Just What The Humping Heck Is “Character Agency,” Anyway?

(By Chuck Wendig)

Thoughts on game design and character agency! 

Just What The Humping Heck Is “Character Agency,” Anyway?

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Resources for writing IF: game reviews

Reading reviews can help you pre-empt problems in your own writing, plus sometimes it’s just fun.

Emily Short’s blog has reviews and occasionally very good essays on writing and publishing IF.

Jenni Polodna has rather entertaining reviews of games, mostly around competition seasons.

Sam Kabo Ashwell also has game reviews and longish essays about games.

Another game review blog, The Rest of Your Mice

Here’s Carolyn VanEseltine’s blog, Sibyl Moon Games.

And Juhana Leinonen’s blog.

@intficblogs, a little Twitter bot which tracks IF blogs. This is about as meta as it gets.

Hello Wordd

by B Minus Seven. Playable here

You are a component of the revolutionary new spellchecking programme, SpelRite. All you need to do is to suggest a correct spelling for the wrongly spelled word in the given sentence.

KIND OF SPOILERS BELOW

The direction where the game goes reminds me of Inward Narrow Crooked Lanes (yay, I remembered the title correctly!) – it has the same surreal, nonsense-language feel. Sadly, as with INCL, I also didn’t quite catch the finer points and didn’t get where it was going.

Happily, though, Hello Wordd goes a little further than INCL in creating a little verisimilitude, and the endings make sense in-universe. 

Sheets

By Chelsea Sieg. Playable here on itch.io.

This, the blurb states, is a story about growing up. Well, it isn’t wrong, not entirely, but one thing the blurb doesn’t state is that this isn’t a game. (Or IS it? The debate continues at 5…) 

So if you do have a look at it, know that there are no choices. Don’t expect to have any illusion of choice, because you can’t do anything. It’s (just) clicking through plain poetry.

Warning: mentions suicide and sex. 

Saw your “Death is but the beginning” list. Emily Short’s Counterfeit Monkey is challenging and long, but death situations are usually played off as hypothetical situations. IF tutorial style games (like Andrew Plotkin’s Dreamhold) tend to make death merciful. If there were a way to sort the games of IFDB by difficulty, that may help in finding a list of merciful death games. Good luck.

Thank you for the suggestions! Yes I love Counterfeit Monkey – very very clever puzzles! – but I was actually looking for puzzles which use death as a means of progressing the story. Like in Endless Nameless, where you have to die to let the story progress.