Disco Releasium [when game/media websites with content shut down]

This began as a post to the Mastodon thread but it got out of hand before I even pressed the button.

Quick summary: Online spaces, once expansive and welcoming, seem to me now in 2023 to be contracting. You can look at this through a socio/political lens if you like but personally I think the simplest explanation is that everyone is running out of cash.

The Big Friendly Giant (Unity) is turning the screws. Marketing budgets have gone. So Twitch is not the thing any more. If Itch.io should disappear, what will be the shop front for small-scale, lo-fi computer entertainment?

This is both a threat and an opportunity. The Interactive Fiction community has established a (no pejorative) sanctuary for computer-mediated literature. But my reading of the future says that’s not good enough.

The Mastodon thread seemed to me to have a focus on securing a channel where speech was normalized and protected. Which is fine, but in my opinion not the priority right now.

I am hereby inviting a discussion on what might, after the next crash, become the sales pipeline for Interactive Fiction. Let’s do a bit of design work.

  • We need a space where potential authors can assemble. A very accessible environment which does not pose any risk from a reputational or safeguarding standpoint.
  • A platform which can host competitions. Nothing more than that.
  • A place where you can show Works In Progress. But somehow no scrapers, no bots and no porn.
  • A well-curated forum for discussions on The State Of The Art. Moderators appear magically.
  • A decentralized messaging system for encryption of Twisted Whispers. I really can’t understand why you want this but OK.

I don’t understand “scrapers”, but on “porn” (I guess you mean AIF), I think that a system like the current one here (a separate debate) can be workable.

the first and fourth are already in form of this forum. But I don’t get what you mean with “moderators appear magically”: Last time I checked, moderators are always volunteer fellows here…

on the platform, we have already two well-coded platforms (IFComp and Introcomp)

I don’t understand what you mean in the last point…

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.

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I view this topic like a contingency plan for IF. It think it can be a healthy discussion. I also think it’s a great excuse to identifty and share knowledge of what’s out there. The only places I really know of are:

There are sites dedicated to specific IF engines, but I’m just talking about IF in general.

As an alternative, I personally really like gamedev.net. I enjoy reading about the projects others are working on. It’s a site geared for all sorts of game projects. In being all encompassing, it also benefits from not being too niche. The possibility of non-IF player eyes seeing your project increase tenfold. This would help grow the community of IF development. I like that gamedev.net has a dedicated system for presenting and blogging about individual game projects.

Just a thought, but I think a part of keeping IF viable (having a solid sales pipeline) is to make some splashes in non-IF places, like what I mentioned above.

What other IF related sites are there that help encourage growth and preservation of interactive fiction?


Why itchio is gonna disappear?

Why everyone here don’t trust itchio? XD

In my case, because I classify it as “too nosy”; others can have their reasons, tho’.

Best regards &c. from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.

There’s currently no signs of Itch going down, but people are taking a long term view. In 2005 MySpace was the biggest and most solid site on the internet, and look where they are now!

More to the point, MySpace also lost 12 solid years of user uploaded music because they didn’t keep backups. It’s not likely that Itch would make the same mistake, but it is possible.


Yes, thanks for seeing it this way.

Maybe I was being too clever with the title of the post. But it occured to me that it wouldn’t take more than one or two sites to go out of business before it would be very hard to know who was making and releasing interactive fiction around the world.

Not trying to be gloomy, but I do think it’s worth giving it some thought.


Exactly. In the past, before the intfiction.org forums, the Twine community was displaced a couple of times (forum closures) and I don’t believe Twine users were completely unscathed.

We’re definitely in a really good place now, but when I come across sites, like ifreviews.org, I feel like I’m exploring an abandoned ghost town. I wonder why it hasn’t been revived or updated to refer new readers to ifdb.org? …or is it a reflection of the state of IF?

I must say that the frequent competitions are excellent and encouraging. I feel that the passionate few are carrying this community on their backs. This doesn’t go unnoticed, nor unappreciated. The concern comes from what happens if a couple of them step away?

I feel that it might simply come down to the popularity of the genre. Working on IF projects and promoting them outside the IF sphere to grow the community is probably the easiest way for a stable future. Then there will be worthy candidates to pick up the IF community mantle when required.

Food for thought.