Is Australia the true land of IF?

I’ve noticed that Australia is strongly represented in the IF community. At least 4 or 5 authors in this year’s comp are Australian, Six was set in Australia, and I just played two old IFComp games which are explicitly about Australia (Madame Lestrange, and Photograph).

In fact, I feel that the number of games explicitly set in Australia exceeds those explicitly set in America.

Is there really a bigger presence of IF in Australia given its population, or is it just all in my head? In any case, I’ve learned a lot about huntsman spiders and drop bears.

I can’t say I’ve noticed that. Most of the games I’ve seen are set in fictional worlds, albeit with a variety of geographic influences. The few “real” settings I’ve seen that specified a location (as opposed to “Your House” or “Your Office”) seemed mostly to be American, with British a distant second.

But it would sort of make sense for the “hack’n’slash” style of IF to favor Australia, seeing as Australia is particularly rich in natural hazards. :wink:

Since IF is text-based and most of the existing authoring systems were designed by English speakers, it’s not too surprising that most (not all!) of the stories are set in English-speaking countries. That’s currently where most of the authors live. I wish there were more good settings in IF games, regardless of location, but it’d be especially awesome to have some more settings outside my home country.

I’ve tried playing a few games in other languages, but parser-based is tough because it requires the player to have a decent grasp of the imperative tense in that language. (Admittedly, in most languages the imperative is one of the simplest tenses, but you still have to be able to write it.) For a foreigner, a choice-based game would probably be a lot easier to play.

I don’t often come across an Australian setting in static fiction, so it’s especially cool seeing it in IF. It’s neat how IF can be a window into other people’s worlds.

Ah, you warm my Australian heart. Or maybe that’s a side effect of one of the 27 spiders that just bit me.

I definitely agree with the ideas that
(a) Australian writers are very well represented in the IF Community (I live in a state of perpetual surprise and delight about this fact). Other than having internet and native English speakers, I’m not sure why that is.

I talk to book authors about IF a LOT (my novel-writing inclinations are so strong I’m actually “launching” my first commercial IF piece today at the Sydney FreeCon) and there’s always someone coming up to me asking to know more.

(b) It really is moderately rare to find an Australian setting in fictional stories. When I go to novel-writing conferences, people often say they wish there was more Australian-based fiction. We’re quite culturally self-conscious in some ways and a lot of Australian writers never think of using our own country as a setting, especially in speculative fiction. (I do, of course…I’ll go post a separate thread for that.) Writing a very Australian IF story has made me much more patriotic than I was before, which is slightly weird for me, but fun too. (And, today someone said about ATTACK OF THE CLOCKWORK ARMY: “The world is weird and makes no cents what so ever to me. I mean robots powered by steam and magic given by metals. I bought it but I deleted it because I don’t see myself ever going through that again” so clearly the setting doesn’t appeal to everyone!)

From more of a game development perspective since I know more about that than IF communities…

We do seem to have a strong game development community in Australia for our size. But, as with fiction writers, it’s unusual for people to make use of Australian settings in games. Felicity is dead on about how much awkwardness people have about going there. Perhaps exacerbated by the number of people doing work for hire on overseas projects (though less now than there used to be). Some background on the character of Aussie games here:

The most commercially successful Australian-made IF that I know of is Tin Man Games’ Fighting Fantasy style gamebooks. As far as I know they haven’t released anything with an Aussie setting. If they have it’s certainly not marketed as such.

So, it’s pretty encouraging to see some Australian settings represented here. I’m currently in the planning stages of a visual novel with an obviously Australian setting and it does feel odd to be embracing that heritage. It’s not the sort of thing I ever thought I’d end up making.

Dot and the Kangaroo - the IF version?

That’s ingenuity, that is!

(mind you, I loved the films when I was a kid and I still love them dearly and revisit them occasionally. I find the whole concept of the original book fascinating, too: a book written so that children would not forget the bush - that’s what it’s called, isn’t it? - and it’s unique flora and fauna, in this day of growing technology and cultural dillution)

Actually, a part of their Infinite Universe gamebook was set in the present day outback (by far my favourite part of it), though yes, definitely not mentioned in the marketing, which emphasised the sci-fi side instead.

As for us having the internet here, the crappy speed of said internet may have something to do with our love of text based games!

I’m curious now: how about New Zealand ?