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Apr 24

2018

Author Interview: Kate Heartfield, “The Road to Canterbury”

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

London, 1375. The Black Prince of England is dying, and peace with France hangs in the balance. You are a young pauper on a secret mission. Join a pilgrimage to Canterbury with the powerful noblewoman Philippa de Roet, co-sister-in-law to the Black Prince, and Philippa’s husband, Geoffrey Chaucer himself, the customs agent, spy, and occasional poet. Your mission is to persuade Philippa to change the course of history. The Road to Canterbury is a 175,000 word interactive medieval adventure novel by Kate Heartfield. I sat down with Kate to talk about The Canterbury Tales and her experiences writing The Road to Canterbury, which releases this Thursday, April 26th. 

What inspired this game? Obviously The Canterbury Tales did, but I mean what inspired you to write this game?

The Canterbury Tales seemed perfectly suited to an interactive adaptation: after all, Chaucer describes a very interactive form of story-telling, in which the pilgrims interrupt each other’s stories, or choose their own tales in response to each other. Chaucer gave us a set of timeless and entertaining characters, and I was eager to put them (or people very like them) on the road together and see what happened. I’m also very interested in the politics that ran through Geoffrey Chaucer’s life: I majored in political science, so I’m always fascinated by those undercurrents in history.

What did you find most challenging about writing interactive fiction?

I have a tendency to get tangled up in my plots, even with a single linear storyline, so keeping everything clear in my own mind was a challenge. Although I do outline, I am also the kind of writer whose tales evolve in the telling, so I wrote myself into corners more than once, or ended up with bugs because I ended a scene with a different conception of the plot than I’d started it with.

Did you have a favorite character in this game?

Oh, that’s a tough call! Probably Philippa de Roet, who in real life was not only married to Chaucer but was also right in the middle of all the intrigue at the English court at the time. Next to the player’s, her decisions matter most in the game, and she has a complex, thoughtful personality.

What do you want players to know about this period of history and the folks who populate it?

One thing that was in the back of my mind as I wrote the game is that medieval Europe was not as homogeneous as it’s often portrayed. There were, for example, people of color and people of various religious beliefs, in 14th century England, and the notions we have about what women could and couldn’t do in the Middle Ages tend to be overly simplistic.

Medieval Europe wasn’t static, either. The England of 1375 was changing, largely because of the social and economic effects of the Black Death a generation before. Parliament’s influence was growing, and the game takes place only six years before the Peasants’ Revolt. It’s also right in the middle of the Hundred Years War between France and England. Many of the pilgrims’ concerns are not that different from ours today: they argue about tariffs and trade, for example, and about whether pacifism is a viable ideology.

What else are you working on now?

My debut novel will be in bookstores in mid-May, and the ebook version is releasing April 24. It’s a historical fantasy set in 14th century Flanders, called Armed in Her Fashion, and as it happens, the epigraph is a quote from The Canterbury Tales.

In late 2018, I’ll have a time-travel novella called Alice Payne Arrives out from Tor.com Publications. I’m working on the sequel to that novella now.

I’m also working on a bunch of short fiction, and I’m in the early stages of planning another project for Choice of Games. Stay tuned!

Short answer, Bernard Pivot-style questionnaire:

Favorite color? Dark green.

Favorite word? Unbeknownst.

Profession, other than your own you would like to attempt? Archaeologist.

Profession you would never want to attempt? Anything more than three feet off the ground.

Middle English or Modern Translation? Middle English (the Penguin Classics edition glosses the difficult words very nicely) but I also like the Usborne illustrated edition for kids.

Apr 12

2018

Silverworld — Survive the past. Save the future.

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

We’re proud to announce that Silverworld, 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 April 19th!

In a world of trackless jungles, colossal beasts, and cruel pre-human civilizations, you must survive the past if you want to save the future! You were only meant to guard the laboratory, but when a treacherous power cripples Doctor Sabbatine’s time machine, you’re left stranded! Face the savage inhabitants of Silverworld and build your own civilization—or plunder the past and return home unimaginably rich!

Silverworld is a 560,000-word interactive time-travel fantasy novel by Kyle Marquis, 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.

You need allies to survive, but who can you trust? The locals may have already betrayed you to appease their enemies. The empress back home has ordered you to plunder this new world. Your friend survived the crash only for the jungle to infect him, transforming him into something inhuman. And the expedition’s chief adviser has imprisoned the Icons—architects of the universe, masters of time—and fled to build his own civilization.

