imaginary games from imaginary universes: public release

They’re out! 16 games. … c-release/

I’ve still got author responses streaming in so I am going to wait a bit before posting those.

I had one author planning on sending an update so I’m going to wait on packing all 16 into a single ZIP file (and maybe a little bit longer before dropping into if-archive).

Brill! I already downloaded the games individually, so I for one would really like to know about any updates so I can download just that particular game later, instead of downloading the lot all over again. [emote];)[/emote]

I will make sure I post here if there are any updates.

One thing I need to get up is I have the actual file for the soundscape (as opposed to just the Soundcloud link). I know you’ll want that.

Gaia’s Web has been updated.

I would if that game were an actual playable game file. [emote]:)[/emote] It looked amazingly cool, and if I get someone to play it with I will, but I currently haven’t the time nor the inclination. Nor the someone.

Many thanks!

Synchronicity has been updated.

Garbage Collection has been updated.

I think that’s the last one? I will wait another day before uploading the complete ZIP.

Hmm, I think I’m going to have to redownload the lot. I got the originals/updates mixed up.

Normally I’d look at the serial numbers to see which is the most recent, but it’s the darndest thing - in both Gaia’s Web and Garbage Collection, the version I downloaded before and the version I downloaded after the update have the same release and serial number! But I know they’re different because GW has a different filename and GC has been recompiled for a different VM!

I’ll probably wait on the big zip. [emote]:)[/emote] Who knew imaginary games would be so hard to keep track of? Actually, now that I say that out loud, it seems only logical…

The z-file version of Garbage Collection is the more recent. (There’s only one not very significant change, which resolves a tense shift in a rare case.)

Thanks for the clarification. [emote]:)[/emote]

I’m having some issues with Darkest Words, I think. After I enter my name and say it’s the first time playing, I get the following text:

“But now, with Doug Egan’s generous agreement, this translation of “Darkest Words” from BOS Fire Sheet to Microsoft Excel makes the game (marginally) more accessible >”

All the rows are protected so I can’t resize cells to see all the text.

Also, when I type “anything” into the cell supposed to start the game, nothing happens.

I’m using OpenOffice Calc, so can I just get confirmation that this game won’t work properly with any programs except Excel?

Is Excel even free? I thought all the programs in the Office suite had to be purchased in the Office package.

I’m not sure whether it works in Open Office, but in Excel you can resize the protected cells by selecting a range of cells that includes them (click down at the bottom and shift-click up to the top) and then selecting “Format–Rows,” or something like that.

…and in case anyone cares, the reason that the two versions of Garbage Collection are compiled for different virtual machines is that I first compiled it for Glulx, because that’s the default, and then I was curious to see whether it would fit into the z-machine. Then after I compiled it for the z-machine I noticed a bug in an edge case.

Doesn’t work on OpenOffice, but it was worth a try, so cheers.

What I was actually curious about was how come both versions had the same serial number. When my brain cells got together, though, they told me you’d probably compiled both on the same day.

EDIT - Hey, I tell a lie, something did happen when I “type[d] anything to start the game”. On the row just below, a 0 appeared at the far right.

Nothing else happened, though. Maybe I’m supposed to imagine there’s a game here?

Free version of Excel … -2010.html

it is intended to be ad-supported, but it looks like Microsoft stopped filling the ad queue a while ago so the ad space just displays the Microsoft Office logo.

I was having some trouble getting Darkest Words to work on a non-Excel clone.

Oh hey, brilliant! Pity I have to download the whole suite. Maybe it’ll allow me to install only Excel… Anyway! Many thanks!


“This version only works on 32-bit Windows machines.”

Aw, crap. Then I’d have to boot up Virtual WinXP, install the suite there, and play the game there…

Starting to be a bit too much. Ah well, I’ll just have to give it a miss. I still really like the gimmick.

This seems to have landed in a giant wad of silence. Apart from the authors, Emily Short is the only person I’m aware of who has played these games.

So… er… did anyone play them? And do you have thoughts?

– a hopeful author

I love the premise of the jam. I’ve read imaginary reviews of imaginary books by Lem and by Borges, and I think it is a brilliant and fun genre. I think everybody in the competition did an excellent job in applying that to game reviews. My favorites among the reviews are A Game Played By Galaxies (because of the mind-blowing, megalomaniac conception), Garbage Explorer (because of the satiric component, and the lovely details about garbage exploration) and Unreal City (because the review makes me want to play it!).

I started playing the games, too:
(1) I like how the ShadowCast review is maximally intruiging in proportion to its brevity, and I think the posters are a great illustration of the idea. I could not open the .exe file on my Linux system, though.
(2) I played Seachange, and the author implemented the annoying crafting-your-character-in-vain experience described in the review nicely in a CYOA game. Some of the other details from the review also made it into the game. I was hoping to see a bit more dragon and… Civil War action, though. The choices do not seem to matter at all, but that’s fair enough in such a short showcase story.
(3) I love A Game Played by Galaxies. I think it is a perfect implementation of the idea from the review. What I especially like about the review is that it describes an almost unimaginable game (I like fake reviews best when the described book or game is not just non-existing, but impossible), and what I like even more about the implementation is that it makes the game not only imaginable, but actually playable. The instructions sound totally reasonable, and the gif proves that it can be played (while eating a banana). I haven’t tried yet, but: it even looks like fun! So that’s definitely my favorite review-game-pair so far.

I’ll try out the others in the next few days. Many thanks to the organizers and participants of the project, I’m enjoying it.


Thank you! Although I should explain that the “satiric component” as it exists in the game is perhaps more “hasty in-universe explanation of why I was only able to implement as much as I did in the time I gave myself.”

A plea here that everyone should play Mayfly. I’m a bit biased because it was my review, but it is way better than the game I imagined in my head.

Don’t thank me too early - I meant the review here (sorry for being unclear). I haven’t played the Garbage game yet, but I’m looking forward to it! (And to playing Mayfly, too.)

And that was entirely clear from your post, too! How embarrassing. It’s like responding to someone who’s not talking to you, but worse.

Fortunately, I wrote one of the reviews you mentioned, so I can still salvage a bit of ego out of this.

That link reminds me of a Catherine Tate character. Seriously, every sketch that’s pretty much what’d happen - she’d cause one of those awkward situations and then try to save face by being either worse, random, cowardly, or all three.

Erm… off topic? Me? Why, what on earth do you mean? Surely you’re imagining it.