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Dec 15

2022

Choice of the Viking—Forge a legacy in a land of gods and giants!

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

We’re proud to announce that Choice of the Viking, 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” app.

It’s 25% off until Dec 22nd!

Forge your legacy in Iceland as it never was, a land of gods, giants, elves, trolls, and walking corpses! A game of politics and romance, battle and honor.

Choice of the Viking is a 310,000 word interactive historical fantasy novel by Declan Taggart, 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.

The year is 910. Countless Viking longships cross the icy oceans of northern Europe, seeking fortune, glory, trade, and land. Your ship, chartered by the King of Norway, has brought settlers to Iceland, where you and your clan have a chance to build something new out of the rugged land.

There are challenges at every turn. Defend your farm from a draugr, one of the walking dead, and then from the other would-be chieftains, just as hungry for glory as you. New faiths and old vie for the souls of the Icelanders, and for the political power that each religion can carry. The long dark winter bears down upon you, threatening hunger, disease, and more draugr.

Wield your magic to blast obstacles from your path and gain the spirits’ blessing. Earn honor and wealth through raiding, careful tending of the land, or savvy merchant trading. If you fail, the royal might of Norway will claim your land for their own – but if you succeed, you will find eternal glory.

• Play as male, female, or nonbinary; gay, straight, bi, or aromantic
• Attend the great assembly of the Althing and shape Iceland’s politics for generations to come.
• Use the songs of the spirits to perform stunning feats of magic.
• Dedicate your land to the Christian church or honor the old Norse gods.
• Carve out your domain and lead your people to specialize in farming, trading, scholarship, or raiding.
• Grapple with the threat of the walking dead – perhaps even your own father!
• Walk with giants, negotiate with elves, and come face to face with mighty Thor!
• Negotiate with your neighboring chieftains to win their friendship – or become embroiled in deadly feuds.
• Rule your land as an autocrat, or guide Iceland towards democracy.

How will the sagas sing of your deeds?

We hope you enjoy playing Choice of the Viking. 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.

Dec 12

2022

Author Interview: Declan Taggart, Choice of the Viking

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

Forge your legacy in Iceland as it never was, a land of gods, giants, elves, trolls, and walking corpses! A game of politics and romance, battle and honor.

Choice of the Viking is a 310,000 word interactive historical fantasy novel by Declan Taggart. I sat down with Declan to talk about his background and knowledge of Vikings, and his experiences in turning that into a ChoiceScript game. Choice of the Viking releases this Thursday, December 15th. You can play the first three chapters today for free.

You’re basically a medievalist and scholar of Norse culture, correct?

Yup, it’s true. By day, I’m a researcher of Old Norse religion and literature. I finished a PhD on the myths of Thor at the University of Aberdeen in 2015 and I’ve worked at universities in Sweden, Cork, and Reykjavík since then, mostly focusing on how the religion actually functioned. I studied English Literature before that, but there was something about the imagery and characters of Old Norse myth and legend that grabbed me in a way that, say, Romantic poetry never managed. The construction of the world out of the body and blood of a giant, a serpent so enormous that it winds around the world and keeps it squeezed together, a wrestling match with Old Age herself… I love the sense of scale.

While it’s clear why you’re drawn to this subject matter, what made you want to write a piece of interactive fiction?

There are a bunch of reasons, really. The first one is that I love interactive fiction. I was a pretty stereotypical nerd-reader kid and adventure books were a big part of my diet—although they were a bit difficult to source in the Northern Irish countryside, pre-internet era. The one that stands out most for some reason is a Sonic adventure gamebook. It feels like it comes from a fever dream and couldn’t possibly have existed, but I hope I didn’t just imagine it. I used to love it. Discovering as an adult that people are making these kinds of stories as interactive fiction was a revelation. I played a lot of the modern classics—some of the CoG titles, 80 Days, Queers in Love at the End of the World, anything by Emily Short—and ended up wanting to give it a go myself because, second reason, I really enjoy writing fiction.

The other angle is related to work: I do a lot of research on Old Norse religion that has a very small audience—just people like me, working in universities or doing independent research, who will go on to do more research for that same small audience. Occasionally, other people will read my work—especially members of the Ásatrú community—but the number is still very modest. So what impact does our work have? Less than we’d like, really.