Can you rebuild Doctor Sabbatine’s time machine and return home? You must protect your timeline, but at what cost? And after leading the people of Silverworld, will you even want to?

• Play as male, female, or nonbinary; straight, gay, bi, or ace.
• Carve out your own Stone Age nation.
• Face giant lizards, renegade airships, feathered apes, and the volcano fortress of the snake people!
• Uncover the secret history of your benefactor Doctor Sabbatine and her robot helpers.
• Confront challenges with threats or charm, overt violence or subtle tricks.
• Use modern technology to survive, or abandon it and go native!
• Protect the past from exploitation, or be the first to cash in.
• Fight the False Icon, surrender to its will, or try to trick it into granting you your heart’s desire.
• Befriend, betray, and romance robots, invincible warriors, and bee women from the Crystal Plains.
• Fight to free the Icons—the creators of the universe—or enslave them for your own ends.

You can save the future…if you can survive the past.

We hope you enjoy playing Silverworld. 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.

Available in the “Choice of Games” app for iPhone and iPad

The Choice of Games “omnibus” app is a new way to play our games on iOS: a single app that collects all of our Choice of Games titles in one place.

(The omnibus app is only available on iOS for now, not Android.)

Download the omnibus for free, and you’ll receive free, unlimited access to some of our classics, and free demos of our greatest hits and new releases.

Learn more about the omnibus in our omnibus FAQ on our website.

Give it a try!

Apr 10

2018

Author Interview: Kyle Marquis, “Silverworld”

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

In a world of trackless jungles, colossal beasts, and cruel pre-human civilizations, you must survive the past if you want to save the future! You were only meant to guard the laboratory, but when a treacherous power cripples Doctor Sabbatine’s time machine, you’re left stranded! Face the savage inhabitants of Silverworld and build your own civilization—or plunder the past and return home unimaginably rich!

Silverworld is a 560,000-word interactive time-travel fantasy novel by Kyle Marquis, author of Empyrean. I sat down with Kyle to find out more about Silverworld and his upcoming Choice of Games projects. Silverworld releases this Thursday, April 12th.


Silverworld
is your second game. What lessons did you carry over from writing Empyrean?

The main lesson from writing a Choice of Games game is that they’re not like any other game–not a text adventure, not a module for a tabletop RPG. Game mechanics that work in one system don’t necessarily translate. Anyone who’s tried to implement an elaborate inventory system in Choicescript has learned that lesson. For Silverworld, I streamlined the stat system, focusing on unipolar variables (Charisma, Education) instead of opposed variables (Charming/Domineering, Formal Education/Street Smarts), and simplified the testing mechanics. That’s a technical way of saying that Silverworld is built to be intuitive and easy to understand. In Empyrean you’re an ace pilot, an idea most gamers are familiar with. Silverworld is a time-travel alt-history game where you get to build a Stone Age village and fight evil crystal gods; the mechanics had to be clear so the players could focus on the world they’re trying to survive in.

This one’s a massive 500,000 words, which puts it in the top 3 or 4 games for length we’ve published. And in fact, when Empyrean came out at 300k+ words it was one of our longest at the time. Any comment?

I believe you can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it and don’t understand how much trouble you’re making for yourself.

In fact I had two related goals with Silverworld. First, I wanted to let players choose in what order they tackled the challenges facing them. Scenes in Silverworld aren’t linear; to repair your time machine, you can seek out components in any one of three areas, in any order, and the challenges change based on how far along in the game you are. Second, I wanted to avoid one of the main problems with games where you’re given that kind of agency: they can feel like the whole world is static, with other people just hanging around rather than pursuing their own goals. So in Silverworld, you act, then your enemies, rivals, and companions advance their own plans, then you act again, back and forth as you react against each-other. You’re up against some ruthless and clever competition, from ruthless colonizers to ancient gods, and I wanted to keep the pressure on the player while still giving them a range of options. The result is a large and very complicated game full of many different ways to solve the problems facing you.

Give me a little background on Silverworld. Is it a time travel game? Is it an alternate history? Is it primarily about the volcano fortress of the snake people?

There are snake people, and they do conduct horrific scientific experiments from a fortress hidden inside a volcano. There are also feathered apes, riding lizards, an airship full of insane survivalists, jungle cults, and at least one T. Rex. It’s that kind of game. But what I wanted to do with Silverworld is take a lot of old Lost World tropes (and they are old–Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote The Lost World over a century ago!) and tie them together in a new way. Silverworld is a savage world adventure, but I wanted to use those tropes to explore civilization and colonialism, the spread of technology and the nature of political control. It’s a game about history, religion, civilization, and the origins and nature of justice.

