Apollo 18+20: The IF Tribute Album

So, this isn’t a competition, but I figure this is the best place for this announcement here (and I figure it’s convenient that this is where talk of an IF festival is happening).


So I’m putting together what is essentially a tribute album in IF form for the They Might Be Giants album Apollo 18, celebrating the 20th anniversary of its release in March. Go to the above link, read the post, and sign up (by emailing me; see the link) if you want to participate. Note that for those of you who have yet to write a game, one of the “Fingertips” games might be a great place to start!


This fills me with glee.

This is approximately the greatest thing ever.


I’m so down with this I’m typing upside down. Now what song to choose…

This is such a great idea!

So, Kevin, I assume you’re planning on contributing a game? And I assume you availed yourself of the right of first dibs? So what did you pick?

I decided I really wanted to write for my favorite (Statue Got Me High) even though other songs seemed to me to lend themselves more readily to the medium. I felt like I had some “leads” that I wouldn’t be able to use personally, but others might. Does anyone else who’s participating think that they would benefit from the opportunity to toss around ideas, like on a shared Google Document or that kind of thing? It might also help people who are afraid they’ll end up making a game that’s too similar to someone else’s.

I do plan to contribute, but I decided I’d wait and see what is left. I didn’t want to take someone’s favorite song and have them not participate because of that. Also, I have a feeling I might be filling in a few of the Fingertips songs, too. I really would like to see every track done.

That sounds like a great idea. I’m not personally interested in wrangling anything like that, but feel free. If you do get something together, I’m happy to update the Gameshelf post with some info.


I went ahead and made a thing. You can edit it. Although I guess you need a Google account.

I guess I can see how someone might think that it should only be visible to/editable by certain people. I think that’s possible.

It’s kind of slapped-together though and I think it might be too stupid-looking right now to be associated with the Gameshelf post. Maybe give it a little bit.

Ha! That is awesome. I sent some ‘fingertips’ choices.

I have to admit–I never “got” TMBG, though I probably should’ve. Apparently I’m the sort of person who would, and I was when I was younger, but I remember being totally baffled.

Now obviously part of this is up to me–revisiting the songs and finding time to just sit and see what I missed–but I was wondering about backup.

So I would be interested/grateful if people pointed me to a place that explains what they were doing/trying to do/what went over my head. It might be neat to be a part of this, and maybe it’s one less “I don’t understand” to cross off.

I dunno, man. That’s kind of like busting out a diagram to explain a joke (“as of the second line, tension is established due to the danger of the woman’s position on the precipice, but this is both escalated and relieved suddenly as the listener realizes that there are two, both potentially applicable, definitions of the term …”). Once you’re there, the joke’s already killed.

Just listen to the music with a different perspective. The passing of years may have already given you all you need.

Mind you, Apollo 18 is far from their best album. I recommend any revisitation begin with ‘Flood’.


Of course, your mileage may vary. Your mileage may vary so much.

Ha! The vagaries of taste, etc. It’s not that A18 is bad album or anything.

BTW thinking about how to structure my Fingertips entry has actually led me to value the one-move puzzle and I am now considering a couple of ideas that occurred for how to insert a couple such puzzles into my WIP — they are easy to insert and it just so happens they solve a problem I was having with narrative tone in one section.

The interfertility of imaginations is one of the best things in the universe.


That’s awesome [emote]:)[/emote]

I’ve been wanting an excuse to do a one-move game for a while now, so I welcome my Fingertips project. The thing I’m wrestling with (and I’m busy working on some production projects right now so this is all in my head and a mostly-empty project folder) is whether I should try to keep the whole thing feeling very “Fingertips” with very very brief responses, so that each play-through is almost instantaneous … or really bust out with longer, more character-exploratory nonsense, so that each play-through provides some meatier reading.

Ultimately, the game will kind of decide for me, as I structure it, but that’s something I’m mulling over while it’s inchoate. The situation and characters I have in mind are sufficiently odd to support the longer-form approach, but I think it may be truer to the inspiration to keep things brief and inexplicable.

And I find myself thinking that to do an entire game of multiple Fingertips might be interesting … a single game-file containing a dozen or more one-move games, where as you complete one you’re transported to another instead of back to the same situation. A kind of surreal textual Warioware, if you will … inkeeping with the random-access idea of mixing the fingertips by shuffling the entire album.

Totally! Great idea, that could go into some very interesting directions. Some similarities with what I thought of, but in my case teleporting from one situation to a whole different situation was already part of my game, so it would be very easy to add a couple of one-move interludes between teleports – for narrative spacing. Little breathers, if you will, because outside of those bounds the game is pretty unforgiving and never stops.


I had a feeling it might be something like that. Reading why they put the fingertips in helped a lot, but I guess I’ll just sit back and evaluate the longer bits on my own. I’ve had books I hated as a kid that I like now, so I guess it’s sort of the same thing.

On the other hand, it’s good I’m not missing anything silly. I would love to contribute for one of the fingertips, just to have my name on something–and because a 1-verb, 1-move puzzle would force me to concentrate. So even if I don’t fully appreciate the music, I’ll help.

As for explanation ruining jokes, I largely agree for immediate impact, but with a longer incubation period, the explanation peels off and the funny bits remain.

At the risk of killing something, the songs are not just silly, but silly in a way that calls into question what is our motivation for even writing songs (sometimes quite philosophically – those are my favourites, like Everybody Wants a Rock).

The text adventure I have played that felt most like a TMBG song was Pick Up The Phone Booth and Die.


Hopefully you won’t be able to say that for long! [emote]:-)[/emote]


Cool. That makes sense. I mean, it was one of my guesses that they were just trying to twist things, and I was listening to a lot of protest stuff at the time, so yeah–big shift. Hope I don’t need spoiler tags for this [emote]:)[/emote]

And from what I can see, the album was specifically meant

to be played with a CD than with a cassette, which is how I first heard it.

Also, after a bit of thinking, I realized I didn’t need to like or relate to all the songs–just the one I’d hopefully be writing for. Still, you can probably guess where I’ve been poking around on YouTube lately.