Wraithkal: The Indie Gaming Corner
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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.

But before we get to the fun stuff (ie. the games themselves), seeing how this is after all a competition, I feel a quick rundown of the most important rules would be proper. First and foremost, if you’re participating in this year’s IF Comp, you’re not allowed to judge as well; same goes for any game you’ve helped beta-test. On top of that, while playing an entry for more than two hours is acceptable, your rating should be based on that time, even if you play past that time limit. An odd rule if you ask me, although I’m sure it’s there for a reason. The requirement for judges to play – and rate – at least five games in order to have their ratings counted, on the other hand, makes perfect sense.

Alright, time to play the games! I’ve taken to listing the lot below, complete with links pointing to each on the IF Comp 2015 ballot, just in case. So… have fun with these freshly created IF pieces, and as always, remember to vote (before November 15, 2015).

5 Minutes to Burn Something!
by Alex Butterfield
You’re great at burning bridges and midnight oil, but figurative fire can’t save you now.

A Figure Met in a Shaded Wood
by Michael Thomet
In the country of Tuscary, near the town of Clarence, there is a path that runs through the woods and into the nearby mountains. There is a rumor that if you are walking the path at twilight on the night of a waning moon, a figure might appear at a camp by the side of the road. Those brave enough to approach the figure are never heard from again, and those who ignore the figure never have the encounter again.

Arcane Intern (Unpaid)
by Astrid Dalmady
Getting coffee, making copies, tampering with powers beyond your control. You know, normal intern things. Now if only you were getting paid for it…

by Brendan Patrick Hennessy
Fourteen-year-old Bridget’s summer camp experience takes a turn for the bizarre when her otherworldly bird dreams start bleeding into reality.

Brain Guzzlers from Beyond!
by Steph Cherrywell
You are Bonnie Noodleman, Ordinary Well-Adjusted Teen-Ager, on an ordinary well-adjusted drive up Make-Out Mountain–until some gooey monstrosity from beyond the stars guzzles your boyfriend’s brains clean out of his head! Jeepers, what a pickle! Can you convince the townsfolk you’re not koo-koo, or is your thinker next on the alien menu?

by Bruno Dias
Cape is a superhero origin story for the cyberpunk dystopia we’re all living in.

Capsule II – The 11th Sandman
by PaperBlurt
There’s this “pause” on the Makida every time the current Sandman goes back into the cryotube and before the new one awakes. A certain “calm” where all is still. The Makida’s dull hum is heard, but that is all. No footsteps. No whispers. No music. The ship floats onwards, with a whole world within its walls. If something were to go wrong during those few minutes, a whole species would go extinct.
But there, in the darkness, among the twelve cryotubes…one tube blinks.

Cat Scratch
by Allyn (Yilling) Chen, Hannah Turner, Laura Weber, Shirley Park
The mission of Cat Scratch is to translate a chapter book from print to digital tablet. Cat Scratch will explore the ways using a tablet could benefit storytelling, without breaking the immersive experience of reading. Collaborating with the Carnegie Mellon Department of English, the team will design and test our hypotheses about the exploring how features like structure, style, illustration and sound in a digital format can be used to support a story most effectively.

by Cat Manning
They say it’s death to seek the witch. For you, it’s worth the risk. Venture in to the forest in search of relief, but remember that magic is rarely straightforward.
A short psychological game about self-knowledge and its price. Content warning: blood, self-harm, suicidal ideation, violence, death.

Darkiss – Chapter 1: the Awakening
by Marco Vallarino
You’re the nightmare from which people can’t wake. Dead twice. One by the hand of your maker, the second by the fiend who drove a stake through your heart while you were sleeping defenceless in your coffin. Alive thrice, it seems, although this last one shouldn’t be possible. Something happened.

by piato
But you were the one challenged. Custom dictates that you make the first move.

Emily is Away [withdrawn]
by Kyle Seeley
Remember a time before Facebook and Skype? When Windows XP was the next big thing and AIM was king. Relive that era with Emily is Away, an interactive story. Create a screenname and browse buddy infos in this chat-bot meets adventure game. Explore your relationship with Emily, a fellow high school student, in a branching narrative where you choose the outcome. And most importantly, change your text color to lime green so people know you’re the coolest kid in school.

by Mathbrush
“For the first time in centuries, something is different. Your tentacles tingle as you float to the east past icebergs and whirlwinds. You skirt a pocket of hot air, bounce through a field of ice, and finally come upon a massive stormcloud filling the sky to the east.”

Final Exam
by Jack Whitham
In the dream, you are already one of the Administrators. Responsible for the security of all of the countries once known as the West, your decisions affect the lives of two billion people. It’s a tough job, and you worked hard for many years in order to get it.
Then you wake, and remember you’re not even qualified to work here yet. Today is the day you qualify. Today is the day of your Final Exam.

