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Our coverage of IFComp 2017 finally begins in earnest, with impressions of a dozen of the incredible 79 games entered this year.

If you’re new to IFComp or interactive fiction, check out our previous episode for an introduction.

Games covered:

00:03:06 Eat Me by Chandler Groover
Games by Chandler Groover on IFDB

00:11:50 a partial list of things for which i am grateful by Devon Guinn

00:14:01 The Unofficial Sea-Monkey(R) Simulation by B.J. Best
Hast Thou Considered the Tetrapod

00:20:42 The Owl Consults by Thomas Mack, Nick Mathewson, and Cidney Hamilton

00:27:40 The Wizard Sniffer by Buster Hudson

00:37:47 Harmonia by Liza Daly

00:39:14 Will Not Let Me Go by Stephen Granade

00:47:14 1958: Dancing With Fear by Victor Ojuel

00:53:02 10pm by litrouke

00:56:40 The Living Puppet by Liu Zian

01:01:47 Grue. by Charles Mangin

01:03:13 Tuuli by Daurmith and Ruber Eaglenest


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In this short episode we’re introducing our upcoming coverage of IFComp 2017 with an introduction to the competition and to interactive fiction for new players. We covered IFComp in both 2015 and 2016, and this year we’re preparing for the best and biggest year the competition has ever had. Join us on our next episode for reviews and reactions to some of the games of 2017.

Want to learn more? Here are a few of our past episodes on IF:

Guides for IF Beginners:

How to Play Interactive Fiction (An Entire Strategy on a Postcard)

Emily Short’s Guide to Interactive Fiction (PDF)

IFComp – About IF

History of the Festival

http://ifwiki.org/index.php/Mathbrush

The twine invasion of 2012 (most interesting moment in the recent history of the comp)

http://www.intfiction.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=22855


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Nex Machina is an arcade shooter with an incredible pedigree. Super Stardust developer Housemarque teamed up with video game legend Eugene Jarvis, creator of games like Defender, Robotron 2048, and Smash TV to create a modern dual-stick shooter with obvious arcade influences.

Shane and Raygan discuss the game, their history with the dual stick shooter genre, and a few other notable games to check out if you like arcade shooters.

Nex Machina is available on Steam and PS4 for $19.99. It has an arcade structure designed around frequent re-plays and high scores. Expect it to take about two hours to complete a play through, though this will vary widely by difficulty level and ability.


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Gotta go fast! This episode we’re talking about Sonic Mania, the first Sonic the Hedgehog game in years to recapture the feeling of the original 2D Sonic games. We discuss our history as Sonic fans, the fascinating development story behind the game, and how Sonic Mania measures up as part of the Sonic series.

[00:00:00] The Short Game The Hedgehog
[00:02:25] Sonic Memories
[00:12:47] Sonic Mania Development Story
[00:53:14] Wrap up and Outro

“___ the Hedgehog” Google Image Results:

Raygan the Hedgehog:

Shane the Hedgehog:

Nate the Hedgehog:

 


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Fullbright’s followup to Gone Home finally arrived last month, and we’re floating in to investigate. Tacoma is a sci-fi exploration/narrative storytelling game set aboard a moon-orbiting space station 70 years in the future. You play a contractor sent to investigate a disaster aboard the station, learning what happened through environmental detail and AR surveillance recordings. Uncover the events personal stories of the six crewmembers who made Tacoma home, and discover how they responded to the disaster that threatened their lives.

Tacoma is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux (via Itch.io, Steam, and GOG) and on the Xbox One. Expect it to take 2-4 hours to complete.

Our spoiler break for this episode is at [00:37:42]

Links for this episode:


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Bithell Beyonce-ed us!

Mike Bithell, creator of Short Game favorites Thomas Was Alone and Volume, surprised us with an unexpected release, and it’s incredibly up our alley. Subsurface Circular is a two-hour text adventure game (with beautiful accompanying graphics) about a robot detective, solving a missing person’s case on the subsurface circular, a robots only subway system.

Before the (early) spoiler break at [00:13:50] we discuss the surprise release and what Mike Bithell’s new “Bithell Shorts” label means for short games. After the spoiler break we discuss some of our favorite moments from the game, and its shocking conclusion.

Subsurface Circular is available on Steam for $5.99. Expect it to take about 2-3 hours to complete, with a developer commentary available on a second play through.


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This episode originally went live with out-of-sync audio. If you got that version please delete and re-download. Sorry!

Supergiant’s third game is finally here, and it’s… a sports game? In Pyre, you lead a band of exiles competing in a mystical tournament to win their freedom from the beautiful but dangerous Downside. Through a visual-novel-like RPG story you’ll form bonds with your tribe of exiles, then put them to the test in exceptional 3-on-3 sports-like “rites”.

Transistor, Supergiant’s last game, was The Short Game’s Game of the Year for 2014. Pyre measures up to, and in some ways exceeds, that high bar. We discuss the world building and lore, the artistry, and of course, the MONSTER DUNKS.

Pyre is available for Steam for Windows and Mac and on the Playstation 4 for $19.99. Expect it to take roughly ten hours to complete.

Eyvind Earle landscape vs. Pyre landscape

Earle LandscapePyre Landscape

Who wore it better?


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Laura and Nate discuss a category of games near and dear to them both, board games that have made their way to digital platforms, especially iOS.

Huge link dump for this episode:

Board Game Ports We Mentioned:

Apps As Assistants To Games We Mentioned:

Physical Board Games We Mentioned:

Other Stuff We Mentioned:


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This week we’re shuffling together two different card-based mash-up games on iOS. Card Thief is a stealthy dungeon crawl in card form, and Missile Cards takes Atari Missile Command and reimagines it as a tense game of solitaire.

We start off with a general discussion of both games, then at [00:17:21] we dive into specifics about Card Thief and at [00:42:14] we transition to talking about Missile Cards. We wrap up with a quick discussion of SGDQ2017.

Links for this episode:

SGDQ Speedruns Mentioned


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Little Nightmares is a side scrolling puzzle-platform-horror-action game by frequent Media Molecule collaborator Tarsier Studios. It’s the first major independent work developed by the Swedish developers, whose catalog most notably includes side content for the Little Big Planet series, and ports such as Tearaway: Unfolded. Little Nightmares stars Six, a young girl trapped in a mysterious and terrifying complex called The Maw. This wordless and creepy game has serious echoes of Short Game favorite Inside, but it has a number of interesting and notable differences.

Little Nightmares is available for Windows, PS4, and Xbox One and is regularly priced at $20. Expect it to take around three to four hours to complete.

Congratulations to Nate and Molly on the birth of their first child!

Links for this episode:
The Short Game episode 94: Inside
Russo Brothers Adapting Video Game ‘Little Nightmares’ for TV (Exclusive) – Hollywood Reporter


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Your hosts this week were: