When life gives you hurricanes, make a game.

“Don’t come to work today, there’s a tropical storm.” is not something you typically hear in Ireland but, heck, a day off is a day off. Yesterday the Mouse family hunkered down in the living room while Storm Ophelia tore up the country like a drunken bridesmaid at a wedding looking for her purse.  We’re all fine, in fact it was fairly anticlimactic if I’m honest. When the news is promising the worst storm since the sixties, I at least expect to see a couple of cows flying past my window.

Anyway, over the weekend I attended a course on writing interactive fiction hosted by Charlene Putney of Larion Games in the Irish Writer’s Centre (Five stars, definitely recommend). That’s where I discovered Twine, an online resource that lets you create your own games even if, like me, you think “coding” is a type of pain medication.

I’ve created a horror text adventure called “The Ebon Death” which you can play here. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated (no spoilers, please) and if you feel like it’s something you want to try your hand at, you can create your own twine games here and leave a link in the comments.

Mouse out.

27 comments

  1. Ok… To be completely honest the name hurricane Ophelia makes me want to do a Hamlet adaptation starring weather patterns. I have no idea weather or not this is the worst idea I’ve ever had.

  2. I thought it was good. The descriptions are enough without being too much. The length is enough to be satisfying but short enough to make replaying to see the other endings easily. I can honestly say that I had no idea where it was going before the twist. Also I find it interesting, after reading all (I think) the endings, thinking about how all of them after the twist end and how all the characters fit together.

  3. re: The Ebon Death.

    I didn’t realize that a “twine game” was a choose-your-own-adventure sort of thing but once I got it, I had fun playing. I hadn’t anticipated the twist and I had to reread a couple of paragraphs just to make sure I hadn’t misunderstood. (The video clip helped!)

  4. Wow, been ages since I played a text adventure game. I’m juuuust old enough to remember them as A Thing, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy one by Infocom was my fave (and also impossible).

    This was great! I got the Honest Man’s Ending, then went back and got the Good Man’s Ending.

    Reminded me a lot of Telltale’s Walking Dead, with the difficult moral choices (still need to play season two of that).

    Didn’t see the twist coming at all, it was very well done.

  5. Determined to get an ending in which I didn’t get brutally slain, I ended up playing about ten times and finally stopped once I’d got both ‘father’ and ‘good man’. I didn’t expect it to be this intricate and I’m really impressed. The intersection of genres is a nice touch. Some great, vivid descriptions too, like ‘hate with teeth.’

    I did notice a fair few typos, and the video kind of ruined my immersion. I’d prefer to stick to descriptions and work out the Ebon Death’s identity. Also, I liked that nothing in particular was described about the main character and I was happily playing as a Brienne-of-Tarth-like lady, right up until the game called me a man. Other than that, you avoided the primary pitfall of second-person narration, which is that too many specific details about the narrator make them too different from the main character for the device to work.

    I’m definitely going to make one now. The only question is, what’s my topic going to be? Maybe some local cryptozoology.

      1. Marvellous Mouse, I cannot thank you enough for introducing me to this amazing tool. I have wasted entirely too much of my finite life writing this monster of a game.

        It is far bigger than I ever intended it to be, but I had a lot of fun writing it. It’s a murder mystery, set in a zoo, in space. You play as the ship’s AI, speaking in the earpiece of Dr Jestyn MacKenzie, the zoo vet. There are ten different endings.

        Mouse fans should remember to ask the cop about his personal life.

        http://www.philome.la/Amelia_R_Mellor/xenofari-murder-at-the-zoo-in-space

      2. I got the Fourth ending. Does the culprit change with each one? I love the setting and it’s very well written. One quibble would be that I was allowed to make reference to things I hadn’t experienced i.e. I could talk to people about what I’d seen in the tiger enclosure even if I’d never been to the tiger enclosure. Great job overall though.

      3. Glad you enjoyed it! I was concerned about that bug, but I didn’t know how to fix it… I guess I can make the staffroom only accessible from the tigers?

        There are four possible culprits, but seven endings where you find out who did it. Each one comes with a different motive, though. In four of those endings, you (as Plexi) win, and in three, you find out who did it and why, but don’t catch them and/or die. I tried to make the ‘bad’ endings fun, though, with ludicrous deaths or motives.

        The other three endings are easily-avoided traps – eg, if you keep trying to convince Jes not to solve it, she chickens out.

      4. Beauty! I’m thinking I’ll eventually do a sequel based on Ending 5 (more of a survival/escape story where we really explore the bonkers possibilities of the premise) so that will come in super handy.

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