Which is to Say: Hungry

Wed Nov 30. 2022

Which is to Say: Hungry

You may have noticed that I have not added any entries to Jmac on Games since August. It turned out that I have been obsessed with interactive fiction for so long that I am unable to play other types of games or write about them.

A snapshot from my world. I have not powered on my Xbox or launched Steam in several weeks. Tim Schaefer is one my favorite videogame creators. However, I am unable to identify Costume Quest or the platforms it runs on. I don't know the exact shape or color of the box Dominion: Prosperity uses. Foggy Brume's ever-ingenious Puzzles & Answers has a new issue. I don't want to fill in wordplay grids, however.

Minecraft's sudden popularity is a credit to it. However, I was able to take a quick tour of a friend's stone-and glass fortress, which I enjoyed while visiting his real home. I was impressed and wanted to go home to my computer again.

I have Suspended (Michael Berlyn 1983) open in one of my windows, and I am contemplating recreating the board game play aid that came with the physical box. I have an experimental collaborative piece called Alabaster (Emily Short and al, 2009) open in one window. I also have a shifting selection of entries for the Interactive Fiction competition this year. Unfortunately, I can't vote in the latter because I entered a work. Under these game windows are works in Progress in Inform and Final Cut. These in turn point to a cloud of Wikipedia tabs and a small stack of increasingly dogged books on my desk. There are many blogs, Twitter search-streams, and MUD windows behind all this. I immerse myself in the conversations and creations of this medium, which is both invisible and vibrant.

I was able to squeeze into the crowded IF events at PAX East earlier this year. I made a video about modern IF and wrote about the energizing changes in the medium since PAX. The event that changed me from an evangelist to a hungry platform-student was when I created a work for the 2010 competition and the feedback I received. I was a professional software developer so it was no surprise that I finished it in time for October's deadline. This meant that September was filled with intense work both on my own and with my beloved betatesters. However, I didn't expect to be able to leave the experience with a significant change in my relationship with IF. That is to say, I am hungry.