The many loves of Stiffy Makane

Adam Thornton has published, a simple website tracking the checkered past of one of modern IF’s most resolutely recurring characters.

Mr. Makane originated from the turgid imagination of an adolescent Mark Ryan in 1997. It was not a very good game — for starters, it famously lets the title character drop his own genitals on the floor and walk away — but it somehow struck a chord with the burgeoning IF community. Stiffy has since then appeared in several text-adventure sex comedies from multiple authors, culminating this year in both Thornton’s own Classical-era epic Mentula Macanus: Apocolocyntosis (praised by Emily Short as a rival to Graham Nelson’s genre-defining Curses), and Sam Kabo Ashwell’s The Cavity of Time, a choose-your-own-adventure work authored in Undum.

The original games aren’t necessarily worth your time to play through (the added blunt humor of the “MSTified” take on Ryan’s original work does little to improve the whole), but I still appreciate Adam’s little shrine to this truly unlikely serial protagonist.

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5 Responses to The many loves of Stiffy Makane

  1. I suppose I should point out that although there have been several pseudonyms associated with Stiffy Makane, there's just been Mark Ryan, Sam Kabo Ashwell, whoever-Dastardly-Coward-was-which-I-have-forgotten-and-he-wanted-to-be-anonymous-anyway, and me who wrote the damn things. I am both Drunken Bastard and One of the Bruces.


    • In fact, I was afraid that you were Dastardly Coward as well, so this is actually a relief to learn!

      Beyond the fact that four (or three plus one) writers is still enough of a plurality to make this story interesting to me, ol' Stiffy has somehow always had this sense of being a sort of nasty little mascot accepted by the whole modern-IF community. (Didn't Varicella quote the first game at least once?)

      This is really driven home this year; even if "only" two different authors released two new Makane games, one of them is a send-up of recent IF works and personalities that said personalities have embraced, and the other has such a heavy-hitting betatester list, stretching (if I understand correctly) over so many years, that it feels like a historical conspiracy recently uncovered.

      • Sam Kabo Ashwell says:

        And if there's three of them -- friends, they might think it's a movement.

        (Also, I don't know that embraced is precisely le mot juste.)

  2. Taleslinger says:

    Does Mark Ryan know of the life his hero has taken on?

  3. Adam Thornton says:

    Mark Ryan was a bit dismayed in 2001 (although also amused) when Undiscovered Country was released. I haven't heard from him since. Weirdly, he did a Classics degree at Rutgers, so I think he's probably equipped to play the new one...

    Yes, it did take me, ehrm, quite a while to write the game.


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