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Oct 05

2023

Ghost Simulator—You’re dead. Now your story begins.

Posted by: K L | Comments (36)

Hosted Games has a new game for you to play!

Ghost Simulator

You’ve never known what would happen after death. And now that you have woken up in a dusty attic, it is time to figure out what happened to you and meet the family living in your home.

Ghost Simulator is a 300,000-word interactive horror novel by Morton Newberry where you haunt a family in the American countryside.

Customize your powers and be the ghost you never thought you would become. You are the apparition who stands in the darkest corners of the manor and the poltergeist who plays with the furniture. Invade dreams and turn them into nightmares, and possess people to control their actions. Shape the destiny of those living in the place you once called home.

Speaking of them, you will not only meet the Brooks family but delve into the intimate details of their everyday lives. Samantha is a writer who moved in with her family in search of inspiration for her next novel—and she might not like what she finds. Samantha is married to Michael, a nurse anesthetist haunted—among other things—by his past. Ollie and Amber, the teenage siblings, try to find their place in the world while living with a dead person. Together, this family will become the key to understanding your past life—and humanity itself. 

Scare the Brooks family, shatter their hearts, and annihilate their dreams. Or protect them, help them find love, and encourage their ambitions. In uncovering the circumstances of your death, you may find that this family’s story is more entwined with your own than you had realized.

  • Play as male, female, or nonbinary. Death embraces everyone, after all.
  • Attend a family dinner as an uninvited—and dead—guest.
  • Recall the person you once loved. Are they still alive?
  • Disrupt the lives of the Brooks family—or become the new family member.
  • Turn skeptics into believers—or use your powers without drawing attention.
  • Help a horror writer to pen a best-selling novel—or destroy her work completely.
  • Choose your ghostly powers, such as possessing the living and invading their dreams.
  • Protect a haunted man from himself—or let him descend into a spiral of self-destruction.
  • Help a teenager impress his highschool sweetheart—or destroy their relationship.
  • Go to the first Halloween party since your death. People might even play with Ouija boards!

This is the story of a haunted house. A house haunted by you.

Ghost Simulator is 30% off until October 12th!

Morton developed this game using ChoiceScript, a simple programming language for writing multiple-choice interactive novels like these. Writing games with ChoiceScript is easy and fun, even for authors with no programming experience. Write your own game and Hosted Games will publish it for you, giving you a share of the revenue your game produces.

Sep 28

2023

Get a coupon for 15% off purchases on Choiceofgames.com

Posted by: Dan Fabulich | Comments (10)

For a limited time, when you buy a “Choice of Games” game on our website at Choiceofgames.com, we’ll send you a webstore coupon code for 15% off your next purchase!

  • You’ll get an additional webstore coupon each time you purchase. That means that you can use a coupon to get 15% off, which, in turn, will give you another coupon for 15% off. You can keep using those coupons to buy every game we make for 15% off!
  • Each coupon expires in seven days. If you purchase Bread Must Rise today, you’ll need to use your coupon before October 5th to get the discount.
  • This offer only applies to “Choice of Games” games. “Hosted Games” games and “Heart’s Choice” games won’t generate a coupon, and the coupon you get for buying a “Choice of Games” game won’t allow buy an HG or HC game. (If that changes, we’ll let you know!)
  • This offer is only available on our website. When you buy games in our apps for iOS or Android, Apple and Google take 15% of our revenue. When you buy on Steam, Valve takes 30% of our revenue. On our website, we pay Stripe 2.9% + $0.30.
  • Feel free to share your coupon with a friend! Anybody can use the coupon, not just you.

Sep 28

2023

The Bread Must Rise—Spice up a baking contest with necromancy!

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (42)

The Bread Must RiseWe’re proud to announce that The Bread Must Rise, 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 38% off until October 5th!

In this magical baking contest, you’ll team up with the Queen Undying to bake your rivals into an early grave—or out of the grave, with necromancy!

The Bread Must Rise is a 450,000-word interactive comedy/fantasy/baking/eldritch horror novel by James Beamon and Stewart C. Baker. It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Also, by lots of terrible jokes.

You’ve been chosen as one of six contestants in the Great Godstone Bakeoff! Godstone, renowned throughout the twelve mostly civilized realms as the “city of a thousand bakeries,” is not what it once was. The Queen Undying, a necromancer rumored to have a taste for human blood, has filled its streets with terror, while the robe-shrouded members of the Carb Freeon cult threaten bakers with impunity. And something is off with the City Council, a group of shadowy figures who nobody ever remembers seeing.

