Upcoming mini-comps? Another Cover Stories?

I admit to never having heard of this before. I had to look it up. But November 18th is my b-day, so that’s a happy coincidence.

My favorite concept-album-tells-a-story is ELO’s Time. I still love it.

I’m not sure I’d be much help on a tribute album I’m not familiar with, but I can offer hosting at intfiction.org for any speed-IF, mini-comp, or compilation. It’s pretty easy to set up a new account and add a directory alias.

Tribute comps aren’t great at engaging the whole community. I’d prefer they not happen, even for music I like.

I think Apollo 18+20’s strength was that the original album was sort of the opposite of a concept album: it’s a big messy disunity, and doesn’t take itself all that seriously; insofar as it has a unifying tone, it’s one of goofy experimentation, so it was possible to tell authors ‘go and do whatever weird thing occurs to you - hell, you don’t even need to listen to the song’ and have the total result be something that actually made sense as a tribute. Concept albums, or any album with strong unifying themes and tone - particularly serious ones - sort of require all the participating authors to be singing from the same hymn-sheet, and that ain’t going to happen in a month of Mondays, even if you somehow overcame the ‘I don’t really know/like this album’ problem.

(The mixtape concept is meant as an attempt to overcome those two issues: there’s no expectation of unifying anything, and there’s a decent chance that you’d get at least some songs that do something for you. It’s a bit less external-media-friendly, though - Apollo 18+20 came with some built-in crossover appeal.)

I’m good with something like ShuffleComp, where I probably won’t know the media coming at me, but the person across from me probably won’t know the media either. It seems kind of fair and interesting - they’ll be as excited as I am to see what they make of it.

But I’m not interested in any competition where everyone is working from the same media and it isn’t previously familiar to me. I’m just not excited to see what other people make under those circumstances, and thus, it doesn’t have the same inherent fun value.

What about go the other direction - DigestComp: make a “Reader’s Digest” or “For beginners” Twine/CYOA version of a classic parser game. This could be used for people to go ahead and vent about the manner in which they believe Twine and similar oversimplifies interaction. However, I would suggest two prizes: One for parody reductionism, and one for someone who seriously makes an attempt to revamp and distill the essence of a story/experience into a choice-based medium and gets it right.

Infocomp: Make a sequel to an Infocom game. See how many lawsuits from Activision we get! [emote]:)[/emote]

As long as the game were not making money on a dead franchise, could something like that be classified as fan-fiction?

Technically, I don’t think it matters. Unless things have changed, a case could still be made that a work of fan fiction still dilutes the value of the original IP, or misrepresents it, either of which could make a case for “damages” caused. Most IP holders tend not to care, probably worrying that it’d be bad press to cause a stink or maybe feeling that it actually helps. Aside from the parody exception – which probably gets misused – I personally wouldn’t want to get too involved only to get shut down. A person could always ask Activision for permission, but good luck with that.

No. The Hugo Comp happened in December the past two years, and there has been talk of doing another one this year:

I suppose I’d be up for whatever, assuming real life doesn’t intervene. My kids are old enough now to entertain themselves most of the time, and not need constant supervision on my custody days. And over the summer I transitioned to a different part of the same company where I’d previously been pretty stressed and working beyond capacity for about five years straight. So there’s kind of this lull right now, where I’ve got more downtime and renewed motivation.

My gut reaction was that a competition based on porting some other game or IF-itizing something that’s not IF didn’t sound like a lot of fun. That’s not to say I wouldn’t give it a shot, though.

Could have a compo for people to make fan-derivative works of their favorite pre-1923 property, updating, tweaking, mashing up or faithfully paying homage to one of the many characters Sonny Bono never cared about.

We could have a Sherlock Holmes comp!

I like it!

Had I bothered to include examples, that would have been number two, after Wizard of Oz but before Alice in Wonderland. Or, if you like, Dickens and Dumas. Or maybe your tastes run toward Dracula and Frankenstein, though that season has just passed. Basically, to take a nod from the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and reveal what gold there is waiting to be mined in the past.

It’s true that a specific canon such as Holmes’ would lend the comp more focus. (Also gives us some Infocom cred! Also Melbourne House did a Sherlock game, and there were ICOM’s… and likely for this precise reason.)

I made the suggestion because I’m already wanting to write a Sherlock game haha. I’m not too familiar with Wizard of Oz (I’ve seen the film but that’s all), and adapting Alice would be hard.

My preferred canons would be some of those created by Asimov, but it will be another few decades before those become public domain. I’d love a Black Widowers game!

I’ve watched the Robert Downey Jr. movies and the Cumberbatch BBC series, but I’ve never read any real Holmes fiction. I worry that my contribution would be based on a superficial knowledge of the subject matter that has been filtered through references in Star Trek and various other sources. And I’m positive I couldn’t invent a mystery worthy of the name.

Now, if all of that’s fine, I’m in!

Sherlock Holmes And The Case Of The Verb-Guessing Instadeath Zombie Maze

So it seems like the Lamb Lies Down tribute album is a bust, then. To be honest I doubt I’d be able to pull it off, so this is kind of a relief.

How’s about that Prisoner Comp/Gravity Falls Comp? Sound interesting to anybody? Or does it fall into the same traps?

Also I can’t say I’m terribly interested in Sherlock Comp, simply because I probably couldn’t pull off a decent mystery if I had a whole year. I’d much rather do Alice Comp.

If I ever get around to implementing the design I’ve been sitting on for a decade, there’ll at least be reference to the Seven Strangers, L. Sprague de Camp’s take on the Trapdoor Spiders group inspiring both fictitious gatherings.

If a comp is based on any existing cultural thing it’s likely to run into the same problem unless that cultural thing is very widely known. Even if they are widely known - any the Apollo 18+20 comp got a lot of entries - it still won’t engage those who don’t know it. Which doesn’t mean they shouldn’t happen on occasion, just you gotta expect mixed reactions.

Mysteries are tough. If there was a mystery comp, whether Sherlock Holmes based or not, I don’t think there’d be any shame in borrowing a mystery from someone else. Ideas can’t be copyrighted so you could even borrow one that’s still in copyright. Just don’t reveal the inspiration until an afterword! It’s a plan I’ve considered myself…

Also, many of the original Sherlock Holmes stories aren’t really mysteries, in the “present a mystery that a clever reader will be able to solve before the end” sense. That struck me when reading the Memoirs collection.