A lot of academics will do public lectures or write articles for magazines. Some will do something more creative. I know at least one colleague in a black metal band inspired by Old Norse literature (Árstíðir Lífsins, and they’re pretty good too), and another makes a webcomic (@RealMundiRiki—also definitely worth checking out). For me, the best thing I can do to reach a wider audience is write. So, for my last research project, I adapted a poem called Vǫluspá into interactive fiction (Choose your own end to the viking world, free on itch.io), and for my current project at the University of Iceland, I’m writing a book of poems and short stories for children that plays at filling in some of the gaps in Old Norse myth. I’m doing that with my partner Irene García Losquiño—also a writer and a researcher of the viking diaspora.

I guess the goal is to get cutting edge research out to a wider public, whether it’s my own research or by a colleague, and maybe also to spread interest in researching Old Norse literature more broadly. New perspectives bring new ideas, and academia runs on ideas.

Tell me something the average person doesn’t know about Vikings and I’ll share that because I have Irish ancestry, my DNA “reads” as approximately 20% Scandinavian! That’s from the Vikings settling in what is present-day Ireland right?

Something the average person doesn’t know? Hmm… I suppose that a lot of people will have heard of Valhalla (Valhǫll in Old Norse) and know it is a place of the dead for warriors related to the god Odin. Probably fewer will have heard of Fólkvangr, which is a field ruled by the god Freyja where dead warriors also end up. It’s not mentioned very often but one poem called Grímnismál says that Freyja chooses half the dead every day and Odin gets the rest.

Because Fólkvangr is mentioned so rarely, it would have been really easy to lose our knowledge of it and to think that warriors could only go where Odin wanted them. It just shows how precarious our understanding of the Viking Age is. We know of a few other places of the dead—such as Hel, which is ruled over by a queen of the same name—but it’s very rare that we have much information about any of them except Valhalla. Who knows how many other similar beliefs we’ve lost?

DNA is not an area I’ve properly researched before, but it is fascinating. Deep down, most people want to know who they are, and a part of that is and always has been where their family comes from. At the same time, genetics is a bit tricky because it can lead to very creative interpretations of identity, so I know that the researchers who do look at it tend to approach it with caution. Medieval Scandinavians were themselves a genetically diverse bunch. There was no viking ethnic group or anything like that, and they mixed with people from all sorts of backgrounds, especially in the early trading hotspots. A war band travelling abroad might absorb people from a range of backgrounds too.

It’s a pretty famous case, but the math of genetics means that everyone with European ancestry is related to Charlemagne. There’s a point around the year 1000 CE at which all Europeans are related. Go back far enough (not that far really), and every human in the world is related to every other.

Maybe I’m just more of a hippy than I realized, but I actually think that is pretty cool. We’re all cousins, and we all have links to someone who did something truly great at some point in history—and a lot of us are probably related to a viking or two as well.

What was the most surprising part of developing a ChoiceScript game?

I suppose the most surprising part was how relatively easy it was for someone like me with no real coding experience. I’d only dabbled with other interactive fiction engines before (and BASIC way back when I was a kid), but early on in the writing process I already found I was able to accomplish more or less what I wanted. I’d recommend ChoiceScript to someone who was in my shoes. I did have to use a flow chart for a while because I just couldn’t keep all the different routes in my head at the same time, but I’d stopped using that by the time I was finished writing.

Actually, tied into this was my favorite bit of developing a ChoiceScript game: coming up with choices for the main character—choices that would help them feel empowered, that would feel like the choices someone in a saga might have, hopefully that would have fun consequences. Trying to ensure the choices achieved all those things was what led to all the different routes that I had to somehow keep in my head.

Did you have a particular NPC you enjoyed writing most?

Flies (a.k.a. Who Is Like the Lord of Flies) was one hundred percent my favorite. She started out as a toilet demon, which is a creature that does appear in one Old Norse short story called The Tale of Thorstein Shiver. (Honestly.) But she morphed into something else from there. Even though Flies is a character that will only appear in about half of the game’s playthroughs, I still ended up putting a lot of time into her. It’s just fun to write someone who is, fundamentally, terrible, cartoonish, and only out for themselves.