You’re one of Godstone’s top bakers, with a scrappy little business, a mysterious confectionary legacy from your late parents, and a former best friend who stole your recipes to make his own fame and fortune. You’ve got a lot to prove in this competition, and you’ll stop at nothing to reach the top of the profiterole tower.

But everything changes when the Queen Undying herself appears at your bakery. The queen has forced you to become her newest thrall, helpless to resist her eldritch power. And, for mysterious reasons, she’s commanding you to make her your baking assistant!

Exercise your breadcraft magic to turn the saddest soggiest-bottomed bakes into stunning showstoppers; sweet-talk the judges into giving you the win; or just put in good old-fashioned hard work. If you’re not satisfied with just making bread rise, maybe you’ll start making the dead rise, too: necromancy is powerful, and the Queen Undying’s spells might be just what you need to complete that recipe…or to take down your rival once and for all.

Play up to the press, win the adoration of your fans, and navigate the influence of the Carb Freeon cult as you bake your way to fame! The farther you go in the tournament, the closer you get to learning the secrets of your own past, uncovering clues about your parents’ life and death. And the closer you come to learning the City Council’s shadowy plans for Godstone…

• Play as male, female, or nonbinary; gay, straight, bi, pan, or asexual.
• Choose your ingredients: play in omnivore, vegetarian, or vegan mode.
• Manage your budget to fill your pantry with the finest magical and mundane ingredients.
• Find love with Godstone’s fanciest food critic, a dreaded necromancer, a former adventurer, the Bakeoff’s charismatic host, or even your best-friend-turned-worst-enemy!
• Quell the Carb Freeon cult or join its ranks.
• Sell out to the realm’s biggest bakery franchise or triumph as a plucky small business owner.
• Gaze upon the horrors of eldritch dimensions.

Will you take home the trophy or fade into bland obscurity? One thing’s for sure: you’ll never look at brownies the same way again.

We hope you enjoy playing The Bread Must Rise. 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.

Sep 25

2023

Author Interview: Stewart C. Baker & James Beamon, The Bread Must Rise

Posted by: Mary Duffy |

In this magical baking contest, you’ll team up with the Queen Undying to bake your rivals into an early grave—or out of the grave, with necromancy!

The Bread Must Rise is a 450,000-word interactive comedy/fantasy/baking/eldritch horror novel by James Beamon and Stewart C Baker. I sat down with James and Stewart to talk about their unique collaboration and truly unique genre. The Bread Must Rise releases this Thursday, September 28th. You can play the first three chapters today, for free

Choice of Games rarely works with co-authors on a single game, but it seems you two make a wonderful team. Tell me about how you collaborated to create The Bread Must Rise.

Stewart: When they work, collaborations are fantastic. This one was fantastic! There something that’s absolutely magical about stepping away from a project for a few days and then seeing a few thousand new words pop up when you come back to it. Plus, it helps to have someone else who’s laughing at your jokes as you write them. I’ve known James for a while from Codex (an online writing group) and SFWA, and had a story in an anthology he edited, so I felt like we’d be a good fit.

On a more technical note, we used Notepad++ for writing, CSIDE for testing, and a shared folder in Dropbox to help us not accidentally overwrite each other’s work. We also met weekly for most of the last two years(!!!) to check in on where we were, and where we were going. (It’s going to be pretty weird not to have a Bread Must Rise meeting every Saturday morning.) There were a few bumps early on when we didn’t quite have Dropbox set up the way we thought we did, but otherwise it’s been smooth sailing!

James: Stewart and I have shared the table of contents before and both write humorous fiction, so we were already pretty familiar with each other’s work and could appreciate each other’s humor. I recall Stewart asking me if I was interested in writing a game. Since and I had never done that and I’m pretty quick to try something new, I was immediately on board. We pitched a few ideas to Choice of Games, The Bread Must Rise is what really resonated with everyone over there and from there Stewart and I just took off writing.

What baking competitions did you draw inspiration from?

James: I rarely watch baking competitions. I watched a couple once the pitch for The Bread Must Rise was accepted to get a better sense of the competition format. Mostly my inspiration came from Kitchen Nightmares.