But you’ve actually also been writing another game, a “shorter” game, alongside Silverworld, called The Tower Behind the Moon. Tell us a little about it.

Tower is a fantasy game about an archmage seeking ascension. Fantasy wizards seem to have a sort of life-cycle, like cicadas: (1) apprentice, (2) adventurer-wizard, (3) wizard-in-a-tower, (4) wizard-god. I wanted to tell a story about what happens in the last month between (3) and (4), about how a wizard escapes the bounds of the mortal world…or fails to do so.

Though there’s still plenty of action–monsters to confront and enemy wizards to duel–Tower is less of an adventure story than Empyrean or Silverworld; it’s quieter and more elegiac. You play a magician who is, in a way, attending their own funeral, wrapping up loose ends before departing to become an archon, or a deity, or an entombed lich or something even stranger. You settle debts, make sure your apprentice and other helpers have a place in a world without you, and try to make peace with the mistakes you made and the things you’ve done for power and knowledge.

Are you ever concerned that the extremely specific worlds you write are Lynchianly incomprehensible and alienating to our readers?

In my experience, people are surprisingly comfortable with weird situations and settings as long as they can follow a clear emotional journey. Decades of familiarity have normalized many franchises for us–think Star Wars or the Marvel universe–but if you try explaining them without using any proper nouns, you realize two things. First, the individual parts are very, very weird. (Two robots need a space wizard to help them rescue a princess. A cryogenically preserved World War 2 super-soldier and a huge angry green scientist fight a Norse god and his alien army.) Second, stories with clear character arcs are easy to understand even if the details are unfamiliar. In Silverworld, you play a poor nobody forced to take charge when an experiment goes disastrously wrong. However a player approaches the deadly world they’re trapped in, as a noble hero or self-interested crook, as a warrior or a diplomat, they can follow their character’s emotional development through the course of the story. Deliver that, and it doesn’t matter how weird the snake people are.

Speaking of extremely specific worlds: Pon Para is your next big project for Choice of Games, the first part of which would likely be out sometime in the summer of 2019, yes?

I’m just getting started on Pon Para and the Great Southern Labyrinth, which is the first game in a Bronze Age fantasy trilogy. What will Pon Para look like, exactly? It depends on what people like most about Silverworld. The audience for Choice of Games is still figuring out what they want from these strange and wonderful games, and as long as I get to invent my weird little worlds and populate them with people you can date and/or swordfight, I’m glad to shape my games around what people like most.

Apr 05

2018

The Hero Project: Open Season — Can you win America’s #1 reality show for heroes?

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

We’re proud to announce that The Hero Project: Open Season, 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 April 12!

Can you win The Hero Project, America’s #1 reality competition for heroes? Team up with allies old and new to unravel a conspiracy threatening your world, and save the planet from destruction!

The Hero Project: Open Season is a 170,000-word interactive novel, and the final installment of Zachary Sergi’s Hero Project series. It’s entirely text-based–without graphics or sound effects–and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

In a competition full of heroic stars, will you rise high enough to influence the way society views Powered people? What will you do when your fight soars to heights you never expected…and when your journey falls back into the perspective of the original Heroes Rise Trilogy main character?

As you rise, the decisions you make will shape the world for your Powered peers—and shape your relationships and potential romances. Will you fight for Powered rights or personal gain?

• Play as male, female, trans, or non-binary; gay, straight, bisexual, non-categorizable, or ace
• Play a new hero, in a brand new season of The Hero Project
• Use your animalistic Powers to survive deadly missions
• Kick slugging butt with Prodigal as your sidekick
• Become an advocate role model, a powerful kingpin, or a dangerous freedom fighter
• See Black Magic, Jury and Jenny again
• Secure the fate of a new Powered capital, or will you exploit its resources
• Untangle the conspiracy behind the scenes of The Hero Project fast enough to save the entire world
• Play as the original Heroes Rise Trilogy hero in two interactive interludes!
• Enter into one of a ten different romantic relationships!

In Open Season, everyone is a target. Who is yours?

We hope you enjoy playing The Hero Project: Open Season. 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.

Apr 04

2018

Try Our New All-in-one Omnibus App for iPhone and iPad

Posted by: Dan Fabulich | Comments (0)

We’re proud to announce the launch of our new Choice of Games “omnibus” app for iPhone and iPad, available now in Apple’s App Store!

It’s a new way to play our games on iOS: a single app that collects all of our Choice of Games titles in one place.

