Wow. I’m pretty stunned here. Thanks to everyone who played and voted, and for all the kind and insightful words over the past six weeks. And again, a thousand thank yous to my testers: Sam Kabo Ashwell, Bob Reeves, Grainne Ryan, Steve Westwood, and especially Neil Butters, and especially especially Andrew Schultz. The reviewers praised the implementation, and that is on you guys. Also many thanks to my fellow entrants for making such great games, most of which had far more interesting things to say than Hunger Daemon did. I gave Creatures the win on my Miss Congeniality ballot, for what it’s worth. And many thanks to jmac for organizing the comp.
So yeah, I live in St. Paul, about a mile from the bistro, which has been closed for years, but is not a cult headquarters as far as I am aware. My daughter Greta had her bat mitzvah at Mt. Zion on Saturday (it was a big weekend!), officiated by the rabbi who appears in the game. I have not mentioned Hunger Daemon to him, but he’s an exceedingly mellow, sweet guy, so maybe I’ll bring it up next time I see him. I think he comes off OK. In attendance at the bat mitzvah was my Uncle Stu, who has never been a cultist. He brokers commercial real estate on Long Island.
Those who tried CONSULT TOMES ABOUT LOVECRAFT know that I’m not the biggest fan of his writing, but I do love a lot of the stuff he’s inspired: the Call of Cthulhu RPG, the Erol Otus art in the old Deities & Demigods, Anchorhead, The Lurking Horror, The King of Shreds and Patches, Slouching Toward Bedlam – all great. Still, the genre seemed ripe for some affectionate mockery, and the easiest way to do that was to filter it through my own religious experiences, such as they are. I’m basically an atheist, but I go to synagogue and try to fast on Yom Kippur anyway. Guilt runs deep. Thing is, I have the metabolism of a squirrel, and by 11 AM I am starving and silently pleading with the rabbi to get it over with. I’ve never actually lasted all the way to the tekiah gedolah, the sustained blast from the shofar that signals the end of the holiday. This year at the service (a few days into the comp), the rabbi announced a seminar entitled “Torah: Why Bother?”, which so perfectly captured Barry and Leah’s religious ennui that I added it as a mid-comp update.
I’m really gratified that reviewers responded positively to Sam. I had tremendous fun writing her. If you live in the US or Canada, there is probably some flat-track roller derby near you. You should go, if only to see the brilliant names the skaters have come up with.
A bunch of reviewers described HD as “standard IF fare,” which is of course completely correct and I knew going in that I was doing nothing that was even remotely innovative. I just hoped that enough unexpected parser responses would help make up for it. My goal was “pretty good,” or “better-reviewed than Bonehead,” my previous almost-comp-length game, which was definitely riskier, and had somewhat selective appeal, shall we say. (Note to anyone who might look at that game for the first time: disregard anything I say in the ABOUT text about how you don’t need to be familiar with baseball, and that the game will teach you the rules. This is a lie.)
The cover “art”: yes, it is truly terrible. So bad that jmac has apparently deleted it from IFDB, for which I think we all owe him a debt of gratitude. This bit from Tim Burton’s Ed Wood comes to mind:
ED (on phone)
Mr. Feldman! I haven't been able to get through, so I just showed up.
Yeah, out front! So, are we gonna be working together?
(his face slowly falls)
Really? Worst film you ever saw...?
Well, my next one will be better!