73 – #altgames and Fear of Twine

I wrote Zest with the help of lectronice and PaperBlurt and released it under the name Fear of Twine. We wanted to release under a band name of sorts, and after a few failed attempts decided that the potential confusion would be funny: Fear of Twine was the name of a Twine exhibition I curated last year. We talked about the idea of expanding it into a sort of loose collective, about other projects we could do together under the name–and if those went nowhere, it’s because we all got distracted by shiner projects.

(That we were releasing Zest in the Interactive Fiction Competition, which has a fairly complex relationship with Twine, was part of the impetus for the name: Never let it be said that Blurt, lectro and I aren’t cheeky.)

lectro and Blurt were the first people I noticed to use the hashtag #altgames to talk about their stuff. It’s a logical term: Indie and Alternative, in music, are two ways of talking about roughly the same aesthetic, and while genre scholars will certainly weigh in on the formal differences between the two–a conversation that, as a musician, I’ve had many, many times in smoky basements and will again until the day I die–for our purposes, they’re just different decades’ words for the same thing. #altgames comes with the understanding, as well, that Indie has become meaningless–it covers both Double Fine and bedroom games. There’s even a tinge of success that Indie implies–that, even if you’re not exactly making your rent payments, you’ve got enough Patreon subscribers to help you afford to go to GDC where you show off your game to people who are interested in it.

One of my big challenges has been keeping my eyes on my own paper; I don’t know if this is a universal thing, although I suspect it might be, but it’s certainly something I have in common with most of my friends. It seems everyone I know is either bitter or naive, or, hell, both. I don’t know anyone who’s making a Minecraft clone but I see so many of them in Early Access on Steam and I can completely imagine their mindset: This is popular, I can make a better one and make even more money–and, inevitably, Why am I not as successful as notch, that piece of shit in his goddamn mansion.

I mean, can I point out that most of my friends are Twine devs or otherwise working in extremely niche forms? There is no money to be made in niche game forms. And every single one of us is bitter: About the lack of attention, about our relative successes, about the fact that we aren’t satisfied with what we’re doing. And that you’re a heretic if you express doubt. I remember I said, at IndieCade 2013, that “there’s no money in indie games” and three devs I’d been having a pleasant beer with suddenly snapped: What about Minecraft? What about Braid? What about Fez? It’s considered almost offensive to question the premise that anyone can be a successful game dev. But it’s a lie. Anyone can form a band, but you’re probably not going to be even a minor rock star. How many of us with creative writing degrees sold that novel? How many famous actors do you know? How many high school football players play professionally?

Indie games feels like a club we’re not allowed into. And we are tired of seeing the same people insist, time and time again, that it’s not a clique; of hearing people with dozens more followers than us talk in interview after interview about the lack of attention paid them–and when you consider how unusual notch’s case is, that even the most successful #altgames devs aren’t making much money at all, you can’t blame them for feeling like they’ve been sold a bill of goods even as they’re selling it right back to the next tier. Let’s stop bullshitting ourselves and fucking admit it, cards on the table: No one in indie games is happy or satisfied or having a good time.

I mean, really: Are you?

The arguments about #altgames that I woke up to this morning on my twitter feed: What I am hearing are the sounds of yet another meaningless pissing contest–Game scene politics are so bitter because the stakes are so low. My understanding is we’re arguing about people arguing about whether or not they’re #alt enough, about the money that you can or can not make in #altgames, about who has the right to use the term. To take a cue from Orange is the New Black, we’re trying to strangle people so we can sell mascara in prison.

I’m thirty two fucking years old and I could not find this funnier. Over the past few years  I’ve meditated a lot, smoked a lot of grass, gotten a prescription for antidepressants, dropped acid and yelled at my reflection in the mirror, made some new friends–it’s been a lot of work to get even this much perspective, and I still find it remarkable how awful I feel when I think about stuff like GDC or whatever. I don’t have it in me to do the con circuit, I don’t even want to do it, if being a game developer means doing that shit all the time then I’m taking my ball and I’m going home.

Here’s the secret: Everybody feels left out. Nobody is happy. I’m friends with a bunch of people at different levels of success, guys making Twines in their bedrooms, people whose games have won awards–and they’re all lonely. Maybe it’s inherent to the game developer experience. There’s an alienation to developers that a lot of musicians have too–that most artists have. You don’t get good at playing guitar unless you spend a lot of time practicing. Hell, if I had been the type of person who wanted to go to parties and who got invited to them, I wouldn’t have had the time to learn to play. If you love games enough that you want to make them–and that your games are idiosyncratic and niche–then it’s not unlikely that you spend a lot of time alone, playing or writing. That’s what I do.

