Foxy News! Fox Spirit: A Two-Tailed Adventure has arrived!

Hiya, friends! Today has been a whirlwind of joy. I have exciting news to share, possibly the most exciting writing-related news I’ve ever had.

Today, my interactive fantasy novel Fox Spirit: A Two-Tailed Adventure released from Choice of Games.

I’ve been working on this game since 2018. It’s been a wild ride, but a fun one, and the process has taught me so much as a writer and a human. I’m thrilled that Fox Spirit is out in the world at last. The glowing feedback I’ve already received from kind players around the world has warmed my heart and spurred me on to an even greater desire to create fantastic stories and share them with you.

This day happened thanks to a lot of great people, so I want to give them a shout-out here. A special thank-you is due to my lead editor Rebecca Slitt, for her encouragement, suggestions, and support throughout the development process, as well as the rest of the fabulous Choice of Games team. Paola Tuazon made the truly dazzling cover art, which I adore from the bottom of my heart; you can find more of Paola’s work here: https://paolatuazon.format.com/

Thank you to the creators of the gorgeous trailer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XdBLnlslP4) and the lovely chapter headings. Thank you to copyeditor Kate Lascoutx, my many beta testers, and the wonderful sensitivity reader Sachiko Burton from Salt & Sage Books. Thank you to all the players who’ve reached out to share their excitement and praise, especially Valentina Wottke from Germany who streamed the game live for four and a half hours today (and will be streaming the last chapters tomorrow starting between 9 and 10 am PST; follow Valentina’s channel here to join us then: https://www.twitch.tv/lucario162). And thank you, of course, to my family, especially my mother Beverly and my aunt Becky. Your love for my work (and me!) has kept me grounded and on track and inspired me to keep writing.

You can purchase and review Fox Spirit through the various platforms shown here: https://www.choiceofgames.com/fox-spirit/ It’s 33% off until October 22, and you can play the first three chapters (and part of the fourth) for free. You can also check out my author interview on the Choice of Games blog earlier this week: https://www.choiceofgames.com/2020/10/author-interview-amy-clare-fontaine-fox-spirit-a-two-tailed-adventure/

Thank you all so much for your support! It has truly meant the world to me.

Animal Sighting Simulator: A New, Free Twine Game!

Ahoy, friends! Tonight I submitted to my first ever game jam, an itch.io jam hosted by NarraScope 2020. My submission is a short text-based game titled Animal Sighting Simulator.

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As a disillusioned urbanite in a world where most animals are extinct,  your only consolation is a gaming system that simulates nature.  But thanks to your artistic vision, that’s about to change. Pick your creatures and your creative medium and make your dreams come true.

You can play Animal Sighting Simulator for free on itch.io here: https://fontainepen.itch.io/animal-sighting-simulator

I hope you will enjoy it!

My Twine Game Break Stuff is Now on itch.io!

Hi, friends! Last year, I entered the Interactive Fiction Competition with a Twine game titled Break Stuff. My game took 29th place, which earned me a cash prize, part of which I donated to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and RAINN, as well as a Steam key for a lovely game called Heaven’s Vault.

It was recently brought to my attention that Break Stuff is no longer playable on the IFComp website, so I have uploaded it to itch.io: https://fontainepen.itch.io/break-stuff

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In Break Stuff, you make decisions for a troubled young woman who just broke up with her boyfriend. When your old friend from high school comes over, she invites you to vent your negative feelings by breaking stuff. Who could resist?

Break Stuff is an exploration of depression, lost love, feminism, growing up, and the brokenness that makes us human. Please read the CONTENT WARNINGS on itch.io before deciding whether to play it.

I am grateful to all the people who reached out to tell me this game made a positive difference to them. You’re the reason I create things, even when it’s hard. Thank you.

New game! Red Dog and the Endless Spaceship

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Howdy, folks! I’ve released a new free game (with graphics and sound) on itch.io called Red Dog and the Endless Spaceship. Give it a whirl over here: https://fontainepen.itch.io/red-dog-and-the-endless-spaceship

I made this silly little game with Adam Le Doux’s Bitsy Game Maker. Bitsy is a very accessible game editor; even if you have no programming experience whatsoever, you can quickly and easily use it to make a simple game. Try it out! https://ledoux.itch.io/bitsy

Break Stuff, a new Twine game for IFComp!

Today is the start of the judging period for the Interactive Fiction Competition! See IFComp’s announcement here: https://blog.ifcomp.org/post/188069134484/the-25th-annual-ifcomp-is-here There are eighty-two entries this year! My entry is a Twine game called Break Stuff.

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Break Stuff cover art

In Break Stuff, you make decisions for a troubled young woman who just broke up with her boyfriend. When your old friend from high school comes over, she invites you to vent your negative feelings by breaking stuff. Who could resist?

Break Stuff is a brief foray into depression, lost love, feminism, growing up, and the brokenness that makes us human. Please see the content warnings listed with the entry on the site before you decide whether to play it or not. Break Stuff can be found among the rest of this year’s games on the ballot here: https://ifcomp.org/ballot I hope you will enjoy it!

Change Your Choices, Change the World: the Interactive Fiction Competition

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You’ve reached a crossroads in your life. A fork in the road. A tipping point. What you do today, this hour, this minute, will change you…and the world.