What are you working on next?

Next, I should probably take a bit of a break. I’m a huge fan of a healthy work-life balance, and I think everyone should have one. But even as I say that, I know I’m very excited about the collection of Old Norse stories for kids that I mentioned before, so I think we’ll be working on that over December and January instead. We can’t say who’ll be publishing it as the deal isn’t finalized, but we should be signing a contract with a publisher in London in January. I’m also writing an adaptation of the saga of Bard, the god of Snæfell, which is my favorite saga. As far as interactive fiction goes, I’ve nothing in mind right now—but I’m sure I’ll produce something related to whatever my next research project brings along.

Dec 08

2022

Professor of Magical Studies—Will you save the world just to get tenure?

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

Professor of Magical StudiesWe’re proud to announce that Professor of Magical Studies, 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” app.

It’s 33% off until December 15th!

Research magic that probably won’t destroy the world! Plus, if you do have to save the world, that’ll look great when you’re up for tenure.

Professor of Magical Studies is a 500,000-word interactive fantasy novel by Stephen Granade. 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 are a practitioner of pattern magic: an arcane art that allows you to reshape the very nature of reality, with an extra advantage thanks to your synesthesia, which enables you to see patterns more clearly. With a few strokes of a pen on paper, you can draw magical energy from the space between universes to do everything from levitating objects to preserving memories that you can walk through later to creating pocket dimensions.

You’ve just been hired for your first faculty position at Winfield Phillips, the seemingly normal New England college that happens to have a secret magic department. It’s a great first job, or would be except for Darcy Bozeman. Your former school friend used magic to cheat you out of a coveted fellowship, almost derailing your academic career before it began. Now Darcy’s a fellow professor at Winfield Phillips, and is still working to undermine you.

Armed with a cutting-edge knowledge of magic and untried political skills, you’ll have to juggle your work and navigate the demands of being a new faculty member. You have to get your magical research started with the help of a not-very-skilled student. You’ve got classes to teach to students who are supremely uninterested in what you’re trying to teach them. The college president assigned you a mathematician as a faculty peer, which will only take time away from your actual work. The town council is angry at the college, and you’ve been volunteered to be the liaison between the college and the council. And don’t even get started over the arguments about who’s going to clean the stockroom.

And those mysterious issues plaguing magic? The ones growing worse? Those are a sign of something ominous, threatening reality as we know it. You can handle that, too, can’t you?

* Play as male, female, or nonbinary; gay, straight, asexual, aromantic, or poly.
* Create new and irresponsibly dangerous magical patterns.
* Improve your student advisee’s skills and confidence, or terrorize them to boost your own research.
* Deal with petty university politics, if you want to have any hope of getting tenure.
* Romance a brilliant algebraic geometrist who doesn’t know about magic, the city councilperson assigned to work with Winfield Phillips, the CEO of a magical company, the friend who betrayed you, or even the extra-dimensional being who comes to live in your head.
* Uncover what really happened to the professor who vanished, leading to you being hired.
* Save the world from an extra-dimensional threat—or use the threat to become leader of the survivors.

If only someone had warned you before you applied to grad school that you’ll have to stop an otherworldly threat from ending the universe!

We hope you enjoy playing Professor of Magical Studies. 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.

Dec 05

2022

Author Interview: Stephen Granade, Professor of Magical Studies

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)


Research magic that probably won’t destroy the world! Plus, if you do have to save the world, that’ll look great when you’re up for tenure.
Professor of Magical Studies is a 500,000-word interactive fantasy novel by Stephen Granade. I sat down with Stephen to talk about the genesis of this game, and some of the surprises of writing a long Choice of Games title. Professor of Magical Studies releases this Thursday, Dec 8th.

You can play the first few chapters now for free. 

You’re a special author for me for a lot of reasons, but one is: unlike most of my authors, you and I have met in person! A few times now! How did this game come about?