There was a bunch of all of that going around when I did the Fear of Twine exhibition–an element of I’m gonna throw my own party and it’ll have better music and a dog. I’m a little heartbroken at everyone who feels left out of the indie scene, of #altgames, of Twine, and I see how upset everyone is that the indie scene, that #altgames, that Twine completely ignores them.

So the only way I can think of to clean up my street corner is to basically open up my house and pray no one breaks my TV or anything. I’ve got this Fear of Twine name and I want to do something with it. I want to see if I can turn Fear of Twine into that loose collective in a way which is inclusive. I think there could be some basic guidelines about how to credit things and stuff like that, but beyond that, if you want to declare your game as a Fear of Twine game, you can.

In terms of intent, I’d like this to be a club in which membership is entirely self-determined. I don’t want people to be arguing over whether someone’s game is FoTty enough or whether they’re really a member–fuck that. I want this to be something that you almost agree to a certain behavioral standard–in other words, if another Fear of Twine member gives you the secret handshake, you’re friends.

This is, of course, utterly impossible, and is either going to fail from not enough people being interested or from too many people doing it and this going the way of all groups–as Carlin says, after a while groups of people formed around a common purpose start to get these nifty hats and armbands. I reserve the right to shut this down when it gets to the armband phase. It’s an experiment.

What I’m thinking in terms of guidelines are something like this:

–It’ll have to be in Twine. Naturally. Whatever that means is up to you, I don’t care about version or genre or anything, but it’s just got to have been created with Twine at some point and running in an .html file at the end.

–I’d like to restrict this to unreleased works, just because that makes more sense to me logistically; if you’re expanding or rereleasing something, we can talk.

Now I will be making an exception for Zest, since that was released under the name. I’m going back and forth about whether I want to include the games from the FoT exhibition or keep that as a separate thing; I might also want to talk to Blurt and lectro and see if they want to include some of their stuff…I guess basically I’m saying that initially there will be some exceptions to this rule–I’d like to start with a few works in the catalog so it doesn’t look empty, frankly–but it’s my house and I’m allowed to do that and you probably won’t be one of them. We can still be friends.

–If you want to put a game under the name, drop me an email. I’ll be putting up a main page on fearoftwine.com that’ll list all the games, maybe give them a catalog number so it’ll seem fancy, maybe put up a description, I’m a little fuzzy on this right now but I’ll come up with some general info.

–I don’t want to host anything but I’ll link to it. Drop me a line if you change where it’s being hosted.

–I don’t care if this is something you’re releasing for free in a Dropbox link or if it’s something you’re selling on Itch. I will, of course, not take any money you make.

–I’ll work on the language, but there will be need to be something along the lines of “Fear of Twine presents…” or “by Fear of Twine” on the title page or first screen, and authors credited separately. I would like there to be an About page with a link to the fearoftwine.com site, but this is all boilerplate that we can figure out later.

–If you’re a Tweeter, I’d probably like you to use the #FoT hashtag as much as humanly possible.

–I’m serious about the secret handshake, though. I know a lot of people on Twitter and in the community feel very–uncomfortable around strangers, let’s say. People worry about randos in their mentions, people worry they’re not good enough to talk to other people–it’s stupid and understandable. So I guess I’m gonna be open to anyone who approaches me, and I want it to really feel like if you’ve got a game in Fear of Twine, that you can talk to anyone else who does. Maybe it’s as simple as “you both know me, now play nice”. Consider it a letter of introduction.

–I’m not going to be curating this in any way beyond updating the list. I don’t want to be in the business of deciding what does and does not belong on the list. Listen: If you’re sending something in, make it a serious entry, don’t be an asshole or an idiot, just be an adult. You know how you’re supposed to act and so do I. So let’s act like that, I guess.

–Showing a version of this to a couple people, the idea of a forum was floated around, as well as some kind of moderation.

Like I said, I don’t want to be in the business of gatekeeping, but at the same time I can totally get that we don’t want troll entries (at the same time as I realize that the concept of a “troll entry” is a nebulous term and that while I think there’s a sniff test for them, I’m not sure if that’s enough). I know I full stop don’t want to do something like “well we can have the members vote on it!” because, well, you know, and I *really* don’t want to do something like finding a subsection of people to make these decisions, because that’s falling headfirst into the problems we’re trying to avoid. Any thoughts?