Stewart: I’ve also watched a lot of Gordon Ramsay over the years. The in-game baking contest’s name is a pretty obvious nod to The Great British Bake-Off, although I think they call it something else on this side of the pond. Our contest is much more antagonistic than GBBO, though, which is generally lovely and kind even if there are moments of tension. My hands-down favorite baking competition, though, is Nailed It!, which comes through in both the failure text for the Bake-Off rounds and the overall panicked tone of those chapters, where you really don’t have enough time to do everything you want. (Netflix, if you’re reading this, I think an episode with a bunch of writers would be awesome and I promise you I’m extremely mediocre in the kitchen!)

What were some of the tropes you wanted to play against or with?

Stewart: For me, the trope at the core of this game was the idea of the “dark lord” who isn’t quite what they seem. The basic idea of the Queen Undying draws a lot from that. I watch a lot of anime, and especially like slice of life and isekai (“other world”) series, so there’s a good deal of that here, as well. That said, there are many, many, many other nods and references to tropes, movies, books, and memes in this game. I don’t think even James or I could name all of them on our own!

James: I’m a fan of trope subversion, so I look for opportunities to have fun with the well established fantasy tropes like The Chosen One of Prophecy as well as non-fantasy ones like the Nestea Plunge (both of which are in there!). Ultimately, there are few things I ever really want to play straight and this game gave me an opportunity to turn a lot of tropes on their ear.

What do you think will surprise players about a game that includes baking and necromancy?

Stewart: The brownies. Definitely the brownies. Jokes aside, I think players may be surprised that we managed to add emotional beats into a concept that seems like it has no room for anything but zany comedy. Sometimes the emotional beats even are the zany comedy!

James: I think just saying “baking and necromancy” together should be a surprise itself! I think the contrast works well to cover a range of scenarios that crop up, whether in the arena baking or on the streets of Godstone. Besides, dead things need baking… it’s the nature of food.

This is one of the funniest games we’ve published in recent memory. Tell me how humor tempers the players’ experience in taking the goals of the game rather seriously.

James: When our beta tester Aletheia said something to the effect of “I don’t really care if I win or not, I’m just having so much fun playing” that made me and Stewart geek out for a good half an hour because that was precisely what we were going for… a game where a player can have fun in both success and failure. I wanted the players to laugh at how they’re succeeding and of course, laughing at what screw ups result in. Let’s face it, failure’s funny and I think this game lets players fail in a fun way without it feeling like it’s game over and waste of a save file.

Stewart: Agreed, that was a great boost! (Also, shout out to Aletheia, who improved this game’s playability and coherence so much.) Like James with tropes, I really enjoy subverting reader expectations with humor. At least for me, I’m always looking at “what might readers expect to happen next, and how can I screw that up?” when I write comedy. But while the game doesn’t take itself too seriously, I hope readers still find the world of Godstone and characters that inhabit it engaging and memorable. Some of the characters nearest and dearest to my own heart come from series that don’t take themselves seriously at all (Discworld, Ranma 1/2, Undertale, Steven Universe) so I don’t think humor and seriousness are necessarily opposites. Although then I remember some of the absolutely ridiculous things we did in this game and feel compelled to amend that statement to: they aren’t always necessarily opposites.

What are you working on next?

Stewart: Great question! We just finished writing a short spin-off game for this year’s IFComp, titled One Does Not Simply Fry. That one’s about frying onion rings at the base of Mount Boom, and it’s also chock full of jokes, tropes, and allusions, albeit with a much narrower focus than The Bread Must Rise. With both these games out of the way, maybe I’ll find time to revisit some languishing prose fiction projects. I have a novel, a couple of novellas, and a number of short stories that need revising… I’ve also been playing with watercolors lately, and even though I’m absolutely terrible at that it’s been a really satisfying change of pace after so many words.

James: A vacation! This was the longest project I’ve ever worked on without stopping. It’s time to stop for a hot minute.

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Sep 07

2023

Path to Knighthood—Enter a magical world of knights and dragons!

Posted by: K L | Comments (85)

Hosted Games has a new game for you to play!

Path to Knighthood

Path to Knighthood is a 250,000-word interactive fantasy novel written by Ian Lai, 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.

This game depicts a classic story in a new way. A brave and dashing knight on the back of a white horse, rushing headlong to slay the dragon and come to the rescue of the beautiful princess – that is how the books usually tell the tale. Here, those childhood stories are darker and more realistic, intertwined with the complexity of humanity.

