Zoe Quinn's Antholojam: The Golden Age of Sci-Fi

Antholojam 1: The Golden Age of Sci Fi is live!

From November 19 to December 19, fifteen teams worked on games themed around “The Golden Age of Sci Fi”, in the spirit of a science fiction anthology. All the games are playable online for free, but people can also support the devs by purchasing the downloaded version (at name-your-own-price).

I worked on “Does Canned Rice Dream of a Napkin Heap?”, along with Caelyn Sandel (inurashii), Dani Church, and Jamie Sandel. Canned Rice is kind of a reverse interactive fiction comedy, with a narrative primarily generated by the player rather than the game.

The premise of Canned Rice: Two aliens, a robot, and a canine cosmonaut walk into a spaceport bar, and to convince them to pay for your drinks, you have to entertain them with a tall tale of galactic intrigue. Your audience will ask clarifying questions as you tell the story, and at the end, they’ll decide whether to pay your bill or sentence you to parsecs of spacedishes.

You also get a transcript of your story at the end. This is a totally unedited transcript from my last playthrough.

[spoiler]Moon Over Atlantis
A story about tears and rage

A very long time ago…
This story takes place in Atlantis, a place on Earth.
Temple of Poseidon, an inanimate object, arrived at Atlantis.
The moon, an inanimate object, arrived at Atlantis.
A priest, a human, arrived at Atlantis.
A priest said, “Let us worship at the temple of Poseidon!” (That was fine to say.)
A priest, a helper, worshipped for a while.
A secular entitity, a human, arrived at Atlantis.
A secular entitity said, “No, let us save all the money for ourselves, and waste none of it worshipping Poseidon!” (That was a mean thing for a secular entitity to say.)
Poseidon, an alien, arrived at Atlantis.
Poseidon said, “DUDE. I DEMAND WORSHIP.”
A priest said, “Can I worship Poseidon some more now?”
A secular entitity said, “No.” (That could have offended.) (And it did!)
Poseidon said, “You are so going to regret this.” (That was fine to say.)
The moon crashed into Atlantis. WHAM! (It wasn’t really a big thing.)
A secular entitity left Atlantis.
A priest left Atlantis.
Temple of Poseidon left Atlantis.
Poseidon said, “Aww, didn’t mean to squish that one.”"
Zeus arrived at Atlantis.
Zeus said, “Can you please put the moon back where you found it?”
Poseidon said, “FINE” (That was a mean thing for Poseidon to say.)
The moon left Atlantis.
Zeus left Atlantis.
Poseidon left Atlantis. (They just left.)
The moral of the story is Do not fail to worship all-powerful god alien beings, or they may hit you with a moon.[/spoiler]

The rest of the anthology includes…

  • Tonight Dies the Moon: From the author of HORSE MASTER: THE GAME OF HORSE MASTERY, comes a Twine game about life during war between the Earth and Moon in the year 2000. Fall in love, subsistence farm, make spreadsheets, and wear colorful jumpsuits!
  • Killing Time at Lightspeed: On a time-dilated voyage away from earth, one minute of your time can stretch for years back home. There’s only one thing to do: Browse social media, of course.
  • Steal My Artificial Heart: On an android moon colony, a brutal murder of a metal madam seeds mystery in a cobalt-collar bar. Piece it together in this beautifully-illustrated neo-noir whodunit.
  • Fire Theft: A government agent is sent to investigate a power spike in an industrial district, only to find a warehouse playing home to a group of runaway AIs working towards… Something.
  • Planet of a Poisoned Past: Discover the true purpose of your mission as a member of a research and mining team sent to extract Ultra-Steelium from an alien planet in the far-off year of 2003.
  • Valkyries of Vela: Keep your rayguns at the ready and join the Valkyries in this intergalactic card-based dungeon crawler.
  • The Absence of Is: In a future world where humanity has developed the technology to explore the fringes of consciousness, a group of researchers takes the first journey to record the afterlife.
  • Intergalactic Ambassador: Negotiate with alien lifeforms entering our solar system to determine their intent, build bridges, or torch them outright.
  • The Lost Chrononaut: Craft a unique story as you pursue your destiny in this card-based time-travel adventure.
  • A Call to Mars: A signal from another planet brings Earth’s nations together to send five representatives to alien soil. Met with a desert out of a dream, how will they reconcile with their environment and each other?
  • A Planet Wakes: Work your way towards a space elevator off a barren alien planet in this base-building terraforming sim.
  • Voice of Vamana: An lifeless alien ship, the first proof that we are not alone in the universe, enters our solar system on a collision course with the sun… And you are the first person to intercept it.
  • Orison of Mercury: As a deep-space miner, you are duty-bound to extract and deliver a payload with limited resources. Your computer’s interception of several anomalous transmissions may tempt you otherwise.
  • Space Journey!: A tabletop improv game where you and your friends star in a popular pulp sci-fi space exploration show… Where the director has lost the script. The show must go on!

Go take a look!

Hmmm. You can download all games for free… but it’s clearly designed to show you the hard work that went into them and to encourage you to donate.

Puts me in a tricky position. You know about my publicly-available IF collection, right? Commercial games go into my hard-drive but not into my public, Google Drive, free-for-all account.

Since you authored one of these games, I think I can ask you directly - would you prefer that I include the downloadable versions of these games in my Google Drive collection, for storage and for everyone to play, or would you prefer that I didn’t so that anyone interested will either play online or see all the encouragements towards supporting the devs and therefore increase the chances of actually supporting you?

(this may be moot; no one goes to my collection first, if they go at all. It’s there, and if necessary something that can’t be found elsewhere will be found there, hopefully. Still, I can’t just lump these games in together with the other completely free games without asking)

Thank you for checking in. Please don’t distribute downloadable copies of #Antholojam. itch.io is stable enough that we trust it to be an archive, and we would prefer that people come through the main site and consider supporting the devs.

Sure thing. :slight_smile: Should that change - and as an author I’m sure you’ll be kept informed - and you wish for another archive just let me know.

Will do!