A forum will be easier–if there’s enough interest, I’d be happy to look into one. There’s a few options: We could do an entirely private forum limited to people who have Twines in the collection; we could do one limiting FoT people to post but which is open for people to read; we could have a completely public forum, a public forum with a FoT section–there’s basically a lot of options; either way I would probably assume this would be something for the future–nothing worse than a forum no one posts in–but it’s something I want to keep in the back burner.

 

That’s basically where my head is at on this. Don’t take any of this as set in stone or anything, but is this the kind of thing any of you readers would be interested in? Do you have any ideas, or spot any potential problems I can’t?

72

I’m mostly enjoying Arcanum–this is about the fifth or sixth time I’ve attempted it and I think it’s more or less sticking. I’m happy with Witzfilliam, my disenfranchised gnome who’s a heavy tanky melee fighter with light buffing skills, and if I can’t quite see the use of all of the spells, well, everyone tells me Arcanum is a delight for roleplayers.

I guess if I have to describe Arcanum, it’s Troika-y, which means that it’s got bugginess to it, an underbakedness to it, one which is married to a huge amount of potential, a rich skill system which lets you poke fairly deeply into the world, a series of sidequests and hidden content that leaves a lot of resolutions, a general sense of freedom for the player that Troika was never quite able to one hundred percent accomplish. The Temple of Elemental Evil is one I’ve never gotten more than a couple minutes in, and Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines was an amazing game that had way too many unfinished levels. Bloodlines is famous for, among other things, the tension between The Sewer Level That Lasts Forever, which is about as enjoyable as it sounds, and for the Ocean House Hotel, which is one of the finest haunted houses in gaming and a legit masterpiece of scripted scares.

Arcanum is making it clear where Troika loses me–I tend to think the flaws outweigh the great bits and find their games to be more fascinating failures than successes–and is helping to clarify a lot of thoughts I’ve had on RPGs and length. RPGs–JRPGs in particular–have a very impressionistic sense to them. In other words, you’re on a continent with a town, a castle, a cave, and a tower. You’re in a village that consists of four houses and a half dozen people. Even when the land’s isolation is part of the plot–see Dragon Quest VII, which starts you off on that size island and tells you, explicitly, that “in this world, only this island is”–there’s the understanding that this isn’t a literal depiction of the world: It’s a standin. Even in the smallest village, those four houses represent a few dozen, maybe; those half dozen-people, let’s say they speak for about a hundred. RPGs tend to abstract everything–this is a genre that, in its classic form, represents combat by menu clicks and subtraction–and the physical environment is no difference.

The other day a friend of mine asked me what the first RPG I played that really got to me in terms of story, and I said, well, I got Dragon Warrior in that Nintendo contest back in 1989, when I was about seven years old: I’ve been there since the beginning, really. Now, Dragon Warrior has the barest skeleton of a plot: The evil Dragonlord attacked and kidnapped the princess and is somehow menacing the land; you level grind and grab a bunch of macguffins; you save the princess, defeat the Dragonlord, and return peace to the land. Playing it as an adult, I’m surprised by how lean the story is, largely because I remember living this game as a kid. Being seven had a lot to do with it, obviously–it’s not exactly hard to get a seven-year-old’s imagine to run away with something–but Dragon Warrior does earn a lot of the credit because it’s a hell of a skeleton.

Dragon Warrior dealt with a lot of space limitations, the patience of an audience that didn’t quite know what RPGs were, that was used to games with even less plot, and it chose its skeleton well. If a town can fit a half dozen residents, each of whom can do a couple of lines of dialogue, you have to make all of that dialogue count. Every word in Dragon Warrior–like in Might and Magic–has to carry a lot of weight. And so you get a decent outline that you’re encouraged to color in yourself. If “let’s tell a story together” is the best definition of interactive fiction I’ve encountered, well Dragon Warrior does exactly that: Where Might and Magic lets you work in collaboration with the designer in order to reconstruct the physical environment, Dragon Warrior lets you work in collaboration to reconstruct the narrative.

