ChoiceBeat Zine #11

Issue #11 of ChoiceBeat: The Visual Novel and Interactive Fiction Zine is out.

Download it on the ChoiceBeat website
Read it online

Highlights Include…

Amazon: Michael Crichton (the Jurassic Park guy) wrote an IF game based on his novel Congo, but then he realized he didn’t have the license, so he changed it to this game.

Choice of Games: Interview with author of Catherine Bailey, author of To the City in the Clouds. It’s an Indiana Jones-style story by an actual anthropological archaeologist.

Deep Dark Wood: This anthology of Twine games by elementary school students from Slovakia was a hit at Spring Thing this year.

Computerfriend: Surreal, dystopian IF set in “Godfield, Louisiana” where the “sky bleeds acid and mud boils in the bayou”.

Gamebooks Go DVD: Choose Your Adventure books got turn into DVDs, and this article tells you why.

And more, more, more!

Also, we are always looking for contributions, news tips, and feedback. Let me know if there is something cool and noteworthy in the world of Interactive Fiction we should be talking about. Thank you again for your attention!


I didn’t realise Amazon broadly equalled Congo. I mean, I thought he’d done two similar things, but not that they both iterally started as Congo.

I read that article and I identify with Wandaelektrix’s opening statements (not that I ever watched ER):

When I was younger, I was really impressed by Michael
Crichton, who created both Jurassic Park and the show ER.
The two seemed so different that I was amazed the same
person made both. As an adult who reads cheap books and
watches bad movies, I am increasingly worried about the
number of contexts in which Michael Crichton crosses my

For me he directed sci-films, non sci-fi thrillers, wrote books that became films both sci-fi and not, and wrote Jurassic Park. And there was a computer game thrown in there. And later I found that pre-frame, he’d written pulp novels under the name John Lange. I’ve started reading these recently, and two out of three so far have been good, too.

I really rate him as a director, though it’s not what most people think of because his more popular movies (The Great Train Robbery (1978), Westworld (1973) and Coma (1978)), people don’t remember to connect with each other, or him.

Looker (1981), about too many things – models having plastic surgery then being murdered, AI-generated commercials, and a gun that hypnotises people – is a strange movie, and awkward, but that’s probably why it’s become cultish. Runaway (1984), a sci-fi thriller with horror elements, is one of my favourite films, though most seem to find it cheesy, and people who didn’t see it when new find it dated.

But overall, the versatility and prolific-ness of what he made in many fields is impressive.



In other news, was it coincidence or opportunity, or inbetween, that someone in this issue was reviewing Amazon, and someone else was reviewing To The City Of The Clouds, a game about Incan cities, also with a parrot prominent on the cover art? The parrot image pages are back to back.


I was obsessed with Crichton as a kid and read as much of his work as my library could provide - I loved Sphere, Jurassic Park, Timeline, and Prey most, and thought Airframe was a dud. Somehow I never discovered he was a director as well! I can’t wait to check his stuff out, 12-yr-old me would be even more thrilled.

I love the article on choicerot and Computerfriend, btw. happily adopting that genre moniker for all past, present, and future work.


It was not planned Amazon and To the City of the Clouds would both be in this issue, but when I laid out the zine, I intentionally put them back-to-back! Embrace synchronicity!

I appreciate all the comments in this thread about Michael Crichton. He was a prolific creator who certainly left his mark at multiple generations of American readers and movie-watchers.

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