Forever Meow
by Moe Zilla
You’re a warm cat who’s about to have a very bad day…

by Arno von Borries
An interchange between the subway and the long-distance lines. A place of vague fantasies and manifest realities, of intangible dreams and articulate nightmares. A simple story in contrast to some of the genre conventions of the classic post-modern fairy tales of our childhood and youth.

Grandma Bethlinda’s Variety Box
by Arthur DiBianca
It’s the latest model, and it would really like to play with you.

Grimm’s Godfather
by WaffleShuai
This is a retelling based on the Grimm Brothers ‘Godfather Death’. What happen if you didn’t choose the Grim Reaper as your godfather? How would your decision affect the story? As a Physician, who shall live and who shall die?

by Cha Holland
A new generation in construction and creativity is finally here! No matter who you are GROWBOTICS will help you channel your inner artist.

I Think The Waves Are Watching Me
by Bob McCabe
In a mysterious, dream-like world, enormous tidal waves have surrounded an island — trapping you along with many others. And then the killing starts. What are you going to do? Better decide quickly. You have two hours left and the clock is ticking.

In The Friend Zone
by Brendan Vance
A horror-parody in the tradition of Franz Kafka. Many regard ‘the friend zone’ as a metaphorical penal colony in which well-intentioned Nice Guys™ frequently find themselves trapped. But what if it were a physical penal colony?
And what if you became stuck in there with the Nice Guys™?

Kane County
by Michael Sterling, Tia Orisney
Kane County, Southern Utah: A severe storm crashes your Jeep in the middle of the night and leaves you stranded. Come morning, you find yourself alone and surrounded by an endless expanse of open desert. With no sign of civilization or rescue in sight, it’s up to your survival knowledge and physical endurance to escape from this unforgiving and deadly environment alive.

Koustrea’s Contentment
by Jeremy Pflasterer
A tiny community of immortals receives a newcomer named Koustrea, who makes an unsettling discovery while struggling to find a paradisial niche, as the others have long ago.

Laid Off from the Synesthesia Factory
by Katherine Morayati
Synpiece: A wearable technology that changes the wearer’s mood. Users of the Synpiece can adjust the ‘color’ of their experience, which adjusts psychological traits mapped to hue (emotion), saturation (intensity) and value (complexity). The Synpiece can be used by brands to increase users’ engagement.
In your email client, this is saved as a draft. There’s some more text at the bottom. You don’t remember typing it: “become hypersaturated.”

Life On Mars?
by Hugo Labrande
The first mission to colonize Mars ended with a horrible shuttle crash, and it’s a miracle you’re still alive… Now you just have to wait until the second shuttle gets here. Five more months…

by Ade
The house is growing. Or perhaps it’s you who is shrinking. And with all this extra space is coming….time.
Time enough, maybe, to make some changes.
[Note – this story contains mature themes and scenes that some might find difficult or distressing.]

Midnight. Swordfight.
by Chandler Groover
A fool receives a challenge from a countess.
Violence. Sex. Profanity. Sausage.

Much Love, BJP
by Megan Stevens
A brief look at the life of a fictional war correspondent.

Nowhere Near Single
by kaleidofish
A young woman in the entertainment industry struggles with harmonizing her public pop star persona and her private polyamorous life. Warning for mildly graphic content.

by Robert DeFord
Go to Onaar and become an Alchemist. Learn to make potions that allow you to survive and thrive in a dynamic, open-ended game world. Will you elevate your skills and vanquish the rogue wizard who threatens that world, or will you die trying?ncludes interpreters for Windows and Mac.

Paradise [withdrawn]
by Devine Lu Linvega
A multiplayer library, endless and sleepless.

by Víctor Ojuel
Leave Rome in the dead of night. Pursue an hermetic quest throughout Medieval Europe. Find arcane knowledge or utter despair. Blessings of Babylon.

Pit of the Condemned
by Matthew Holland
Hundreds of years ago those who built the city disappeared. Years ago we found the city and stole all we could. Soon after we woke the beast. Now we don’t go there, except to send criminals for exile and execution.
Yours is scheduled for noon.

Questor’s Quest
by Mark Stahl
You’re a young man, on an adventure far from home, in search of a legendary treasure locked up inside an ivory tower. Forgot to pack? Incredibly deep pockets, but nothing in them? No problem. I’m sure everything you could possibly need is within walking distance. It’s not like you’re in the sticks or anything…

by Nick Junius
Sometimes we lose the things most precious to us and must look for them in unlikely, or sometimes likely places. You have lost your voice and find yourself in a place you do not recognize with its own loss and lies.

Scarlet Sails
by Felicity Banks
Hoist the Jolly Roger and set sail to find the legendary Titan’s Treasure! Do you fight with a cutlass, or with your magical skill? Are you biding your time until you can shoot your captain in the back, or are you the reason the rum is gone? Are you brimming with heroics and derring-do, or smart enough to skip the pain and get the power instead? Will you become the most infamous pirate that ever lived, or fall in love with the cabin boy?
Or will you be the pirate who does it all… and lives to tell the tale?