There’s a term that comes up from time to time in old school CRPG manuals–Might and Magic and Wizardry 6 are the two that spring to mind–and that term is “fantasy simulation”. This term describes the likes of Skyrim much better than role-playing-game does, at least to me: I’ve never played an Elder Scrolls game for the plot and I’m still shocked and confused when people talk about the story elements in Skyrim. Elder Scrolls games are less about exploring a narrative, less about charting a world, and more about a simulation of the experience of being an adventurer. There’s an element of simulated realism–the way encumberance is handled, the way everyone keeps a paranoid eye on their possessions, the way character development tends towards minutiae–that takes the center stage. There’s a certain soullessness to Elder Scrolls–the personalities of the various NPCs tumble headfirst into the uncanny valley because we’re expected to take everything so seriously and representational: The Holy Grail of The Elder Scrolls is a game which would exactly match the experience of actually being there.

So I guess I feel like Arcanum squanders its narrative potential–its plot is pretty good and compelling, its structure sprawling and free–by edging towards that simulation aspect. It doesn’t quite get off on its own size the way that Skyrim does, but there cities–during which you spend most of the game–are much larger than they need to be. The experience of Arcanum has been entering every door in a block and talking to everyone I meet; half of the houses are empty, most of the citizens have nothing to say beyond a few generic lines. This is completely unnecessary: Exploring a city is miserable enough, trying to find a specific person to receive a quest reward an exercise in tedium. I’ve started looking everything up on a map I found online–which wouldn’t happen if all of the buildings had something useful in them.

71 – Planescape Torment

And from the frustration file: So I spent the majority of the day just firehosing Torment, cause I had the day off, and why not? And close to my normal bedtime, I notice that I’m actually about to enter the endgame. Okay, fine, I’ll stay up late, beat this sucker, and go to bed accomplished(?). I finished up my last few sidequests, including retrieving a certain item that, according to Ben Chandler, unlocks a really really cool segment in the endgame.

Now, the last half of the game is *extremely* combat heavy–to its detriment, I might say, but I’ll save that for another post–but the final dungeon is ridiculous. Your party members are taken away from you and you have to make your way through a large room pulling switches and avoiding enemies that, while no particular challenge with a party, can really easily surround your single character. Fortunately, you’re immortal, remember: If these things catch and kill you, the worst thing that happens is you appear in the next screen with full health ready to try again.

And for the first three of four switches, that’s exactly what I did–maybe I died a few more times than necessary, but whatever. Right before the fourth switch, however, the stars aligned and a group of enemies surrounded the entrance to the room; since you basically portal in, there’s no way of retreat or escape. The enemies beat me up, and then a nice little message letting me know that I’m incapacitated pops up, and an actual game over screen appears. My last non autosave was about an hour and a half previous; while I could probably run through that bit fairly quickly, I don’t necessarily want to have to.

Fortunately, I have all of those editors from the crowbar incident the other day. I’ll spare the details–suffice it to say it involved directory switching and renaming files and just all this bullshit–but the easiest solution turned out to be maxing out all my stats, letting my character easily defeat the enemies blocking the way. Okay, so far so good. Go through some more story bits, meet a character who says, hey, remember that item Ben told you to hang onto, well take it out now because here’s what it does–and I look in my pockets and son of a bitch, I gave the fucking thing to one of the other characters who is now God knows where.

My last save file is now about two hours before that point, and I don’t fucking care. The thing that the item turned out to be, it is pretty cool, and I do want to see it, and I guess I’m just gonna have to bite the bullet and redo the endgame. Looks like I won’t be beating the game till the morning or maybe even tomorrow night. But hey, that’s still pretty fuckin’ quick, right? I rule.

70 – Planescape Torment

One faction, the Sensates, believe that the only “real” things in the universe are those that can be directly experienced with the senses. Their goal is, essentially, experiencing as much as possible so one can understand the truth of the Multiverse.

One old Sensate laments this to you: He wishes to still continue to experience new things, but his age is so advanced that he can’t physically travel to the more exotic locations. He tasks you with finding a way for him to lose his memory–that way very basic, every day sensations will be new to him.

So you do, and what follows is the text of a note he wrote to himself to get his bearings: “Congratulations…you’ve begun again,” it says, and he goes off, amiably, to figure out what’s going on and follow the instructions he wrote.

What strikes me about this quest is that the guy now finds himself in the same situation as our protagonist–an amnesiac trying to learn as much as possible about the world. And yet, where your journey is one of angst and melancholy and horror, his appears to be a joyous second chance.

There’s that Nietzche thing–I apologize for referencing Nietzsche!–which talks about a shadowy figure at the foot of your bed telling you that you’re going to relive all of the events of your life, that they’re going to repeat again and again for ever and ever, and an ambiguity over whether this is a blessing from an angel or a curse from a devil. For our sensate, the opportunity to live life over is a consummation devoutly to be wished. For you, every step of your journey is fairly horrific. Everything you find out about your past shows you to be one of the biggest assholes on the Planes. Reliving your past through your rediscovery of it is turning out to be a fairly terrible curse indeed.

