Friday, 29 June 2018
Games people are playing
I haven't played it, so don't take this as an endorsement, but indie developer Panic Barn have announced a "post-Brexit Papers Please" called Not Tonight. Apparently they're expecting "a flurry of negative reviews". Well, all publicity is good publicity, so that's a better thing to hope for than the crashing silence Jamie and I got in response to Can You Brexit?
Probably the mistake we made is that we made our political gamebook (there's a very nice custom "character sheet" for it here, incidentally) fairly balanced. The media really aren't interested in something unless it gets them spitting with outrage. You can judge for yourself in this episode of the Brave New Words podcast from Starburst magazine. The presenters start the show with a trigger warning, if that's any guide.
Speaking of trigger warnings, the trailer above opens with footage of Nigel Farage. In my house that can provoke a reaction that scares cats and breaks crockery. But hey, your tolerance levels may be different.
Other interactive things I haven't played include Charlie Higson's stab at a Fighting Fantasy book, The Gates of Death. It's for younger kids than the original '80s FF fandom - or maybe kids are just kiddier these days. Anyway, apparently that means fewer gory/scary encounters and more pop culture references and bottom jokes. Try it on your kids and see what they think. You may first need to convince them it's not a Miss Marple mystery, though, judging by the cover design.
I'm told by Mark Lain, aka Malthus Dire, that his gamebook Destiny's Role is the first of a planned series. There is very little about it on the web, but from the Amazon product page I've gleaned that this book comprises four different adventures in different genres, including a noir-style private dick scenario. (That's dick as in detective, of course, not what it would mean in a Higson book.) Marco Arnaudo's video review below should give you an idea of what the adventures are like.
French company Celestory, who seem to be a European answer to Choice of Games, have announced a forthcoming academic book called Interactive Story which will be published in both Europe and the US around Christmas 2018..
And while we're doing a round-up of games and gamebooks, let me put in another plug for Martin Noutch's excellent Steam Highwayman, in part inspired by Keith Roberts' SF classic Pavane. The Highwayman is building up pressure for another outing, so if you're a Fabled Lands player and you're into steampunk, this is for you.