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In Celebration of Interactive Fiction, the 2016 XYZZY Awards Go to…

It's amazing how the XYZZY awards continue to, well, amaze... every single time. Been following this particular celebration of all things interactive fiction since 2014, and even when the entries were a slightly mixed bag, there were still a wealth of really interesting tales among them, just waiting to be read/experienced. One thing in particular that stood out this year was Abigail Corfman's Open Sorcery, mostly for its unique blend. But do continue reading as that is merely one recommendation among many potentially thrilling finalists (and winners, of course).
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Fight the Good Fight or Add Fuel to the Fire? Time to Choose a Side In… The Frankenstein Wars!

Back in 2015, The Frankenstein Wars were little more than a glimmer in the eye of interactive fiction fans (such as myself), barely slaying the mighty Kickstarter beast. But fortunately it did emerge triumphant, which brings us to the present where the game awaits with an uncanny war to be waged. A war which takes us all the way back to 1827's France, during which the Zeroiste movement - well, they pretty much brought back the dead, Frankenstein style. And here's the thing: you don't have to play the hero in this interactive tale! Your adventure, your choice(s), your... potentially disastrous outcome.
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IFComp 2016: More Than Fifty Interactive Writings to Play and Judge

Less than twenty-four hours ago, the organizer(s) of this year's IFComp gathered a grand total of fifty-eight entries, organizing the lot for judging. And playing. We mustn't forget about that, as it, you know, comes before judging. Judging sight unseen would be a tad silly, after all, not to mention... unfair. So do go over the rules before ya hit the list, however tempting it may be to just dive right in and start rating. Fair is fair, work before pleasure and all that.
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70s Style Interactive Fiction Hits the Road in Wheels of Aurelia

Ah, 1970s Italy. Definitely a time I wouldn't mind seeing more of in video games, provided they can put as interesting a narrative spin on it as Santa Ragione has done with Wheels of Aurelia. It was a crazy time period where one wrong word could put you behind bars, or you could - pretty much just as easily - get into political nonsense. Whatever floats your boat. This was the time for it. Chances are this piece of IF has all that and more too, what with sixteen different endings and all. Very groovy.
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Point ‘n Click Magic In the Making: AdventureX Returns For a Sixth

Six years in a row. That's one helluva track record for a convention focused entirely around narrative games, instead of, you know, every single kind. Adventure games, interactive fiction and such - these are the type of games one can expect to hear about at AdventureX, maybe even meet and greet a developer or two in the process. Maybe. Oh and talks, panels, demos, plus other fun stuff. Groovy times for sure.
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Pen a Choice-Driven Tale as The 2016 IFComp Is Accepting Entries

Earlier today, twenty-one became twenty-two, as this particular competition has been a thing for as many years (a very long time, by all accounts). Same goes for the interactive genre as a whole though, IF showing up in more places, by more authors, and in more ways, than ever before. A good time to be a fan of this stuff, and personally, I am loving every minute. But enough of that - it's time for The 2016 IFComp!
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Using inkle’s ink Language to Make IF Just Got Simpler With the Inky Editor

Twine, Inform 7, TADS, Quest, ADRIFT - not like there's a lack of IF authoring tools, and yet, something about ink makes it stand out. Maybe it's the syntax? Or perhaps the fact that it's powered amazing interactive experiences like 80 Days? Whatever the reason, however impressive as a language, its one downside was the lack of an editor. Fortunately, with the release of inky, that problem has pretty much been dealt with.
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80 Days and Sorcery! Scripting Language Open Sourced… With Unity Support!

Game developers making their creations open source, no matter the license attached, is generally pretty awesome, no doubt. But engines / scripting languages? Man, that's another matter entirely, on top of being a much rarer occurrence. That's exactly what inkle's done with what made the wheels of 80 Days and Sorcery! turn though, and I honestly could not be more excited.
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Intriguing Interactive Fiction Financing Project Platform, thy Name Is Fundbetter

Narrative video games, whether they be text-based or exploratory titles with a strong story throughout, have grown noticeably in popularity over the past couple of years. As such, it's no surprise that the creator of Sunless Sea has taken to helping aspiring writers / creators finance their project with... Fundbetter. Who better than someone with a popular genre entry already out there, after all? Do not underestimate the importance of experience.
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Legacy of Dorn: Herald of Oblivion Gamebooks Warhammer 40,000 With Guts and Glory

Space Marines. For a bunch of bulky, heavily armored fellas, packing the most advanced weaponry available in the distant future, they sure do find themselves against the odds rather frequently. Legacy of Dorn: Herald of Oblivion is no exception, although it does feature a scenario among the most grim yet: your entire squad has been annihilated and you're trapped aboard a space hulk infested with all kinds of nasties. Fight through the pain and escape, or... die trying.
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IF Comp 2015's Fifty-Five Entries Ready to be Played and Voted Upon – Have Fun!

Remember how, back in July, I spread word of how this year's IF Comp was accepting entries? Well, hopefully those with intent to submit have done so already, because now... it's too late! Entries have been checked and rounded up, ready to be played - all record-setting fifty-five of them! Oh and there's also voting to do, so keep that in mind as you go about diving into this sea of tall (and short) tales.
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80 Days Review: Around the World, Steampunk Style!

My name is Passepartout, the year is 1872, and while the following statement may seem a tad ridiculous, I have in fact just accompanied my master, Phileas Fogg, on his attempt to circumnavigate the globe within 80 days. The journey was full of daunting choices and experiences, each leading to an event of sorts to be dealt with. Some perilous, other profitable, while some... are best described as 'genuinely exciting'. What an adventure!
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Discover the Fate of a Missing Emissary as Asuria Awakens In Gamebook Adventures 12

When an emissary from Orlandes City suddenly goes missing, things go from worse to bad, and fast. The natives were already restless prior to this disturbing event, whispers in the shadows spinning tales of tremors and civil unrest. But now... now there's genuine trouble brewing in the coastal town of Casporur. Evil trouble. Bad trouble, foreshadowing the return of Asuria!
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Make Magical Music In Gamebook Adventures 11: Songs of the Mystics

Tin Man Games wastes no time in Gamebook Adventures 11: Songs of the Mystics, as the player is in trouble right from the get-go. Trouble of the downright lethal kind! (Cue dramatic music.) Not that this should surprise anyone, seeing how the protagonist is the daughter of the Earth Queen. The right choices might get you out of this mess in one piece, while the opposite... not so much.
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Fantasy Fighting: Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! Leaving Mobile Exclusivity… Soon(tm)

Man, now's definitely a great time for fans of interactive fiction / choose-your-own-adventure. Even more so if you're a desktop gamer rather than mobile, as inkle's take on Steve Jackson's four-part series, Sorcery!, is heading for Windows and OS X in just a few months. Wait, what? You have yet to experience this thrilling saga? Well, like I said... in a few months!
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The 2014 XYZZY Awards Finalists at a Glance – Get to Voting!

Interactive Fiction (IF) has been a thing for quite some time now. In fact, I'm sure some of you are more than a little familiar with the likes of Zork, Adventure, and other text-based classics. While the XYZZY Awards isn't quite as old, this particular celebration of all things IF has still been around for almost 20 years. So what say we help keep the momentum going by throwing votes at this year's finalists, eh?
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