covered in ketchup and mustard
grassy motherfucker with crab’s claws
claws and grovels into the dirt behind the abandoned
contemporary art building
the old El Nido Triangle,
unburies his – 100th bible – while
buskers and babes watch from the misty sidelines
moaning and sighing in sign,
moist waffles, moist in the puddles of mud–
Steven Howard Jr., now Sony
executive Dr. “Crab” Spencer,
freelance child psychologist,
who reduced his whole train staff into
biblical pages, paces around the office,
its sandy beaches vacant and holy,
et al. Read More
Chris Klimas talks a bit about Twine, his program for making hypertext games, and the early days of IF.
What drew you to interactive fiction back in the ‘90s? What was the scene like back then?
I was intrigued by playing IF while I was growing up in the 80s — mainly the Infocom games. I think what I liked most about it was the feeling that the world of an IF game was so vast. I was pretty awful at the puzzles, so my experience of playing was an overwhelming sense there was all this content just out of reach. In a way, the content of the games existed more in my imagination than actual code. But that, to me, isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Anyway, once I got access to the Internet a decade later, I somehow found my way to ftp.gmd.de — the predecessor ofifarchive.org — and from there I found Inform, and fell a little bit in love with it. I liked the idea of building the vast world people chipped away at puzzles to reach. Of course, I learned that there were a whole other set of challenges once you’re on the other side.
By the time I started tinkering with IF, the community had at least established itself, though it grew a lot while I participated in it. Even so, it was not tremendously big, but there was a sense of progress to it, and room for enormous experimentation. The day before the IF Comp felt like Christmas Eve.
There was also an air of mystery to it, same as with any online interaction back then. You didn’t really know exactly who it was behind the newsgroups posts or the ifMUD accounts. It was a smidge surreal, meeting many of these folks many years later at the IF suite at PAX East 2010, and discovering they really were living breathing human beings and not eldritch presences on the net.
A short game I made in RPG Maker 2003 (works in PC only, I’m SO sorry) about Pancake, my son. He wrote most of the dialogue while we watched Steve Wilkos and Maury. I mostly used only the RTP assets just for the fun!
It’s sort of a neo-noir story about – stuffed animals -.
And yeah, Mike, it’s over when you beat the cyclops!
I read a few of your posts earlier today. Nice work. I hadn’t really thought of comparing Dark Souls to my game, but maybe the similarities you mention are why it’s my favorite game of its generation. The varied but inter-connected world is definitely one of its strengths, and something I like to go for in my own games.
I love when games are meandering.
I was especially impressed with the hidden path behind another hidden path in Blighttown, which leads to a long segment and ends up at the lake. All that work for something some players might never see. I aspire to things like that as well.
I think the “secret” ending in Seiklus is a lot like that.
I was reading some of your game suggestions on your website and you mention Startropics…that’s a name that isn’t brought up often enough.
Have you played the second one?
I think I rented it, but didn’t finish it.
Title: The Three Stooges
Developer: Beam Software
I recently discovered the Johnny games, a series of old Game Maker games made by Kimberly Kubus (Sparlatacus), through a labyrinth of dead links starting at cly5m’s (of Seiklus fame) website. While I couldn’t find any of the games online or even any footage of them, I played through one of cly5m’s fangames, Johnny’s Odyssey, which revolves around a great “game mechanic” and has a wonderful, MSPaint aesthetic. While having nothing to do with Johnny, the games and their aesthetic and the hushed internet murmurs surrounding them reminded me of another game, a Cactus game, which pushes the MSPaint aesthetic into a new level of internet gaudiness and punk flamboyance: Keyboard Drumset Fucking Werewolf is essentially a series of progressively difficult minigames set to the tunes of band Fucking Werewolf ASSO.
It’s a really tough game that I’ve never been able to beat, but its spastics are legendary and have been on my mind all week.
So what does this have to do with The Three Stooges, some Activsion licensed game for the NES? The Three Stooges, an NES port of a Cinemaware Commodore Amiga game, is also essentially a series of progressively difficult minigames, only instead of surreal, glittery punk, it has a Columbia-era, 1930s Three Stooges aesthetic. And yet, the game is every bit as untamed and non-sequitured as Keyboard Drumset Fucking Werewolf. It’s surprising, really, because on paper, The Three Stooges seems more like an archaic ancestor to Mario Party or something, but it’s more Fucking Werewolf than anything, but because of its grounds in reality, it’s even more grotesque.
I had first learned of Seiklus a few years ago when I was over at the Hardcore Gaming 101 boards, inquiring about what everyone thought the lineage of Fez (2012) was. The topic quickly devolved into a message board boxing match (which is rare for those boards, so I must’ve really asked a bad question…), but before I made it out, someone told me to look up an old PC game from 2003 called Seiklus.
One of the main things that was brought up in that topic (aside from bloodshed) was the idea that there was an “original indie game.” While our excitable gaming media usually insists that Braid (2008) is the game that put indie games on the map, I usually cited Cave Story (2004) as the game that brought pixels and small development teams into vogue. The whole topic seems to cause an endless and bitter debate between hobbyist game historians, so I was glad to find a game that I think quells the issue.
Seiklus, which is Estonian for “adventure,” a tip I got from Wikipedia, was developed by a sole author, the somewhat elusive cly5m, in 2003, using Game Maker. From what I can gauge, this is the first time anything significant had been made in Game Maker, or any game making software targeted at novice computer programmers for that matter. In retrospect, in the history of video games, Seiklus is inevitably a big deal.