I’ve been enjoying watching Screen Rant pitch meetings, which involve a guy pitching movie ideas to an executive (played by the same person). I thought it might be fun do that for IF. To avoid seeming too mean, I’ll just do one for a game of my own.
Major spoilers for Suveh Nux
Suveh Nux pitch
Exec: So you have a new work of IF for me?
Author: Yep, it’s going to be called Suveh Nux.
Exec: Soup and nuts? Could be a bit of a niche audience, but OK.
Author: “Soo-vay nooks”. It makes sense inside the game. Actually the name is a bit of a clue too.
Exec: Oh wow wow wow. Clues in game titles are tight. I’m sure screen readers will have no problem with that name at all. Just so long as that’s the only unpronounceable part of the game.
Author: … anyway, the premise is that you are a wizard’s servant.
Exec: Wow. Magic is tight. So I guess you know magic too?
Author: No, your master hasn’t taught you anything at all. You just dust shelves and things like that.
Exec: Doesn’t sound too exciting, spending the game dusting shelves.
Author: Oh no, you don’t do any of that in the actual game. It’s all about experimentation and discovery.
Exec: Oh wow. Like in a laboratory with cauldrons and bubbling potions?
Author: Nothing like that at all. You’re just in a small room, in complete darkness.
Exec: Sounds like an ideal place for magical experimentation. So what are you doing in there?
Author: Your master asks you to put some of his things back in his vault, including a cage containing a small furry invisible creature.
Exec: Small furry invisible creatures are tight.
Author: They sure are. But when you reach the vault, an unknown person pushes you from behind and locks the door.
Exec: Oh no! So I guess there’s a big reveal at the end explaining who did that and why, as a reward for the player winning the game?
Author: No, you never actually find out. In the end you find your master tied up with ropes with no explanation whatsoever.
Exec: Interesting decision!
Author: Maybe I’ll just make up the backstory in a few years’ time.
Exec: Sounds good to me. So what happens next?
Author: Well it’s pretty dark in the vault, so you need to use your other senses.
Exec: Oh, a smelling and tasting game!
Author: Not really, no. Actually doing that could get you killed.
Exec: So you listen to everything.
Author: Uh, no, there are no sounds at all.
Exec: So you’re using all of your senses other than sight, smell, taste and hearing?
Author: Exactly. So you come across a vial of liquid that glows when you bump it.
Exec: Phosphorescent glowing vials are tight.
Author: Yes they are. So it turns out the glow is enough to read a book of spells.
Exec: The wizard keeps his spell book down in the vault?
Author: Yes, it’s too precious to leave just lying around.
Exec: So does he come down to the vault to do all his magic?
Author: No, he already knows the spells.
Exec: So why did he write them down in this book?
Author: I don’t know!
Exec: It just seems kind of odd.
Author: Sir, I’m going to need to get all the way off my back about this one.
Exec: I’m off of there! So tell me more about this book.
Author: Well the book is encrypted just in case it falls into the wrong hands.
Exec: So how do you know it’s a spell book?
Author: It says “SPELLS” on the front cover.
Exec: Isn’t that just a little un-encrypt-y?
Author: Well the important letters are in silver, so you really only notice if you’re looking at it in low light.
Exec: Such as the light given off from a phosphorescent glowing liquid in a small vial?
Exec: Lucky we found one of those.
Author: It really is. So on the first page there’s some silver writing that says “Suveh Nux”.
Exec: Hey that’s the name of the game!
Author: Yes it is. And when you say it the light comes on.
Exec: Super useful. So the book glows?
Author: No, the light just happens.
Exec: And where does the light come from?
Author: It’s just there.
Exec: The light is just there, with no particular source or point of origin?
Exec: OK then.
Author: So now you can read the rest of the writing in the book.
Exec: Which explains all the spells?
Author: Which is completely irrelevant. Except for one page which is a vital clue to escaping the vault, and another page with a reverse binary number system that’s vitally important too.
Exec: Oh, nonstandard number systems are tight.
Author: Yes they are.
Exec: So are there other kinds of spells too?
Author: Of course. The usual kinds: spells to make things heavy, hot, sticky … and one that makes you care deeply about inanimate objects.
Exec: Oh wow wow wow. I imagine that comes in super handy in this situation.
Author: No, it’s completely useless.
Exec: Red herring spell effects are tight.
Author: You can also reverse a spell to do the opposite.
Exec: Like, not caring about an inanimate object at all?
Exec: So why did someone go to the trouble of inventing that spell?
Exec: That works for me.
Author: You can also add a delay to a spell so it doesn’t happen right away.
Exec: Oh wow. And the delay can be for as long as you like?
Exec: I’m sure that won’t cause any unnecessary confusion when players are experimenting with it and see spell effects occur at seemingly random times in the future.
Exec: So is the delay specified in seconds?
Author: No, in turns.
Exec: As in, the amount of time it takes to do any arbitrary action in the game?
Author: That’s right.
Exec: Wow, lucky anything you do takes precisely the same amount of time.
Author: It really is.
Exec: So is delaying a spell useful in any way?
Author: It turns out to be vitally important. It’s the only way to increase the power of a spell, which is necessary to escape from the vault.
Exec: Oh wow. And is it hard to escape once you learn all the spells?
Author: Actually it’s super easy – barely an inconvenience. You just use heat and cold to split the door, then make part of it lighter, then make it sticky so you can move it.
Exec: So the book happens to contain exactly the right combination of spells to escape from the vault?
Author: It does.
Exec: Very useful! And does the game have a score?
Author: Yes indeed. If you do everything just right you get the full 95%.
Exec: Just 95%?
Exec: Won’t players feel like they missed something important if they do everything right but don’t get 100%?
Author: Well the last 5% are for getting three optional Easter eggs.
Exec: And they’re totally optional?
Author: Yes, they make no difference to the main story at all. Except that you can use them to make friends with the invisible furry creature.
Exec: Wait, these are literal Easter eggs? As in made of chocolate?
Exec: Wow, unexplained fourth wall breaking is tight. And how do you get them all?
Author: By doing three very obscure actions.
Exec: Isn’t that a little unfair on the players?
Author: Well there are instructions hidden in the game.
Exec: Where are they hidden?
Author: You need to use the “think about” command.
Exec: The command that the player is explicitly told isn’t required to finish the game?
Exec: Whoopsie! So are there any other interesting aspects to the game?
Author: The small furry invisible creature falls out of the cage and nibbles on your shoe sometimes.
Exec: Sounds like it might freak some people out, being stuck in an enclosed space with something invisible trying to eat them.
Author: Well I’m sure no players will end up getting obsessed with finding it and make that the main point of the game.
Exec: Totally, that would never happen.
Feel free to add other IF pitch meetings if you feel inspired!