Volcano IF

Play Vol­cano in your browser

This Win­ter quar­ter at UCSC, my final win­ter quar­ter :(,  I took Inter­ac­tive Sto­ry­telling with Michael Mateas (that genius dude behind Façade). It was a bril­liant class! Mateas had just come back from sab­bat­i­cal and was rather perky the whole quar­ter. We had a chance to break down the do-games-really-need-stories debate in a very aca­d­e­mic way, that is to say we deter­mined the two sides are both highly sub­jec­tive so there­fore the debate will never cease. Games are rather expres­sive but we can prob­a­bly agree they aren’t expres­sive enough. So instead of get­ting caught up in an end­less debate, let’s make new and inter­est­ing things and make games a bet­ter medium over­all!  (If only you could have been to some of Pro­fes­sor Mateas’ inspir­ing lectures).

Any­ways, I worked on an inter­ac­tive fic­tion with my friend Melanie for the class. You expe­ri­ence the birth, life and death of a vol­cano. That vol­cano is you in fact! You can influ­ence the cli­mac­tic end­ing for the vol­cano based on how you inter­act with the envi­ron­ment around your­self, by erupt­ing, quak­ing, steam­ing, or releas­ing gas.

I hope this game shows you the poten­tial for games to expres­sively con­vey an inter­ac­tive non-human nar­ra­tive to play­ers. It’s not every­day you get to be a vol­cano! Games can put you deep within a world to express ideas from rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives. That’s powerful!

Play Vol­cano in your browser

or

Down­load Volcano.zblorb

[To play with a desk­top IF inter­preter of your choice]

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