I had a chance to talk with you and Jason Stevan Hill at the Nebula Conference. Jason knew me from the old interactive fiction community and had talked to me about pitching a COG game. I made polite noises but said that I wasn’t sure I had any game ideas, so of course my brain went to work and came up with several over the course of the conference weekend.

I first pitched a science fiction space shipping game only to learn that you had Fay Ikin’s excellent Asteroid Run already coming out. The other idea I was excited about grew out of a YA novel about a magic school that I wrote years ago before settling it gently in a trunk when no one was really interested in it. I liked some of its core ideas, especially its system of magic, but I wasn’t interested in focusing on what it might be like to attend a magic school. That’s when I thought, what if you were a professor instead? Academia’s something I know well thanks to my dad being a college professor and my own trip through PhD-land before I yeeted myself out of the academy. That change unlocked the game story for me, and I was so glad when y’all were excited about it, too.

At 500,000 words it is a very long game, with a lot of different paths through, and some fantastic romance options. Talk to me about how the complexity grew for you as you were writing it.

Some of the complexity was baked into my original pitch. I love games where you befriend a group of companions who help you save the day, which meant that I wanted you to have many different people to hang out with and potentially date. The game has five people you can spend time with. Creating meaty, individualized scenes for each of them added a lot of work.

I knew that would be the case when I pitched the game. What I didn’t think through, though, was what that meant for the game’s climax. My original summary of the climactic chapter ten was, essentially, “The team saves the day by being awesome.” Actually writing that, though, when you could have between one and three different companions to help you? And to make sure that they had interesting beats? And story arcs that resolved well? Phew. I remember being halfway through chapter ten when I realized that the game had grown a chapter eleven to contain it all. I took a walk outside for a while until I was calm enough to go back to writing.

What was the most surprising thing about developing a ChoiceScript game with COG style mechanics?

Figuring out stats that a player could understand and manipulate to create a character. Writing my first chapter was like wading through waist-high mud because the personality stats I chose didn’t work together. Some overlapped in confusing ways, and others were hard to incorporate in choices. Once I scrapped them and picked ones that were better separated and allowed players to better express the kind of person they were playing, the writing got so much easier.

Over the course of writing this game you developed syntax highlighting/rulesets for ChoiceScript in VSC! Tell me a little about that.

I write a lot of code in my day job, so I’m well used to editors like Visual Studio Code that provide a lot of quality-of-life benefits like automatically completing variables, warning you when your syntax is wrong, and letting you find every place you used a given variable. I’d wanted an excuse to write a VS Code language plugin, and this was a great one. Writing it forced me to learn ChoiceScript deeply. I added new features as I needed them, like reporting the word count in a game file so I knew how much I’d written.

Our beta testers and the other editors on staff were pretty wild about this game and I confess I’ve been anticipating the release as well. Looking back, what do you wish you’d done differently, if anything?

It took me three chapters to fall into a steady routine of writing, testing, tweaking my outline, and then moving forward. If I had a time machine, I’d have gone back and taught myself how to do that from the beginning!

What else are you working on? (Note: you are not required to have another project while writing a game for COG, but shockingly, many of our authors do.)

I took occasional short breaks from my game to write short stories, which I love even though they’re hard to get published and the pay is not very good! My latest one, “Wind Settles in the Bones,” just came out in the online magazine Cast of Wonders.

Dec 01

2022

Scandal Notes—Glamor, gossip, and love in 1920s London!

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

We’re proud to announce that Scandal Notes, the latest in our “Heart’s Choice” line of multiple-choice interactive romance novels, is now available for iOS and Android in the “Heart’s Choice” app. You can also download it on Steam, or enjoy it on our website.

It’s 25% off until Dec 8th!

Find glamor, glitz, gossip, and love! You and your friends are the talk of the town—but will a malicious journalist turn the tables?

Scandal Notes is a 108,000-word interactive romance novel by Evelyn Pryce, 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.

In the heart of London, flappers flap and the 20s roar! For an ambitious novelist like you, there’s inspiration everywhere. The nights are filled with fabulous parties where champagne flows freely and jazz plays in dance halls and smoky clubs. You and your friends—a group of Bright Young Things known as the King’s Road Crew—are at the center of it all, the talk of the town and the top of every society page.

Of course, love is on the horizon. Will you fall for Sybil Warwick, the fashionable and fun-loving star of the silent screen? Or Errol Sharp, the literary critic whose wit matches his name? Or Baron Sidney Norcross, the aristocratic host of the most fabulous parties in town?

But now, the author of the infamous gossip column “Scandal Notes” is starting to comment on secrets that your friends would rather not see the light of day—and secrets that only someone close to you would know. Can you unmask the traitor? Are all of your friends really what they seem?

• Play as a woman novelist in 1920s London
• Keep your friends together through thick and thin.
• Play matchmaker for a lovelorn jazz singer.
• Become a critical literary sensation or an underground pulp hit.
• Find love with a witty book critic, a glamorous actress, or a suave aristocrat.
• Obey the rules of society or throw caution to the wind
• Search out the villain whose nasty gossip columns threaten your friends

Dance the Charleston until dawn, write a novel for the ages, find true love – and above all, keep your name out of “Scandal Notes”!

We hope you enjoy playing Scandal Notes. 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.

Nov 23

2022

Teahouse of the Gods—Harness the energy of qi to save the world!

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

We’re proud to announce that Teahouse of the Gods, 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” app.

It’s 29% off until Nov 30th!

Harness the energy of life itself to empower your body, control your environment, even delve deep into the mysteries of the mind! Will you use your newfound powers to maintain the balance of the universe, or will corruption stain your soul?

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

After one night at “The Teahouse” on Mount Qingcheng in Sichuan, China, you wake with the ability to perceive and manipulate spiritual energy, known as qi. Now, you can see gods and monsters that ordinary people can’t, and you can unlock extraordinary powers.

On the path of the body, you can run faster, jump higher, and punch harder. On the path of the mind, you can create glamours and illusions that change people’s perceptions of reality. And on the path of the environment, you can reach out to the world around you, from blades of grass, to the smallest teacup, to Mount Qingcheng itself.

Under the guidance of gods and animal spirits, you can perceive a sickness slowly poisoning the mountain and its inhabitants. When an ancient enemy returns to the mountain with vengeance in mind, will you be ready to join the fight? The mysteries of Mount Qingcheng are beckoning you.

• Play as male, female, or nonbinary; gay, straight, bi, asexual, or poly.
• Explore a mountain village in China that’s as timeless as myth, yet as modern as a trending hashtag on TikTok.
• Discover the secrets of your past life. Do they still have the power to shape your destiny?
• Rekindle an ancient romance, explore the possibilities with a long-lost friend, or charm a local mogul/memelord.
• Specialize in the body, mind, or environment path as you learn to control spiritual energy, or develop your skills in all three.
• Befriend a Romanian expat, a musical prodigy, a panda spirit, and a busy mother.
• Help a local resort owner plan a summer festival. (You’re here to learn the hospitality industry, remember?)
• Eat. Eat vegetarian, kosher, halal, or try everything: gourmet delicacies, spicy local fare, street food, and dishes from around the world …and beyond.

Thousands of years later, you’re home at last.

We hope you enjoy playing Teahouse of the Gods. 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.

Nov 21

2022

Author Interview: Naca Rat, Teahouse of the Gods

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

Harness the energy of life itself to empower your body, control your environment, even delve deep into the mysteries of the mind! Will you use your newfound powers to maintain the balance of the universe, or will corruption stain your soul? Teahouse of the Gods is a 250,000-word interactive novel by Naca Rat. I sat down with the author to talk about their upcoming game and its unique features.

Teahouse of the Gods releases on Wednesday, November 23rd. You can play the first four chapters for free, today.

What drew you to interactive fiction?

People have spent millennia telling stories. As a storyteller, I must ask myself—is nothing new under the sun? What can I do that hasn’t been done?

Technology presents opportunities to tell stories that no one has been able to tell before. I intend to tell it well, so I write interactive fiction to better understand the new possibilities of our times.

Tell us a little about your background in games and this game.

I make games to try and tell stories. My previous games—and other storytelling efforts—have been interested in feminism, generational trauma, and mortality. And pandas.

