Longtime readers will remember that I’m interested in tabletop role-playing games and have even dabbled in a bit of design and setting-creation, but it was still with some surprise that back in October, I found myself visiting the local university’s media-and-communications building to take part in a game jam.
The “jam” – that is, the brief informal session where a bunch of creatives got together to make some stuff – had been advertised as centering around narrative, and I decided that attending might help me unwind some stress.This guess turned out to be correct, despite the surprise.
We would be using Twine to create short interactive stories: the kind where you read some text, then click on a link that takes you to a new page where you can read some new text, a sort of digital choose-your-own-adventure book. Twine is a platform specifically designed for creating interactive fiction without needing any programming experience. (That said, if you want to really push the tool to its limits then you’re going to want to know some CSS and understand the fundamentals of how programming tends to “talk.”)
Anybody who showed up was free to use a computer in the lab to try and build a little story, but the jam also had a series of challenges: you could try to build your story/game around a specific bit of subject matter, incorporate four specific words, and try to elicit one specific response from the reader in at least one scene.
It was exactly the mental palate-cleanser I needed! After a couple of hours of deep focus I came out feeling not just refreshed but invigorated, so much so that I’ve downloaded Twine onto my home computer and tinkered with it in spare moments ever since.
Anyway, one of the words I got was “Scottish,” which is why the setting isn’t German. Please give the game a try at the link below! (For extra fun, try to guess the other three words, the subject matter, and the response that I drew for the challenge. Without further ado, I present the (lightly edited and spruced-up) fruits of that afternoon’s labor.
And be sure to let me know what you think afterwards! I’m pretty proud of how it turned out, but that doesn’t mean that feedback isn’t welcome.