  • Play as male or female, straight or gay.
  • Triumph over your opponents in the tournament.
  • Save a damsel in distress? You bet!
  • Learn about humanity in the lands conquered by the godlike creature.
  • Allow vengeance—or end the cycle of hatred.
  • Investigate a murder and be the detective of the day.
  • Discover yourself while undercover in the dragon cult.
  • Confess the truth—or hide it.
  • Slay the dragon—or be exterminated by the all-consuming flames.
  • Face your own sins—look into your heart and confront your true motives.

If you wish for a happy ending, you will have to fight for it!

Path to Knighthood is 30% off until September 14th!

Ian developed this game using ChoiceScript, a simple programming language for writing multiple-choice interactive novels like these. Writing games with ChoiceScript is easy and fun, even for authors with no programming experience. Write your own game and Hosted Games will publish it for you, giving you a share of the revenue your game produces.

Aug 24

2023

You Can Finally Delete Your Saves

Posted by: Dan Fabulich | Comments (225)

Over the next week or so, we’ll be rolling out updates to all of our games that include the ability to save and restore your game, to implement the ability to delete saves that you no longer want to keep.

These changes are already live when you play on our website, and in our “Choice of Games”, “Hosted Games”, and “Heart’s Choice” omnibus apps.

We’ve also submitted updates for all of our standalone apps for Steam, iOS, and Android. You’ll see those updates appearing and auto-updating over the course of the next week or so.

How to delete your saves

Start by using the “restore game” menu option. You might need to “Retrieve saved games online from choiceofgames.com” to see your list of saves.

Once you see the list of saves on the “restore game” menu, you’ll see a new option to “Delete saves” at the bottom. You’ll see a menu, allowing you to select any number of saves, and then use the “Delete” button at the bottom to delete them. (If you’ve changed your mind, you can unselect all saves, and “Delete 0 Saves.”)

You can undelete your saves, too

After you’ve deleted saves, you’ll see a new menu option, allowing you to undelete saves that you’ve deleted.

Saved games will appear in the “undelete” menu for up to 30 days. (After 30 days, it’s still possible for Choice of Games staff to recover deleted saves.)

Reach out to us at support@choiceofgames.com if you have any questions around this.

Thanks for your patience

We first implemented the ability to save games on choiceofgames.com in 2013, and, over the last ten years, we’ve heard steady feedback that players needed to be able to delete those saves.

It took us a while, but we’re finally getting a chance to work on stuff that we should have done years ago, like adding keyboard shortcuts and disabling touch-slide controls.

There’s more to come! What do you think we should work on next?

Aug 24

2023

Forbidden Magic—Catch a magical arsonist and lose your heart!

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (18)

Forbidden MagicWe’re proud to announce that Forbidden Magic, 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 40% off until August 31st!

As a paranormal agent, your job is to keep magic under wraps. Can you catch a magical arsonist before you lose your heart?

Forbidden Magic is a 145,000-word interactive paranormal romance game by Frances Pauli, author of Brimstone Manor. It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

You’re a mage on parole for a crime you didn’t commit. Or, maybe you did, but you certainly didn’t intend to get caught. For penance, you’ve been assigned to the Organization for the Protection of Sorcerous Secrets, a task force dedicated to keeping the paranormal out of the public eye.

The vampire who works in the basement is out to get you. Your boss is literally a devil. And they’ve assigned you a hellhound for a partner, a shapeshifter who just happens to be your high-school crush. (Or, choose your own background! Maybe you were the hellhound’s crush? Or perhaps you were rivals, instead?)

Whether you use your superior sleuthing skills, rely on some magic of your own, or resort to dirty tactics, it’s not the worst gig. Hunting down rogues and mopping up public displays of magic could even be fun. But when a magical arsonist goes on a rampage, you’ll need all the help you can get to keep the city safe and to keep your secrets, even if it means working with a human from a rival agency.

The closer you get to finding the arsonist, the closer you get to losing your heart. You used to be very close with the hellhound-shifter who’s now your OPSS partner. Could there be the sparks of something more? Your job is to keep magic out of mortal hands, but wouldn’t it be nice to put yourself in the hands of that tall, broad-shouldered rival agent? Or perhaps you’ll take this opportunity to seduce your boss, the dazzlingly competent and even more dazzlingly dressed devil? And then there’s the suspect whose vulnerability just might melt your heart…

• Play as male, female, or non-binary; gay, straight, or bi.
• Romance a shifter, devil, mage, or even an ordinary human.
• Choose your relationship trope: friends-to-lovers, friends-to-enemies-to-lovers, second-chance romance, and more.
• Choose your magical specialty and build your power!
• Investigate crime in a hidden magical part of the city: fey-owned nightclubs, elf-run diners, secret government agencies, and more.
• Work to keep magic a secret, or unleash forbidden knowledge into the wider world.

