Spring Thing 2019!

The Missing Ring won a Best in Show ribbon in the 2019 Spring Thing festival! I’m totally thrilled, and I wish I could personally thank everyone who played and enjoyed the game.

This year’s Spring Thing was a real showcase of the diversity of interactive fiction; there were so many impressive games with different platforms, genres, and styles. I want to highlight some of my personal favorites:

The Devil and the Mayor: Clever, replayable, well-designed: simultaneously story-like and game-like in a rewarding way. Just what you’d want a Twine game to be!

Quiet: A Twine game that contains only a single conversation, with a unique interaction style.

Communication is hard, harder for some people than others. This game puts you in the position of someone who just can’t bring themselves to speak out loud, and forces you to consider the impact that has on them and on the people who love them. It’s an effective punch in the gut.

San Francisco, 2118: A brilliant example of Twine aesthetics and execution in interface, sound, and graphics (animated graphics, even!).

The Ballroom: Innovative, beautifully written, and impeccably executed. Clever and original, feels like a full-fledged game in its own right and also like a prototype for a new kind of interactive fiction.

a short walk in the spring: A (partially) procedurally generated Twine game. It absolutely works as a game, but it’s interesting on other levels, too; the design notes in the Afterward and the source code itself are also delightful to read.

My favorite experience is to “wander” as far as I can from the main path, making the text weirder and weirder as I stray. Look at that screenshot: “An unchaste network”! How wonderful! What human could come up with something as great as that? (Admittedly, it frequently produces heaps of delightful nonsense, too, but that’s part of the fun of it.)

Because of the procedural generation, this might be the most replayable work of interactive fiction I’ve ever seen. I’ve returned to it a lot, just to go for a pleasant wander and see what it comes up with.

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