Second Story
by Fred Snyder
You retired from The Game six years ago. Your brother had other ideas. Now he’s in big trouble with a crew that won’t hesitate to kill him, and the only way to save his skin is to dust off the old tools…

Seeking Ataraxia
by Glass Rat Media
A simulation of what it’s like to live with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, balancing life, relationships and neurosis on your quest toward peace.

by furkle

Sub Rosa
by Joey Jones & Melvin Rangasamy
A puzzle game about secrets in the Age of Lead. You’ve spent seventeen years preparing for an infiltration. Stealing the Confessor’s secrets is only the beginning: it will all be for nothing if you leave a trace.

by Phantom Williams
A dream-like journey through a drifting life.

by The Marino Family
When Derik went to sleep, he was a boy who could not walk, but today he awoke to find more than one thing had changed. Will he be able to find his way in the world as a girl? Will he be able to go back to who he was? Who does he want to be after all?
Due to its subject matter, this installment, which is meant to stand on its own, is aimed at a slightly older demographic than the others (10+ yrs old).

by Chandler Groover
“Perhaps the most horrible of all recorded magical spells.”
Cruelty. Violence. Sounds.

The Baker of Shireton
by Hanon Ondricek
You are the Baker of Shireton. The bread you bake is delicious. Raiders are coming.

The Insect Massacre
by Tom Delanoy
A short murder mystery set aboard a space station.

The King and the Crown
by Wes Lesley
‘The King and the Crown’ is a very very very short game where you are the king. The goal of the game is to receive your subjects and end up doing all sorts of boring king stuff like passing judgement, drinking wine and invading France.
But first, you’ll need your crown and your scepter! Your crown is in the sturdy locked cabinet behind the throne. Your scepter… well, you must have left it somewhere in the throne room. Probably.

The Man Who Killed Time
by Claudia Doppioslash
In the shabby, dusty office, just overlooking one of the least busy streets in town, sat the Detective owner of the establishment. You wouldn’t think it by looking at his head, as usual lowered as to almost touch his desk while perusing some paper or other, that this man, yes, actually this man, had killed Time.
Or will kill Time.
Or is killing Time, this very moment (the ordering is always the trickiest bit).

The Problems Compound
by Andrew Schultz
Wherein you, Alec Smart, turn what’s-thats into that’s-whats.

The Speaker
by Norbez
Daniel Riviera lives on an Earth very different from our own, populated by both aliens and humans. A. A. Arthur is one of those aliens, a popular blogger and adviser for all of the planet’s residents. Every day, he answers questions that stream in from the thousands who follow him— and, occasionally, from the hundreds who hate him. However, he has been injured, and has hired Riviera to assist in answering the user’s questions
Walking in Riviera’s shoes, the player’s job is simple: Arthur tells you what advice to answer with, and you write it as he says.
Or do you?

The Sueño
by Marshal Tenner Winter
Low on income, you’ve signed up for a sleep study to test a new medication; one that supposedly causes lucid dreams. What you’ll learn, however, is that much more will be revealed on The Sueño.

The War of the Willows
by Adam Bredenberg
Did you see the clean air of the hilltops? Wind waves tumbled down through the trees, tore the drift of lavender smoke… Did you see then, in the cinder that glowed in the pewter cup, did you see how Death would wrap its roots around our throats?

To Burn in Memory
by Orihaus
To Burn in Memory, an ahistorical and atemporal Interactive Fiction work for IFComp 2015, coming October 1st. Explore a city that never existed, and uncover its secret history through the memories of a women that lived its darkest moments.

TOMBs of Reschette
by Richard Goodness
Hello, young adventurer! If you’re looking for the finest treasure, monster, and exploration experience around, why not come on down to the TOMBs of Reschette!
–Earn XP, Dubloons, and Gems, like any good adventurer!
–Solve the mysteries in the Crypt of Mysteries!
–Learn the tragic story of Vanity’s Dowager!
–Slay various monsters…and eat them!
–Kick back in the library with a good book!
Be careful, young adventurer! The TOMBs are a dangerous place and you have no idea what kind of horrible deaths could lie in store for you!

by A. DeNiro
You ran from the Z-Mules but they caught you. Took what little you had. Now you’re their prisoner. At some point you have to log off. But maybe not quite yet. You’ll see.

Untold Riches
by Jason Ermer
You were reluctant to undertake another adventure with Professor d’Squarius (especially after the last near-catastrophe, in the Tomb of the Screaming Mummies), and from the moment you agreed to join the expedition, things have gone exactly the way they always do: horribly. Now YOU are the one stranded on a remote tropical island with no clear way of getting back to civilization. And the amazing treasure you were originally seeking? The professor never explained precisely what it was.