Monthly Archives: February 2010

2009 XYZZY Awards Nominating

The 2009 XYZZY Awards are in their first round of voting, which is basically a nomination round. This is the major annual award show for works of interactive fiction (text adventures). If you liked The Bryant Collection or “Backup,” voting for them in this round might be something you want to do.

Of course, there have been several other awesome IF pieces released this year. I need to play more of them myself before I can make a proper decision.

A Global Chronicle

I am involved in the Camarilla, which is the White Wolf RPG publishing company’s official fan organization. Among other things, the Cam organizes a global campaign for live action roleplaying, or LARP. This is a “theatrical LARP,” not a “boffer LARP.” We don’t hit each other with foam weapons; instead, we have more social and politically-focused games, and any combat is as heavily abstracted as it is in tabletop roleplaying. The nature of a global campaign raises some very interesting issues in game design.

The Cam is not the only global LARP campaign around; One World By Night is another organization that runs a similar campaign for the old World of Darkness setting, for example. As far as I know, though, the Cam is the largest global LARP around. A global campaign means that local games are connected to games across the US and the world, so that I can go on a trip to California and use the character I play in Charlotte to a Camarilla game there. Events that occur in Alabama can affect nearby locations, and there are periodic conventions where players and characters from all over the world come to play in a single game. This results in all sorts of interesting consequences and annoyances.
Continue reading A Global Chronicle

Why Uru Matters

Cyan, now Cyan Worlds, released Myst in 1993. The work became one of the most influential video games of all time. It made the CD-ROM a must-have, led the rise of the atmospheric adventure puzzler, and is the leading suspect in the death of the adventure game. It was the bestselling game of all time until The Sims came along, and is probably, along with Mario and Pac-Man, the game even gaming-illiterate people have heard of.

The magnum opus of Cyan Worlds, however, is a sequel: Uru, now known as Myst Online: Uru Live. It’s a Myst MMO, first scheduled for release in 2003. Before the game was even released, the online portion was canceled. It was briefly resurrected in 2007-08 by GameTap, then canceled again. Recently, it has been revived again in donation-ware form, but it still has all the bugs and issues that helped contribute to its repeated downfall. Why should anyone care about or play Uru? Because it’s unique. It does things no other game does.
Continue reading Why Uru Matters

Dream Project 5 – The Battle for the Fortress

This is a summary of my ongoing Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition game, played with some friends from college over the internet using MapTool and Teamspeak.

When we last left our game, the citizens of Meersha had fled a dragon, Zekleinenezzar, who had taken over their town. They took refuge in an abandoned fortress overlooking the abandoned city of Decolay, which has been taken over by kenku, goblins, and possibly other forces. They returned from a trip to the dream world to find kobold worshipers of the dragon making advances on the fortress.

The party consists of:
Etzlojek, kobold rogue and lover of fine things, adopted by the town’s general store owner; he is branded Etzlojek the Traitor by the attacking kobolds
Eva, student of the local ritual mage and magic shop owner, who seems like a perfectly normal human wizard with a penchant for shapechanging spells
Donaar, dragonborn warlock and enemy of dragons, who ended up in town after his home city was overrun by undead
Diesa, stalwart dwarven fighter grossed out by bugs, who was visiting family in town and seems to have vampire heritage
Sully, formerly-retired half-elf paladin of Erathis and party NPC, who ran the tavern in Meersha.

This is level five.
Continue reading Dream Project 5 – The Battle for the Fortress

Babies Dream of Dead Worlds Released

And it’s out! My December 2009 game is up at Newgrounds. Babies Dream of Dead Worlds is a game about family.

Before we have memory, before we know what this world is, we dream. Babies dream of what came before, of universes that are no longer there. Babies dream of dead worlds.

Play Babies Dream of Dead Worlds on Newgrounds.

This game is a sort of surreal platformer, I suppose? It’s a bit hard to describe. It’s developed using Flixel, and tells the story of three siblings at the end of a world very unlike this one.