Hypertext explorations

Once again, two small hypertext games.

The first is vale of singing metals by foresthexes (Twine; IFDB; play here)

Written for Porpentine’s Twiny Jam, vale of singing metals presents a dream-like maze in a strange landscape. Landmarks like boiling streams and oil lakes give the impression of a volcanic landscape, life creeping in fields of  grass and flowers. And, yes, it is that now-rare thing in IF, a maze. Yet, it feels less of a hassle than an exploration through an empty space.

vale of singing metals is a lovely little piece, scenic in the way that Kitty Horrorshow’s work is, and an interesting take on how mazes can be implemented in very little space.


The second is Traveler by Caelyn Sandel (Twine; IFDB; play here).

This is part of The Yearbook Office, a collection of writings published by Alice Lee.

You wake in your spaceship, sluggish. What are you here for? You can’t remember. Your ship’s not in the best shape; you’ve got to explore the stars. You may not have enough power in your engines to blast off once you land…

Traveler is a small, procedurally generated exploration game, with randomly generated descriptions of the stars. The individual planets are sometimes quite shallowly implemented, but Sandel uses each star as a pacing device. As you travel through the stars, your ship’s stats decline, giving a tension to Traveler. Sandel’s writing is strongest, I think, as she describes what you, in your travels, have missed; thoughts of home occur at the strangest times.

Overall, Traveler feels like a much more sensible version of Porpentine’s Ruiness – both are about travellers who never make meaningful connections in any one place, for whom travel is work, whose constant moving around alienates them from everyone around them. A melancholic work which nonetheless ends on a hopeful note.

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