If you can read this list and not have played a single one, what are you even doing?
Toronto's nonprofit Hand Eye Society's annual WordPlay festival is one of my favorite curations of a given year's niftiest narrative and text games. In recent years this space has become one of the most interesting for small indie games full stop, so if you are an Offworlder who can look at this list without having played a single one, what are you even doing? 'Fultoning' okapis in Metal Gear Solid V, I bet. Tch.
Lots of Offworld's favorites made it into the curation—I bring up Merritt Kopas' Vin Diesel game a lot in my talks (most recently in my JSB Symposium lecture on the inherent value of games) as an example of games as caregiving. We've also loved Final Girls, Hornets (maybe my favorite Twine all year?) and The Writer Will Do Something, the best-ever answer to the question "why is the writing on commercial video games often bad"?
Most of these games 'contain' text, but few of them are 'text games', if you're one of those people who has a hard time with 'text games' (and also, if you look at this year's Interactive Fiction Competition, as we'll be doing later this week, the very utility of 'text game' as a descriptor has begun to crumble).
There are some cool-looking games in the WordPlay curation that we haven't tried, too! And I'm bummed the jury missed Wheels of Aurelia, but it's just a testament to how vast and exciting and full of creative potential and participation this space has become.
“Coca-Cola: Blade Roller,” directed by David Fincher in 1993. (via ObscureMedia)
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Zoya Street, curator of Critical Distance, offers slow reflections on the fast-paced world of digital play…
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