Today’s Quest: We’re doing something different today. Make a crucial decision that will impact the shape of our adventures to come, then play a crop of incredible new interactive fiction games. Tally ho!
First time here? Adventure Snack is a game series I email to subscribers. Play quests for free, twice a month, and turn your inbox into an adventure!
CHOOSE THE NEXT BIG GAME PROJECT!
In last year’s player survey, I asked what project Adventure Snack should take on this year. You overwhelmingly chose a 1-2 hour interactive fiction game to be entered into this year’s IFComp. Most of the games I develop are snackable gameables, including my first IFComp entry Use Your Psychic Powers at Applebee’s. So this is going to be an exciting and/or daunting challenge! I came up with a lot of ideas, which I winnowed down to a top three.
🗳️ After reading the three game concepts below, click the red button to vote on which game I should design.
Fix Your Mother’s Printer
You might know how the family printer works, but do you know how your family works? In this situation comedy, your mother calls you to solve a recurring paper jam, but the conversation sprawls in unexpected directions as you learn more about her strange, fascinating life and unlock family secrets. Why did your mom spend so much time at nightclubs before you were born? Is there a secret family Christmas you’re not invited to? Who is the man you’ve known as “grandfather?” There’s only one way to find out and it starts with an HP LaserJet Pro.
Let’s get freaky in the sewers! In this comedy dating sim, you’re a romance consultant assisting mutant clients who are sexy, single, and ready to spawn to maintain what's left of humanity in the post-apocalyptic underworld. Set your clients up on dates based on their profiles. Make a great match and the mutant couple lives happily ever afterscape. But a wrong match may lead to a violent clash! Use every trick at your disposal – from candlelight to muzzles – to help your dates go great. There are only so many mutants in the sewers, so deaths have dire consequences for the mutant community. Love must win!
My Psycho Guidance Counselor
You didn’t make the grade. Now your life is on the line in this slasher horror comedy. You and your high school friends are townie burnouts who’ve settled into underwhelming lives. But no bong rip can chill you out when word that your former guidance counselor escaped from prison. Mr. Zelinski is a bearded creep who obsessed over his students’ lives. The crazed counselor sends you all a text: “You didn't live up to your full potential. You will be punished.” Protect as many of your friends as you can by figuring out who Mr. Z will strike next, then thwart his attacks. The stakes are even higher than your college entrance exams!
The survey takes less than a minute to complete. For each game idea, I’m asking for three different ratings to get a sense of each concept’s viability.
Honestly, I’m excited and a little nervous. These three ideas have been in my head for a long time. I’ve only shared them with close friends. Now I’m finally sharing them with you. Can’t wait to read what you think!
When your quest is complete, it’s time to debrief. Join your fellow adventurers at the virtual D&D table we call the comments section. Someday our conversation might earn $38.5 million on its opening weekend and an additional $33 million internationally!
Discuss one (or all) of today’s topics in the comments:
🕹️ Want to discuss the game ideas above? Go for it. Tell everyone what you think!
🐳 What’s your “white whale” creative project you’d like to make some day?
🗣️ Have you ever pitched or presented an idea or project before? How’d it go? I once pitched an animated short to Nickelodeon with an artist friend of mine. It was a Looney Tunes style cartoon with a lot of slapstick, so we dressed up like 1930s gag men and acted out the whole short with accompanying storyboards. Half the room loved it, half the room hated it. It was a far cry from the cool/shy presentation these execs were used to!
✍️ Bonus Challenge (+50 Points): Describe your job as if it were a retro video game. Here’s mine: “Deadline Blaster is a first-person writer where you bombard your clients with words, then hunt them down for late payments.”
🌟 Challenge Winner: Congratulations to Trin for earning +50 points two weeks ago by predicting the future with a psychic vision!
“My psychic abilities tell me that I will be unable to come up with a single witty answer for this question, until I wake up at 2am, with an absolutely genius answer, which will be forgotten by the time I get out of bed, and the loss of that answer will bug me for days.” –Trin
I’d argue Trin’s meta answer was pretty genius in-and-of-itself.
WELCOME TO THE SPRING THING!
I spent the last two weeks fixing and polishing the beta game I sent out last month, Your Post-Apocalyptic To-Do List (YPATDL), in time for this year’s Spring Thing! Spring Thing is an annual festival of interactive fiction featuring 26 new games that range from choice-based experiences to old school text adventures. The festival has been running for over 20 years and I’m excited to enter for the first time.
Thanks again for your great feedback on the pre-release beta! Now YPATDL’s difficulty is way better balanced, the multiple endings are far more accessible, and I even added graphics and sound effects! (*Oink!*) I hope you enjoy the new version.
I’ll be playing this year’s Spring Thing entries and putting together a list of games I think you’ll dig, but if you want to venture out ahead of me, here’s the complete list of 2023 games to check out. There are plenty of short games and funny games in the mix.
The fixing the printer scenario gets all my love forever. It's like the conversation I hope to one day have with my dad where he explains all the crazy stuff I've heard him mention casually. Like how he was somehow involved in starting the South Korean Lottery...?
My white whale project is to submit something to Badass Herstory. It's an craftivism embroidery project documenting women's personal stories.
I'm not sure how much it was a successful idea pitch as it was unrelenting begging and constant sad face, but I did convince my husband that if he let me trap, neuter, and bring in the feral cat who visited our porch that that cat would be the absolute Last Cat I ever asked for, because 3 was plenty. Now he lives indoors with us, as well as cat #4.
I would go for the horror-slasher comedy but I can see either developing nicely. I used Twine (Harlowe) and a bit of inklewriter in the past. What do you use?