69 — Planescape Torment

–Okay! So the puzzle I was stuck on: I needed a crowbar to repair the Alley of Lingering Sighs, which would have been easy if I hadn’t sold the crowbar. I couldn’t find another one–I scoured the world as much as I could, and couldn’t find a merchant who had one. I found a list online of which merchants sold what, but couldn’t find one I had access to who sold it.

This being the PC world, the natural thing to do was to find a save game editor–just slap in a crowbar, I figured, maybe even one or two of the side quest items I sold, and move on–play legitimately for the most part, just undo a small but significant series of mistakes in order to avoid replaying the first 10 hours of the game–because goddammit: I’ve played that Mortuary a half dozen goddamn times and I am not going to do that again.

The first program I found was more or less exactly what I wanted–you can look up your characters and add items to them from a list. Easy: Drop in a crowbar, add some prayer beads and Ulf’s knife, and call it a day. Problem: The particular trainer did not list the crowbar as a potential item, apparently because everyone was too busy adding magic swords and shit. The next two trainers didn’t even work on my computer–something about missing DLLs.

Finally, I found a program that listed every merchant I had talked to, and let me edit their inventory as far as prices and such. I found one who had a crowbar in his inventory–but this program didn’t let me edit my *characters’* inventory. And even moreso, while the merchant had a name in the save game editor, I got no hits from searching for the name online and found no clues for his location. So I went back to the original save game list, found the merchant the editor mentioned–I overlooked him the first time through–and finally was able to traipse over there, buy the damn thing, and move on.

Sometimes cheating is so much effort it’s not cheating at all.

–One of the more badass parts of the game is the NPCs. In many ways, Planescape’s main tale is a frame–while you’ve certainly got an interesting narrative going on, and your story does appear to touch a lot of crucial points in the world, you’re also not the only one who’s got a narrative. Planescape isn’t the only game to do this–but it does it remarkably well.

Many games do this as far as making their side quests interesting and connected to the world, but Planescape is, moreso than any other game I’ve played in a while, really concerned with giving even one-off NPCs a backstory. I just had a conversation with a guy–he’s a doorman/guide, and far as I can tell his entire role in the game is to provide directions for the building you’re in. And if you ask him about himself, you find out he’s the ruler of another dimension who’s spending a few centuries doing guard duty–he’s fascinated by the faction who owns the building and is studying their philosophy. Because of the nature of time in your dimensions, he explains, the centuries amount to a couple of months in his world, and so the Queen is ruling in his place while he essentially studies abroad. There are plenty of copy and paste NPCs running around, certainly, they’re just set dressing to make the city feel crowded, but you have enough characters on every screen with an unusual story or something to say that it gives the feeling of being among people who consider themselves to be their own story’s protagonist, and who have the right to.

–Favorite side quest: At the shop of a talkative, cheery coffin maker, noticing a sickly, quiet looking man hanging around. He just wandered in one day, the coffin maker explains, he’s become a regular–a particular hilarious term considering the business–and though he never buys anything, he’s great to talk to–even calls the man his best friend in a little scrap of chatter.

Talking to the man, you quickly realize he’s a zombie, who explains that the coffin maker is just *so* talkative that he’s starting to annoy everyone in the neighborhood. A magician came up with the solution to create a zombie to be the coffin maker’s friend and keep him from bothering everyone. Which would work fine…except at the point you meet the zombie, he’s grown absolutely sick of the coffin maker; your quest is to find a way to put him out of his misery.

–And nearby, a beggar woman, a member of the Githzerai, a people from the dimension of Limbo. You’ve got a Githzerai in your party, and he talks to her. She’s dying–the neighborhood is plagued by fumes from abyssal dimensions and she’s essentially got Hell Cancer–she’s lost her job, and she’s suffering on the street. By custom, he can kill her and relieve her of her pain. It’s your call–and it’s notable that one of the options is “kill her as painfully as possible”, which I couldn’t even begin to consider.

–And I suppose it’s significant that, in a game whose ultimate goal involves figuring a way to break free of your own inability to die, that there are more than a few quests centered around, meet a suffering person and help them die.

68 – Planescape Torment

–This is like my 6th attempt at Planescape: Torment. I’ve only been able to get out of the mortuary once before; I’ve just gotten past the part I stopped at during that play through.

