I’m in the midst of brainstorming for some more meaty blogging ideas, so today’s post is a light one. Mostly I just want to point you guys towards this interactive fiction game by Anna Anthropy (courtesy of Cara Ellison’s poetic tribute to it; also, definitely play through the game a couple times before reading Ellison’s piece; she’s riffing on the feeling of playing the game in her lines, and it doesn’t quite make sense until you play it yourself).
As best I can tell, the premise is that you’re playing as a woman who’s facing the end of the world (however it’s happening; I suspect it’s either imminent meteor crash or maybe something more mundane like the two lovers preparing for execution; the details aren’t really important, I don’t think) with her lover, and you have only ten seconds left to do or say what you want to say to her.
Because it’s a text game, there’s a real tension in playing through as you want to read the descriptions of each scene, but that timer doesn’t stop, and the game ends once it hits zero regardless of where you are in the progression of a particular pathway. It’s not hard to reach the end of a decision path, and a couple of repetitions help you get through the full text of a path, but the essence of the game is about fleeting moments. That feeling of being rushed right at a moment you really want to savor is what’s being evoked here, and it does it beautifully.