All right; I’ve let Andy drive the blog around long enough. While my last post about my rediscovered obsession with text games remains entirely true, what I did not mention — largely due to competition rules — was my own IFComp entry, and how much time and energy that little excursion took up. But I have finally published its post-competition release, and thus can take the Gameshelf wheel back for a while.
In the near future I’ll post something more akin to a proper release announcement, followed by some number of post-mortem essays. (If there’s one thing that inspires lots of handwringey thoughts on IF game design and conventions, it’s writing one of the damned things. In 2010.) But before I get to those, I’d like to keep the spotlight on Zarf’s crazy project for just a little longer.
As I write this, the Hadean Lands Kickstarter drive has less than a day left on its clock. If you’re reading this post on Monday, Dec. 6 (Eastern time), then you still have a chance to pledge your support, if you haven’t already.
Our goal is to push the pot over $30,000 before the buzzer sounds. That’s only $1,100 away, as I hit this post’s “Publish” button. (Seen another way, that’s a just a few dozen more purchases of the Hadean Lands limited-edition CD, which, allow me to remind you one last time, is the only way you’ll be able to play the game outside of an iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch while it launches in the App Store.)
It’s true that Andy met his modest goal of $8,000 the very day the page went up, tripling that total well before today. But that doesn’t mean that this project couldn’t use every pledge-dollar offered to it! As described in the video on the project page, he isn’t just going to publish a single game, but also release for the world’s free use the various tools and frameworks he’ll need to create and improve along the way. In other words, your pledge doesn’t just help Zarf buy lunch; it’s an investment in the future of quality interactive fiction, by everyone who cares to write it — and, world willing, sell it.
But just as important as the game and the technical work is the trail he’s blazing as an independent game creator in general. When sites like Rock Paper Shotgun picked up the story, I was happy not just because here was IF shouting another ping onto the larger game radar, but also because the unexpected success at this one crazy guy’s completely independent bid for support has definitely gotten many non-mainstream game creators’ gears turning. I myself have witnessed someone on an indie game-developer mailing list name-check Zarf while announcing his own launch of a game studio, even though it has little to do with IF per se.
Tomorrow, Andy will start leading the IF community towards — we hope — a new flourishing of commercially viable interactive fiction. But besides and beyond that, we’re starting to see the effects of something wonderfully wider, and we have one more day to make it wider yet. Let’s make it happen, not just for text adventure games, but as a show of support for passion-fueled, creator-driven, future-changing videogames of all kinds. You know what to do.