As the city burns, let your heart catch fire!

We hope you enjoy playing Forbidden Magic. 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.

Aug 21

2023

Heart’s Choice Author Interview: Frances Pauli, Forbidden Magic

Posted by: Mary Duffy |

Forbidden MagicAs a paranormal agent, your job is to keep magic under wraps. Can you catch a magical arsonist before you lose your heart?

Forbidden Magic is a 145,000-word interactive paranormal romance game by Frances Pauli, author of Brimstone Manor. I sat down with Frances to talk about her work and her process.

Forbidden Magic releases this Thursday, August 24th. You can play the first three chapters for free today.

This is your second foray into interactive fiction after your fantastic first Heart’s Choice title, Brimstone Manor. But you’re also a seasoned fiction writer. Please tell our readers about your other writing!

I write novels and short stories across the speculative genres, romance, and humor. Many of my stories feature animal characters, or animal-like aliens, or shifters. Very occasionally, I write about ordinary humans, but even then, you’re likely to find an animal or two among the mix.

What did you find surprising about writing an interactive romance?

It’s really challenging. I feel like reader (or player) expectations are very different from writing a linear narrative. It was interesting to see how readers of interactive romance have very distinct ideas about how they want to play their character and I enjoyed trying to give them enough options to satisfy so many diverse ideas.

Do you particularly enjoy writing in the supernatural genre?

I really do. There’s something about the supernatural that fascinates me, in particular because it has echoes of our own, very relatable, reality but takes things one step farther into the fantastical.

Where did you find inspiration during the writing process?

Everywhere really. Story ideas seem to be all around us, in real life, in the news, in our dreams. I find the really challenging part is deciding which ones to focus on and turn into a working project.

What are you working on now/next?

Currently I am writing fantasy romances in a world populated by horses. The characters come from four different herds with striking differences and yet very universal challenges and feelings. I’m excited by the prospect of showing how individuals from distinct and separate origins can band together to face a shared foe, to discover their own heroism, and of course, find romance.

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Aug 17

2023

Top Villain: Total Domination—Smash your heroic nemesis and rule the world!

Posted by: Mary Duffy | Comments (20)

Top Villain: Total DominationWe’re proud to announce that Top Villain: Total Domination, 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 August 24!

Today, smash your heroic nemesis! Tomorrow, build a doomsday device to take over the world! But, wait, are your henchpeople going on strike?!

Top Villain: Total Domination is a 228,000-word interactive comedy supervillain novel by Brandon Greer. It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

You are the world’s most villainous supervillain, heck-bent on conquering the world. Carrying on your parents’ villainous legacy, you have built your ideal secret lair and filled it with (mostly) loyal and competent henchpeople. You have honed all kinds of villainous skills, and thanks to your musical-theater training, you know how to make a dramatic entrance and construct the perfect evil monologue. You regularly rob banks and travel by jet pack–when you’re not teleporting, that is–and you are hatching the absolute perfect plan to take over the world. Life is good. (Or evil. Which is good.) With your powers, smarts, and good looks, what can possibly stand in your way?

But there is a thorn in your side. A valiant yellow-clad thorn, with rippling muscles and chiseled jaw: the interplanetary hero Matchless Man. You may have defeated him in the past, but you know that heroes never give up. How will you bring this horrible hero down: will you turn him into a villain like you, negate his powers, or just fight him? And what will you do about his equally horrible and equally heroic friends? (Ugh! Why do heroes always have friends?) Then there’s the intrepid reporter that your henchpeople caught snooping on your secret lair: will you suborn them with your seductive wiles, or will you become the scoop of a lifetime? On top of that, the supervillain organization Multitude of Murderous Malcontents seems to have all of these silly rules about world domination, and they’re conducting a surprise inspection! And, yes, your henchpeople are definitely going on strike.

Oh, also, your mom keeps calling.

Can’t a villain just build a giant world-destroying doomsday weapon in peace?