This project was an exercise in world-building. I imagine a reader exploring different choices as if walking different trails in a forest. Each path reveals a little more of the story’s world. Alongside the wonder of discovering a new world, I hope each new path modifies readers’ perspective on the truth, right and wrong, and how the world works—both in this story, and all around us.

There’s so much to like about this game, but one thing that really sets it apart is your inclusion of Mandarin for players who are familiar or fluent in Mandarin. How did that come about?

As a writer, multilingualism resolves the frustration of “oh, there is an elegant Mandarin expression for this, but my current project is in English 🙁

More importantly, beyond convenience and novelty, multilingualism is a part of representation. Language (or Google Translate) opens possibilities for how we interact with the world. As a multilingual reader, there is another world inside my mind with which a single-language story does not engage. I wanted to read a story that speaks to my full experience of the world, so I wrote it.

What was your favorite part of the story to write?

Xingtu’s dialogue is revealing despite their evasiveness. The way they use Mandarin hints at their geographical origin, gender identity, and communities of online discourse, for example. The revealing-opaque duality is fun to write.

Xingtu’s also fun. It’s exhilarating to make problems go away (or make problems for others) by throwing money. That’s what makes Xingtu powerful—that they not only have disproportionate influence over the world, but can also make such power feel appealing.

What are you working on next?

I’m finishing a traditional novel about two kids from Kentucky who fall into another world. If my and my team’s availability permits, I’d also like to wrap development on our clicker/farm-sim/interactive-fiction-game, Sugarcane Empire.

Nov 17

2022

Belle-de-Nuit: Point-du-Jour—Win duels and hearts in the city of love!

Posted by: Jason Stevan Hill | Comments (0)

Belle-de-Nuit: Point-du-Jour, the latest in our “Heart’s Choice” line of multiple-choice interactive romance novels, is now available for iOS and Android in the “Heart’s Choice” app. You can also download it on Steam, or enjoy it on our website.

Return to the Belle-de-Nuit in this sequel to the 2021 swashbuckling hit! New content now available as an in-app purchase!

Both Belle-de-Nuit and Point-du-Jour are both 25% off until November 24th!

Belle-de-Nuit: Point-du-Jour is a 125,000-word interactive romance novel by Rebecca Zahabi, author of “Never Date Werewolves,” and “Belle de Nuit.” It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

In Point-du-Jour, new challenges and new loves are at hand, and both new and old friends need your help. Amaryllis’s kindly old friend Armand has died and left her his estate, but his nephew Mauplaisant, is challenging the will. A duelist himself, he is ready to see you dead or worse, defeated. He may prove a stout foe to both you and Amaryllis. Keeping things even more complicated, your brother comes to town and promptly falls for your frenemy Sebastian’s sister! And what will your brother think of the glittering Parisian nightlife? What will happen to Armand’s estate? And can you best Mauplaisant before he ruins your next date?

And what of the lovely Yasmina? A new employee at the Belle, well…you may have caught her eye as well. Will you help her adjust to her new life in Paris, or will the bustle and hustle prove too much for her?

Either way, you’re still the top duelist at the Belle-de-Nuit!

We hope you enjoy playing Belle-de-Nuit: Point-du-Jour. 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.

Nov 10

2022

Skystrike: Wings of Justice—Take to the skies and save your city!

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)

We’re proud to announce that Skystrike: Wings of Justice, 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” app.

It’s 25% off until November 17th!

Take to the skies! With the swift wings and keen senses of a falcon, can you save your city from the RatKing’s army of minions?

Skystrike: Wings of Justice is a 350,000 word interactive novel by E. Chris Ambrose. It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

As the hero Skystrike, you use your falcon powers to keep your city safe while maintaining your secret identity and evading government forces desperate to harness your powers for war.

Now, there’s a new threat in town: a charismatic villain known as the RatKing, who has been recruiting a massive army of merciless minions. He must be more than an ordinary crime boss – why else would the animals in town be acting so strangely? And why else would the Bureau of Unlikely Occurrences be on the case?

You’ll need to fly fast and think faster – or just hit harder – if you’re going to have a chance of defeating this villain! Dance at glamorous galas, thwart attacks on the city’s infrastructure, infiltrate top-secret labs, and try to keep your secret identity secret.

