The Griffin and the Minor Canon

I’ve just released a new Twine game. It’s an adaptation of a classic Frank Stockton short story about a griffin who develops an unlikely “friendship” with a Minor Canon in a little town.

The game’s IFDB page is here.
And you can play the game directly here.

It’s actually not much of a game – definitely more an interactive fiction. I tried to stay faithful to the original while still giving it a slightly different spin via interactivity. Hopefully anyone who plays will enjoy it!

Thanks for this – I enjoyed it! Not having read the original story I can’t really make formal comparisons, but I think it worked well in its current form.

Yes, this was fun! I really like this adaptation. I read the story what must be years ago. I’ll have to find it and read it again now.

Thanks! I’m glad you guys liked it!

The original story has been one of my favorites since I read it back in middle school. That was almost twenty years ago! The griffin was one of the first truly “self-aware” monsters I remember encountering in literature. It was in a collection of Stockton’s other stories, which also included “The Lady or the Tiger?”

It’s funny now that I think about it, since “The Lady or the Tiger?” was basically proto-IF, and that quality was always what made me love it, long before I even knew what IF was. It influenced how I think about all fiction. So when I saw those IF Classics titles popping up on IFDB, that made me want to adapt a game myself, and I went right to Stockton.

I probably should’ve given this background in my opening post!

I read it in a collection I got at a school book fair! Maybe the same one you’ve seen. It’s a little paperback with a picture of the griffin and minor cannon on the cover.

His story The Bee-Man of Orn also might work as a twine, come to think of it. It has the right cyclical structure…

Having gone and looked at the original now: I quite like the way the IF adaptation presents the end of the griffin; it feels like a lighter touch than the one in the original story.

(Though I do flinch somewhat at the suggestion, found in both, that everyone who is in need of financial assistance is really just lazy.)

Have you encountered Peter Nepstad’s IF adaptations of some of Lord Dunsany’s work? Different in flavor, obviously, but kind of cool.

Caleb, that is the exact version I own, and I also got my copy at a school book fair! It’s very raggedy now. One of the older books on my shelf!

I have played The Ebb and Flow of the Tide and I quite liked that one. I hadn’t read the original, but it worked really well for me as a game. I also have The Journey of the King in my wish list!

Regarding the financial assistance bit, I agree about the flinching reaction, and I considered removing it. But then I decided, no, I wanted to keep everything from the original, even the nasty bits. However, I do think it comes across differently when the story is told through the griffin’s POV, because then it becomes the griffin’s opinion rather than the omniscient author’s. And the griffin is very snobby and authoritarian, threatening people with death if they don’t obey him! Not someone you’d turn to for sympathy.

Yeah, I agree it sounds a bit different coming from the griffin himself. Of course, that viewpoint shift also means that, in your version, it’s more ambiguous whether the Minor Canon’s happy homecoming is what actually happens, or only what the griffin hopes will be the outcome of his policies…

(Also, how is it that after all these years of using the forum I still manage to screw up URLs? Sorry about that.)

The ending is more ambiguous… and personally, I’m inclined to think the griffin may be too hopeful!

I didn’t want to change the story’s major plot points, but I did want to cast them in another light. One of the more subtle differences that results is how the griffin’s conduct is not necessarily something with net positive results. That comes from my own reading of the original tale: terrorizing the people into submission isn’t going to get them to honestly respect the Minor Canon. It’s coercion, plain and simple. What looks like a fairy tale with a bow-tied ending actually has lots of complicated layers. But then, this is true for most fairy tales! One reason I love them so much!