There’s no particular reason for this: Im not the hugest fan of the Infinity Engine or this incarnation of DND mechanics–is this second or third?–but it’s largely been a case of, not the right game for this time in my life.

I’m not the kind of person who gets hung up on these kinds of things. I used to. If a canonical work didn’t grab me, well I would blame myself, or act snobbish, or pretend I had played/read it. I’m over that, largely because I’ve gotten to that age where I’ve discovered and fallen in love with some stuff I previously dismissed–Might and Magic being the most obvious example.

I think it’s the right time for Planescape: Torment now.

–One of the first things everyone will tell you that the great thing about Torment is there’s no combat, or combat is optional, or whatever. That’s not entirely true. In the sewers, rats and monsters will jump out at you. You’ll pull aggro from bandits as you stroll through town. While I suppose it’s possible to run from everything, it’s not particularly fun or rewarding to do so. Let’s face it: Puzzles and exploration and narrative are awesome, and they’re the reason I love RPGs, but dammit, I want to bop a Kobold in the face from time to time.

So there is combat in Planescape, yes, but it’s not the focus. You really don’t have Kill the Foozle quests. It’s possible–and encouraging, and rewarding–to talk your way out of confrontations, and the majority of encounters are going to end that way.

What combat does is pace the game pretty well. Most of the XP you get in the game is from quests–monster XP is a drop in the bucket–and if you’re not doing many quests, if you’re not talking to people, if you’re not hunting for stuff to do, you’re gonna get slaughtered by the enemies the game does throw at you. Combat is never difficult–I’ve gotten through nearly all of it by throwing all my dudes at the monsters, tossing off the occasional spell, and praying.

There’s literally no penalty for death–for plot reasons, your character wakes up none the worse for wear after death, it’s the whole crux of the plot after all, and you’ve got a more or less free spell that can resurrect dead characters with no loss that I can tell. The game is comfortable with you taking down a swarm of enemies by killing them one at a time, resting and recovering after each death, and trying again. It’s not the most strategic or fascinating method, but who cares? The plot stuff is much better.

–There’s a remarkable amount of stuff hidden in the game. The early stages, at least, take place in a neighborhood of a city, and then you spend some time in the catacombs underneath–that’s the area I’m in now. There is enough to discover in each area that I’ve found new things in the third, fourth, fifth time I’ve crossed it. And it’s not simple loot–it’s quests, it’s characters. Planescape really does have a vibrant world, and the characters are all–oh, “interesting” seems a lame word but there it is.

See, it’s difficult to get me invested in Tolkein-esque fantasy. I can *enjoy* it, or at least find it transparent and background if the game itself is fine enough. But generally I really can’t give a shit about the conflict between elves and dwarves, I don’t always want to spend my time traipsing through the same forest, and I just want to go through a fantasy land that doesn’t feel beholden to the same old tropes.

Planescape is definitely this: It’s an extremely syncretic world. The name comes from the conception of the world as a multiverse with gates to infinite planes of existence. There’s a ton of weird shit in Planescape because the environment not only supports but encourages it, and there’s enough talk about even weirder shit out there that it really does feel like a game where everything’s possible. Skyrim–my favorite whipping boy!–feels so staid and dull by comparison.

–A problem: The game silently lets you sell certain quest items; now that I’ve realized this, I’ve stopped selling as much, but that doesn’t stop certain quests from being uncompletable. They’re largely side quests, but I would like the XP and I don’t like unfinished shit if I can help it. More importantly, the main quest I need now requires a crowbar. (I’m fixing the alley where my body was found, for those familiar with the game.) A crowbar was the first weapon I got, and I sold it a long time ago and I goddamn can’t find another one–and a shop list I found suggests that none of the shops I have access to sell it. I found a save game editor which lets me add certain items–but apparently not a crowbar.

So basically, if anyone can recommend some help–a save editor, an alternate route–I would appreciate it!! I don’t want to give up again–this game is too goddamn good.

67 – Zest

I’m lazy; Zest has been out for months, as part of the Interactive Fiction competition, which has been over for a few weeks now, and I’ve been able to talk about it, but I’ve just let that time go by.

Well anyway! My game Zest, which I worked on with lectronice and PaperBlurt, is now out, and you can go play it here. The reaction was as mixed as I expected; some people really got it, some didn’t, but I think it touched the people it was supposed to touch and pissed off the people it was supposed to piss off, and that’s all I feel like saying about it right now. I hope you enjoy it.