You’ll even come face to face with the RatKing himself! When you do, you just might learn the secret truth behind his rise to power–or, you might succumb to his charisma and become a minion yourself…

All you know for sure is, if you can’t convince the government to help, you must escape them in time to stop the RatKing from carrying out his secret plan. Or will Skystrike be grounded forever?

• Play as male, female, or non-binary; gay, straight, bi, or asexual/aromantic.
• Choose your origin story and secret lair: a super-science lab, an ancestral manor, a cliffside hideout, or a museum full of ancient artifacts!
• Romance your shy gentle neighbor, a bold adventurous cop, a stylish insightful blogger, or your bright efficient co-worker.
• Fight off the RatKing’s ever-growing army and thwart their nefarious plans!
• Soar high with the powers of a bird of prey: sharp senses, nimble wings, and powerful muscles. Or, rely on human charm and ingenuity to win over your enemies.
• Fly under the media’s radar, or make headlines with your bold exploits!
• Evade the agents of the Bureau of Unlikely Occurrences, or work with them to bring down the RatKing for good!

We hope you enjoy playing Skystrike: Wings of Justice. 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.

Nov 08

2022

Author Interview: E. Chris Ambrose, Skystrike: Wings of Justice

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (0)


Take to the skies! With the swift wings and keen senses of a falcon, can you save your city from the RatKing’s army of minions? As the hero Skystrike, you use your falcon powers to keep your city safe while maintaining your secret identity and evading government forces desperate to harness your powers for war. Skystrike: Wings of Justice
 is a 350,000 word interactive novel by E. Chris Ambrose. I sat down with the author to discuss the game and the challenges of writing hero stories. Skystrike: Wings of Justice releases this Thursday, November 10th. 

I think this your first time writing interactive fiction, but you’re a pretty prolific novelist! Tell me about your other published work.

As E. C. Ambrose, I’m the author of a number of historical fantasy novels, like the Dark Apostle series about medieval surgery, beginning with ELISHA BARBER, and my 2022 release, DRAKEMASTER, an epic quest across medieval China to stop a clockwork doomsday device. I also write the Bone Guard archaeological thrillers (“if Indiana Jones had served in Special Forces”), starting with THE MONGOL’S COFFIN.

I’m notorious for not being very kind to my heroes. At one point during the final testing process my CoG editor noted that the game had too many deaths (an issue since averted, I promise!) and that was the most on-brand criticism I’ve ever received. Which is also why SKYSTRIKE has an acheivement for an interesting death…

And since much of that is in the genre of fantasy, what led you to write a powered-hero type game? 

My brand is knowledge-inspired adventure fiction—so the adventure’s always been a big part of writing for me. I’m a fan of superheroes in general, and also a student of what makes someone in real life step up in a heroic way. This game gave me the chance to play with hero tropes while flying off in pursuit of justice!

I actually did a bunch of research while developing the concept, including reading up on gamer psychology, going to the comic store for some recent titles, and, of course, watching a lot of super hero movies.

What was the most surprising thing about writing a ChoiceScript game?

The emphasis on romance, even in a game that’s not fundamentally romantic. I enjoy building character relationships, but I hadn’t expected romance to be an added draw for this kind of game. I had to make sure you can get the jump on crime, and woo your love interest as well—Skystrike is one busy character!

Did you have a favorite NPC you enjoyed writing most?

Developing the antagonist was super fun, especially because I conceived of him as the inverse of one of my novel series protagonists. I also have a soft-spot for Officer Chau, your high school buddy who’s now serving on the local police force. Chau is a joker who’s not afraid to get emotional, so I enjoyed coming up with quips and moments for Chau and Skystrike, trying to capture that old-friends feel.

What are you working on next?

I’m drafting the fifth in my Bone Guard series, but my next published work will be a science fiction novel aimed at young adults or the young at heart—A WRECK OF DRAGONS could be described as “Pacific Rim” meets “How to Train Your Dragon.” Dragons, giant robots, teen protagonists—it’s a blast! And it comes out in February, 2023.

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