(The omnibus app is only available on iOS for now, not Android.)

Download the omnibus for free, and you’ll receive:

  • Free access to eight complete Choice of Games titles: Choice of the Dragon, Choice of Broadsides, Choice of the Vampire, Choice of the Deathless, Choice of Kung Fu, For Rent: Haunted House, and Creatures Such As We.
  • Free demos of some of our all-time greatest hits and new releases, including Choice of Robots, Choice of Rebels, and Psy High. You can pay to unlock the full versions.

Here are the features that we’re working on for the future:

  • Search: find your favorite games within the app
  • Sort by title, author, and genre
  • Internal reviews: rate your favorite games
  • Improved graphics and menus
  • Transfer app purchases into the omnibus app

We’re sure you have a lot of questions; you can learn more about in our omnibus FAQ.

Give it a try!

Mar 27

2018

Author Interview: Zach Sergi, “The Hero Project: Open Season”

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (1)


Can you win The Hero Project, America’s #1 reality competition for heroes? Team up with allies old and new to unravel a conspiracy threatening your world, and save the planet from destruction! The Hero Project: Open Season is a 170,000-word interactive novel, and the final installment of Zachary Sergi’s “Hero Project” series. I sat down with author Zach Sergi to talk about wrapping up the series. The Hero Project: Open Season releases this Thursday, March 29th. 

We’ve been on such a journey through the world of Heroes Rise, and then with Redemption Season, and now Open Season. Tell me about that journey. 

Well, for starters, the journey saw me through the ages of 23-30, so there’s been a lot of personal growth as I became an “adult.” And a lot of growth both as a writer and a budding activist. I think it’s kind of cool you can track that progression book to book–some people love it, some people hate it. There have been leaps forward and steps backwards, and a lot of lessons along the way. I’ve shed a lot of sweat and tears over these books, and smiled more than anything else, but at the end of this particular Heroes Rise journey, I feel like the books did for me what they seem to do for so many readers: they helped me hone a purpose and a voice. (Oh, and I still think it’s insane to have seen a presidential campaign be co-opted by reality TV years after The Hero Project/HeroFall told a similar story. Will never get over that one!)

What was your favorite part of writing Open Season?

Without giving away any spoilers, I love the way all of the characters across all five Heroes Rise/The Hero Project books all weave and interconnect…and ultimately seeing how they come together/divide themselves. I also love how some of the plot twists came together (I think there is one in particular literally no one will see coming, at least from my social media awareness). And I love how big the ending feels…it’s hard to top yourself after seven books, but the stakes in Open Season somehow feel higher than they’ve ever been.

What was the most challenging part of it? 

Honestly, Open Season was a joy to write! The hardest part of The Hero Project Duology writing process was actually after Redemption Season published, knowing that so many readers were asking for things that had always been a part of my plan for what was coming…I was like, ahhh I know many of you feel like it’s missing things, but those things are on the way and I can’t tell you yet without spoiling everything! I’ve seen the whole picture from the beginning, so it’s interesting to see the reactions when everyone else only gets a piece of the puzzle. I think Open Season completes Redemption Season in a way that will have a lot of readers going back to previous books, to have fun seeing how there were breadcrumbs leading to this epic finale all along the way. Or at least, I hope so!

Is it hard to say goodbye to this world, these characters? 

Um, absolutely. Some of these characters I created when I was a little kid playing with my action figures, and some as an adult collecting action figures (lol). And so much of it has been shaped by the loyal readers along the way–a lot of characters are named after readers, or character’s actions were inspired by reader requests I never would have considered myself (um, wanting to romance Prodigal much?). That’s the connective power of interactive fiction at work! But ultimately, Heroes Rise/The Hero Project feel like my babies–but now it’s time to let them stand on their own!

Who are you going to miss the most?

Everyone? Haha I guess I will especially miss some of the characters readers seem to love most too, like Jelly Kelly and Prodigal, Grandma and GG. The character that perhaps surprised me the most over the span of the series was Verdict (or the artist formerly known as Jury). I didn’t really have a plan for him aside from being a foil in The Prodigy when it all started, so to see his evolution (partially inspired by fan demand) has been really satisfying. I never thought I’d miss a Victon, but I will!

Your next game is going to be the third and final game of the Versus series. Any hints or little spoilers for fans? Do you have a working title?

Well, I hadn’t announced officially that Versus is a Trilogy yet, but now seems like a good time and place to do so! I’ve had the ending of Versus mapped out since the beginning, including the working title…but everyone will have to stay tuned for more details on what’s to come next!

