House was so fun I went online and bought Gavin Inglis’s novel Crap Ghosts. Well worth it!

[Ed. Alana lists off some of my absolute favorites, which I consider somewhat hidden gems in our catalogue. You wouldn’t think you wanted to play a game about wrestling, but Slammed is fantastic, for instance.]

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

The best strategy I’ve developed is one I got from Jennifer Lynn Barnes, and it’s called BIC. Butt-In-Chair. I have to sit there until I figure it out (without getting distracted by Facebook!).

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

There is so much room in what I do–I’m a writer and an editor, and I’ve just accepted the Editor in Chief position for Outland Entertainment, where I’ll be editing their comics line–that I feel like I’m always getting to do something new. I recently started writing more frequently for Den of Geek, where I get to analyze things like My Little Pony, Serial Fiction, and Star Wars. So there’s a lot of diversity in my current profession.

But if I had the training, I think I’d have liked to be an archaeologist. And I don’t have the height or the vision requirements or science background for it, but I always wanted to be an astronaut.

What profession would you not like to do?

I was really disappointed to find out that I don’t enjoy teaching. I find it to be a failing of character on my part.

Creamy or crunchy?

Creamy. I can’t handle bits in my bread, let alone my peanut butter!

May 11


Bid on a new auction lot in our 2016 charity auction!

Posted by: Dan Fabulich | Comments (0)

Our 2016 charity auction is still ongoing. You can bid to name your own character in one of our upcoming games until the auction closes on Thursday, May 19th. Today we’re announcing the addition of a new seventh auction lot!

Name a Fallen God in “Exile of the Gods”

Exile of the Gods

The Gods of Xylhis have been banished to the Western Lands by their own mortal servants. Now you, the Champion, have been charged with returning the fallen deities to power, and punishing those who betrayed them. Will you carry out your mission as planned, or find a way to free your world from the gods once and for all?

The winner of the lot will have the opportunity name one of the fallen gods of Xylhis, one of the great generals of Xylhis, or a daring Agossian spy who infiltrates Xylhis during the story.

Exile of the Gods is the sequel to Champion of the Gods, a multiple-choice interactive novel by Jonathan Valuckas (The Fleet).

Please tell your friends about these auctions! The more people bid, the more we’ll be able to raise for charity.

May 06


New Hosted Game! Starship Adventures by Adrao, Doctor, Eric Moser, Felicity Banks, and Jac Colvin

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Hosted Games has a new game for you to play!

Starship Adventures

You’re a naturally heroic and quick-thinking space captain flying a starship from world to world while keeping your hair groomed to perfection. It’s your duty to keep the engine running, the scotch flowing, the crew happy, and your outfit looking fabulous. There’s carnivorous flora, deceptive aliens, space anomalies, horrifying creatures, and too many arch enemies to keep track of them all! Can you survive?

Starship Adventures is a 50s-style sci-fi interactive comedy novel; a collaboration coordinated and edited by Felicity Banks. It’s entirely text-based—60,000 words, without graphics or sound effects–and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

  • Enjoy a 60,000­ word retro science fiction adventure.
  • Fight with lazers, a jet pack, or both.
  • Become a well-known hero of the galaxy… or raise the money for a spiffy new paint job.
  • Play as male or female, gay or straight, or non-cisgendered.
  • Explore the universe, meet new creatures… and cheat, befriend, or kill them.

The team 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.

May 06


New Hosted Game! Doomsday on Demand by Norbert Mohos

Posted by: Dan Fabulich | Comments (0)

Hosted Games has a new game for you to play!

Doomsday on Demand

Survive in the demolished district after the nuclear bombings. Face mutants born of the nuclear radiation, while dealing with what humans are left in the struggle for the hope to end your living nightmare. Decide who you’ll trust and overcome the challenges that await you.

Doomsday on Demand is an interactive novel by Norbert Mohos. 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.

  • Enjoy a 102,000-word novel filled with action, drama, and tough decisions.
  • Face deadly enemies, varying from humans to mutants.
  • Learn to overcome and adapt to the danger that lurks around every corner.
  • Decide who you’ll trust. Build and strengthen friendships or make enemies.
  • Choose your personality. Let your conscience guide you to goodness or turn evil and look out for only yourself.

Norbert 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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