So one other game I’m (thinking about) working on is based on a novella I wrote. Would it be worth including the novella as a feelie? If it were a short story, I definitely would, but I tend to think that no one would be interested in something longer.
It wouldn’t be without precedent, but whether it’s defensible depends entirely on how good it is, really
And how essential it is for playing. Is the game not self-contained?
The main reason why Brimstone, Breakers, Essex, Mindwheel, Deadline, Moonmist, and heck, most if not all Infocom games are so much fun experiences is because by the time the player gets into the game proper, he’s already immersed in the game world - in the case of Moonmist, he already knows the layout and history of the mansion; in the case of Essex, he knows all the main characters. In the case of Brimstone, Ballyhoo, Hollywood Hijinx and Enchanter, he’s got a good feel for the style of the game, and is able to jump right into the right atmosphere.
If your novella can achieve any of the previous, then by all means include it. Please. I print out every feelie.
I’m all for feelies.
Apart from downright spoilers, it should be the odd case when any feelie would ruin a game.
(Such as, perhaps, if the novella happens to be much better than the game … which would be all the more reason not to withhold us the novella, right?)
I think it’s an interesting idea. There was a DOS based game back in the 80s that did something with an introductory novella – not sure it counts as a complete story – called Guardians of Infinity. You can find some more info here. I had the game back many years ago and found the story compelling but the game less so.
There was a fantasy computer-game in the 90s that came with a novella, too … I don’t remember the title, but I remember that David Pulver was coathor on the novella (possibly with the U.S. Steve Jackson?)
[edited addendum] The game was “Stonekeep” from Interplay, and yep, it was Dave and Steve.
I think it would be worth. In the worst case scenario only people with enough time or much interest would read it. Other than that, it won’t do any harm, as long as you state somewhere visible that reading the novella is not a requirement for playing the game but enhances the whole experience of it.
In good old days quite a few text adventure games based on well known novels were released with a trade paperback copy of the book. Some examples in the pic are Melbourne’s Tolkien related stuff (Hobit, Lord Of The Rings), that 1984 Peter Pan game from Hodder & Stoughton, that Not A Penny More Not A Penny Less 1987 game based on Jeff ARcher financial melodrama of the same title…
On the other hand other IF games were released with books written specially for the ocassion. Ferguss McNeill (the guy from Delta 4) Mindfighter was sold in 1988 with a 160 page novel by his future wife Anna Popkes, Carnell Software’s Wrath Of Magra came with a beautifully illustrated 158 page book called “The Book Of Shadows” with a story of previous events in the game universe…
A peculiar twist was made in recent years by spanish autor Josep Coletas. He wrote a series of oldskool mystery text adventure games available as freeware downloads for the ZX Spectrum computer, “Los Extraordinarios Casos Del Dr Van Halen” and then wrote a book about the main character, basically a novelized walkthrough of the games, which he is now selling as a comercial download for e-books and had a very limited physical edition.
Not to mention that when Level 9 made “trilogy” editions of their previous games they used to include some kind of medium size novel in the instructions booklet which were also written exclusively for those releases. In all of those cases we’re not talking about full lenght hundreds of pages novels, but surely more than the usual stuff inside Infocom’s browsies.
Interesting! I never played the original releases of any of these games, so I don’t know much about feelies as originally packaged.
A Mind Forever Voyaging also comes to mind. I’d definitely go for it.
Not a novel, but I remember the early Lucasarts graphical adventure Loom came with an audio cassette, on which was recorded a 10-minute (or so) audio drama setting up the back story for the game. I only listened to it the one time, I think (I was perhaps 12 or 13 at the time), and was not terribly impressed, but it did strike me as an idea with a lot of potential. On the IF front, I liked that last year’s People’s Glorious Revolutionary Text Adventure Game (Taylor Vaughan) had a “soundtrack” of sorts that you could download separately for background music.
I’m working on a soundtrack for my WIP, but it’s basically just a YouTube playlist. Although there will be a couple tracks I did myself, none of it (so far) is actually written for the game.
dammit! im doing something similar!
I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Wasn’t there a big drive for IF cover art a few years back? I think soundtracks are just the next inevitable thing.
Although there are enough musicians in IF that the possibility for original music is quite distinct.
true dat y0. mine’s original stuff. not by me, but by a friend. can mp3’s be released with a game? havent released on yet. i dont wanna imbed the songs in the work, i feel IF should be soundless, and the player can choose to have sound/music if desired.
The newest revision of the Glk spec includes the ability to pause and restart sound channels. I plan to release a skinnable music player for I7 Glulx that will allow you to include your soundtrack in the game file itself, but with a little player that the user can control.
(This is primarily intended for desktop delivery–you can already include a soundtrack alongside the web interpreter version of your game via standard web technologies.)
I like this “multimedia as a feelie” approach. Music and/or images and/or movies are right there if player feels like enjoying them but are not intrusive into the game experience itself and don’t pretend to be neither essential nor a requirement for inmmersion. Nice!
I’ve seen that word all over.
What the heck is a feelie?
Is it like a “solve” when the player gets too frustrated, or a “reveal” when the player is stuck on a puzzle?
Out-of-game extras, such as a printed (or PDF) map, a physical letter or something else that’s meant to complement the game.
Infocom was the company that came up with the name and the idea for “feelies,” I think. Here’s the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for example:
In case the caption is too small to read:
Pocket fluff was a major plot element in the game, and I always thought it was really funny that they provided some in the package.
Another Infocom Game, Leather Goddesses of Phobos, included a scratch n’ sniff card, which the game would instruct you to sample at appropriate times. Many Infocom games had critical pieces of information in the feelies as a means of copy protection.
An article about the origin of Infocom’s feelies: