Okay, so: the great majority of IF games involve interaction at the same scale: you control a single person, taking direct physical actions that take between a few seconds and a few minutes to resolve. This heavily influences (or limits) the kind of stories that can be told in IF, and there's no inherent reason for it (just, y'know, the slight circumstances of tradition, established practice and existing tools). So I'd very much like to see more games where normal actions take place at different scales -- scales of action, of time, of character, whatever. To a great extent this is just a hobby-horse of mine, and may be of little interest to anybody else.
This idea definitely has legs. I'd be very interested in seeing the results of successful experiments with nonstandard scopes. Possible ideas this suggests to me:
- Player is a government. Plays out globe/decade spanning policies.
- Player decides what their character will do with whole days, rather than minutes. Story lasts a year.
- Player controls a whole household, can set default actions for characters not currently being micromanaged.
There are two approaches here, which will change the nature of the event pretty heavily: pick something that IF is traditionally strong at (setting, Lovecraftian horror) and solicit high expressions of craft; or pick something where IF has a weaker record, and encourage innovation (NPCs, romance, scale).
It's a tough call, I can see merits in both approaches. If possible, could we do both
? A Grand Showcase in Two Parts: high quality submissions on the theme of x
, and submissions focusing on innovation in theme y
. Or would that threaten to weaken the concept and dilute the submissions?
Here are some more ideas for themes.
Famous rivalries (Edison/Tesla, cobra/mongoose, sperm whale/giant squid)
Birds (player character is a bird, or something else in the game is a bird)
A trial? A famous trial, from history; one that is interesting
Steampunk, or some other "-punk" kind of thing
Games with twist endings
The months of the year
I like the dizzying breadth. I've whittled the list down to what I take to be the most promising themes. Ideally, you want something that it's engaging, suggests to authors game ideas and doesn't lead to the attempted implementation of the same idea by seven different people.
matt w wrote:
I like trojo's "vehicles" idea, and I did even before I realized my WIP has a bus in it. It seems like it strikes the right note of not-overly-specificness.
EDIT: Sorry Joey, I didn't see your comment. Do we need to give the reviewers a basis for comparison, though?
It's not an absolute necessity, but I think that it would certainly be a strength of the showcase if the games shared grounds for comparison. While it may hit the right note for specificity, comparing how well and in what way authors implemented vehicles might not be the most interesting or relevant grounds for understanding games in relation to one another. I guess it depends really what the showcase aims
What should the showcase aim to achieve?
Games with 'high expressions of craft'? Games that deepen the IF canon.
Innovative games? Games that broaden the IF canon.
More games of any kind? (Encouraged by having a broad and accessible theme)