  • Play as male, female, or nonbinary; gay, straight, bi, pan, or asexual
  • Choose your powers: ice, fire, or telepathy. Or just be so villainously awesome that you don’t need any powers!
  • When your henchpeople go on strike, resolve it with charm, or fear
  • Attend Villain-Con and meet (or exploit) your biggest fan.
  • Customize your lair with gadgets and fabulous decor!
  • Disrupt the formation of a heroic league of heroes: turn them against each other, or just destroy their headquarters!
  • Defeat your arch-nemesis! And also your regular nemesis! You have a lot of nemesises. Nemeses.
  • Deal with your daddy issues. And mommy issues. You’ve got almost as many issues as you have nemeses.
  • Romance your chief hench-sidekick, an intrepid reporter, or your heroic nemesis.

This is your chance to stoop to new lows! Mwahahahaha!

We hope you enjoy playing Top Villain: Total Domination. 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.

Aug 14

2023

Author Interview: Brandon Greer, Top Villain: Total Domination

Posted by: Mary Duffy |

Today, smash your heroic nemesis! Tomorrow, build a doomsday device to take over the world! But, wait, are your henchpeople going on strike?!

Top Villain: Total Domination is a 228,000-word interactive comedy supervillain novel by Brandon Greer. I sat down with Brandon to discuss the villainous inspiration behind the game and his process.

Top Villain: Total Domination releases this Thursday, August 17th. You can play the first three chapters today, for free.

What was the inspiration for this game?

It would probably be easier to list what didn’t inspire Top Villain. At the surface, a lot of my influences were other subversive takes on the classic comic book genre: Mega Mind, Despicable Me, Watchmen, and Venture Bros., all of whom turn the classic hero vs. villain conflict on their heads. That the character of Superman inspired a lot of the game goes without saying. Of course, another major influence was Hamlet, from which I cribbed a major plot point as well as the titles for most of the chapters of the game. I think Disco Elysium inspired a lot of the gameplay as well. I loved that game’s notion of “all right, here’s the chance to say the next wacky, outrageous thing.” But I also liked that the game had this incredibly sincere core, exploring a hurt character who tries to soothe his feelings of loss, frustration, and self-criticism with copious substance abuse. I feel like Top Villain does that too, but substitute the alcohol and drugs with bank robberies and giant lasers.

Do you have any favorite villains from other media—comic books, films, TV series?

I am a big horror guy, so I love Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Dracula, and Patrick Bateman. Essentially, I’ll watch any big ham with a sharp object. But when it comes to non-horror media, I like Lex Luthor, the Green Goblin, Richard III, Baron Harkonnen, Macbeth, Khan Noonien Singh, and (of course) Darth Vader. There is something absolutely compelling about a person with power, influence, and almost militaristic might who is absolutely insane under his calm, collected surface. I think the concept that someone who does not deserve power can obtain it and exploit it is so thoroughly terrifying. Yet I can’t look away. But if we’re talking about villains like the ones in Top Villain, then I’d say Skeletor. You can’t watch a single scene of classic Skeletor and not smile a little. The guy makes looking goofy cool.

Who was your favorite non-player character to write?

Over time, it became Smartica, the PC’s number one henchperson. At first, she was more of a background character that served as more of a litmus test with how dissatisfied the player’s lackeys were. But over time, she became her own character. She’s probably the person who is nicest to the player, and I really do think she has the most intriguing character arc of all the non- player characters. In many ways, by the end of the rewriting process, she ended up not only helping craft a much-improved resolution to the game, but she reinforced one of its major themes as well. This game would not be what it is without her, and I cannot thank my alpha and beta
testers enough for asking for more of her.

What surprised you about the writing process?

I was surprised how much I could write. Since the novel requires the narrative to change depending on a player’s decisions, that meant that I had to write out each scenario for each choice, each success, each failure, and so on.

At first, I struggled to get to the mandated 150,000 words my contract required. But thank God for my editors and beta testers, because they gave me so many more ideas on how to add new scenarios, jokes, and character interactions to flesh the game out more. The game now sits around 200,000 words, which is a little longer than Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and a little shorter than Moby-Dick. Now, compare that to some of the other Choice of Games available, and that is short. I never could have imagined that I could have written a 200,000-word anything. Even the novel manuscript I have in my desk drawer is barely 50,000 (cough, cough, literary agents, if you’re reading this). But, hey, there is a first time for everything. I can only hope my next Choice of Games game is Stephen King-length.

What are you working on now/next?

I have a lot of irons in the fire, as well as a nice pair of oven mitts with which to juggle them. I’m wanting to adapt Codename: Blank, a podcast I did a while back, into a comic book series. In Houston, someone will be performing a reading of a play I wrote sometime in October. I also have a skeleton of an idea for a novel that I’m still refining a little.

And you know I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year.

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