What are you working on outside Versus 3?

I actually have three other projects in the pipeline right now, outside Choice of Games. I can’t actually talk about any of them yet, but if you head to the brand new https://zacharysergi.com/and give me a follow on your social media platform of choice, I’ll be sharing updates the moment I can!

Mar 22

2018

New Hosted Game! Zombie Exodus: Safe Haven: Part Two by Jim Dattilo

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

Hosted Games has a new game for you to play!

Zombie Exodus: Safe Haven: Part Two continues your story as you escape Nightfall with your new group of survivors in search of a safe haven. Continue your story from part one, or skip right to the new chapters with a new character! It’s 25% off until March 29th!

With three brand new chapters and another 310,000 words, Zombie Exodus: Safe Haven is now more than than 900,000 in total! That’s 32,000 words each time you play Part Two alone, and more than 72,000 for the full game. Given the number of paths from beginning to end, you can have a unique story every time and still never see all there is in Zombie Exodus: Safe Haven!

• Grow your group to as many as 20 characters, with 12 of them as romantic options.
• Become leader of the group or let another survivor take the lead.
• Expand your skills, train other survivors, or receive training from them.

Jim Dattilo 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 15

2018

New Hosted Game! Highway Wars by Adrao

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

Hosted Games has a new game for you to play!

Become a road warrior in the arid plains of the 21st century! Take the role of a Highway Marshall, in a bid to enforce the rule of civilization on a post-apocalyptic world. Will you prevent the sacking of the last remaining Free Cities, rule over them as a Warlord, or attempt to seek a better future for humanity in another planet? It’s 25% off until March 22nd!

Highway Wars is a 190,000 word interactive post-apocalyptic novel by Adrao, 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, female, or nonbinary, romance other characters, and even get married!
• Enjoy a road trip along the desolate wastelands of the 21st century, and then conquer the lands around you
• Choose your crew amongst a variety of different companions
• Several illustrations to enhance your experience
• Variety of different game paths, with 24 different endings
• Several different difficulty settings

Adrao 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 15

2018

New Hosted Game! Fallen Hero: Rebirth by Malin Rydén

Posted by: Rachel E. Towers | Comments (1)

Hosted Games has a new game for you to play!

Become the greatest telepathic villain Los Diablos has ever known! Once you were famous; soon you will be infamous. That is, unless your old friends in the Rangers stop you first. Juggle different identities and preserve your secrets as you build new alliances and try to forget the friendships you’ve left behind. It’s 25% off until March 22nd!

Fallen Hero: Rebirth is a 380,000 word interactive novel by Malin Rydén, 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.

• Hone your telepathic talents, possess people and venture into their minds.
• Build your own personalized combat armor: be a terrifying super-strong behemoth, a mysterious speedster or anything inbetween.
• Make alliances or enemies in the Los Diablos underworld while you outfight and outthink the heroes set against you.
• Explore relationships as straight, gay, bisexual or aromantic. Romance a mad scientist, your former partner, or both.
• Juggle two bodies and three identities, play as male, female or genderqueer.
• Above all; make sure your past never catches up with you.

How far will you fall down the path of villainy?

Malin Rydén 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 08

2018

New Hosted Game! The Wayhaven Chronicles: Book One by Mishka Jenkins

Posted by: Rachel E. Towers | Comments (5)

Hosted Games has a new game for you to play!

Your first case as a detective is forcing you to open your eyes to a world bigger than you thought. But maybe it’s better to keep them closed. Knowing too much doesn’t help anyone sleep at night! Seems the supernatural didn’t get the memo that nothing exciting ever happens in the little town of Wayhaven. It’s 40% off until March 15th!

The Wayhaven Chronicles: Book One is a thrilling 440,000 word interactive fantasy novel by Mishka Jenkins, 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 the big and small moments with a host of characters throughout this exciting twist on the usual supernatural tale—a story which will take you through heart-pounding romance, smile-filled friendships, and shiver-inducing drama.

• Play as female, male, or non-binary—with options to be straight, gay, or bisexual.
• Discover the start of distinct and lasting romances with the vampires of Unit Bravo.
• Define and refine relationships with a variety of characters-from friends, family, exes, and enemies.
• Decide how you will fulfill the job of detective, through Deduction, Combat, Science, or People skills.
• Discover the truth of what awaits in Wayhaven in a playstyle that suits your personality.
• Indulge in true moments of romance, friendship, drama, and fun!

Mishka Jenkins 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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