I think we all can remember an epic moment like this, a big decision we made that altered our course and transformed us into someone new. But what most of us fail to realize on a regular basis is that even the seemingly small choices we make add up to something huge over time.

This is why I love interactive fiction. In interactive fiction, we, the readers/players, are main characters, and the choices we make, even ostensibly small ones, tend to have consequences down the road: for our environment, for our societies, for our relationships, for our personal success and happiness. We get to explore how the priorities we set and the means by which we pursue them affect us–and the world.

Does this sound familiar? I hope so. “An unexamined life is not worth living,” Socrates said. I appreciate how interactive fiction challenges its writers and readers to think critically and live intentionally as we work to solve the puzzles of our lives.

The Interactive Fiction Competition, an annual event to celebrate and promote interactive fiction, is allowing IF authors from around the world who registered (for free) to submit their entries for the 2019 competition until 11:59 pm Eastern Time tonight. If you’re curious about the world of interactive fiction games, please consider becoming a judge! Anyone, no matter their level of past experience with IF, can create an account to play and rate games during the competition. Judging goes from October 1 to November 15. If you’re interested in judging IFComp entries, please read the rules (https://ifcomp.org/rules#judges), guidelines (https://ifcomp.org/about/judging), and FAQ (https://ifcomp.org/about/faq#judginggames) for judges and make an account on the website here: https://ifcomp.org/user/register. I hope you, like me, will fall in love with these fun and thought-provoking games. And I hope you will consider how whatever you choose to do after you finish reading this blog post will impact the rest of your life.

Become a Werewolf! Build Robots! Travel the Universe! All at a Discount!

Choice of Games, the Nebula-nominated publisher of interactive fiction, is offering up to 40% discounts this week on all their games! If you’re curious about choice-based games, now is a great time to check them out!

I discovered Choice of Games last year. Since then, I’ve played more than fifteen of their titles and look forward to playing many more. Choice of Games’s interactive novels present the player with fun, interesting, and meaningful choices that shape the plot, the player character, and that character’s relationships. Each game packs a wide variety of possibilities into a single story, allowing the player to play through that same story in different ways to explore multiple pathways, strategies, and goals. With science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, and more in their stable of nearly 100 games, Choice of Games has an interactive novel for everyone!

Learn more about the discount in this Choice of Games blog post: https://www.choiceofgames.com/2019/06/sitewide-sale/ Happy choosing!

*Note: I am currently writing an interactive novel for Choice of Games, but I am not an employee of Choice of Games, nor was I involved in the creation of any of the games for sale this week. I am simply a player and a fan.

Free Twine Games!

I’ve started posting free Twine games on itch.io! Twine is an open-source tool for making interactive stories. I’ve been using Twine to write short text-based HTML games, in which the reader’s choices determine the outcome of the story. My goal is to write and publish one Twine game per month in 2019. Here are the games I’ve made so far!

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This Game is a Dog: A delightfully weird game about the adventures of your text-based dog. Play for FREE here: https://fontainepen.itch.io/this-game-is-a-dog

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Through Time and Space: You can travel anywhere in time and space…but at what cost? Play for FREE here: https://fontainepen.itch.io/through-time-and-space

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Cassandra the Wolf Princess: By day, you work at a soul-sucking corporate job. By night, you dream of running with the wolves. What happens when your two worlds collide? Play for FREE here: https://fontainepen.itch.io/cassandra-the-wolf-princess

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The Secret: Should you confess about your crush on your friend? Play for FREE here: https://fontainepen.itch.io/the-secret

These games are all short and free to play. If you can play one and leave a comment or rating, I will greatly appreciate your feedback! Please note that my games currently only work in computer browsers, not on tablets or smartphones.

Be sure to follow me on itch.io at https://fontainepen.itch.io/ and keep an eye out for my next monthly Twine games! Thank you so much for your support!

Choice of Games: Adventures in Interactive Fiction

It’s a game! It’s a novel! It’s…an interactive novel!

I am currently writing an interactive novel about fox spirits, magical creatures of East Asian mythology, for a company called Choice of Games, a developer of text-based games. To celebrate, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite Choice of Games titles and some resources for writing interactive fiction in the ChoiceScript programming language.

What is interactive fiction? Interactive fiction allows the reader, or player, to interact with its narrative, influencing the course of the story. Interactive fiction tends to involve role-playing, with the reader/player taking the role of a main character in the story and making decisions that affect the characters and the outcome. In this way, interactive fiction is sort of a cross between a game and a book.

If you’re interested in exploring interactive fiction, here are ten of my favorite Choice of Games interactive novels, in no particular order! All of these games/novels have first chapters that are free to play online, which gives you a taste for their stories so you can decide whether to purchase the rest. Some games I list below are even completely free to play all the way through online! I hope you will enjoy these games. I know I did.

Please note that I am an independent contractor and not an employee of Choice of Games, and I had no part in creating the games listed below. I am just a player and a fan.

1. Werewolves: Haven Rising.

In Werewolves: Haven Rising, the player assumes the role of a young werewolf in a military internment camp in what was formerly New Haven, Connecticut. The culture and history of the werewolf community is fascinating, and the game raises compelling questions about the hard choices oppressed communities must make in the face of injustice and violence. The characters are well-rounded and interesting. Also, did I mention that werewolves are really cool? I can’t wait for the next installment of this series!

2. Creatures Such as We.

Part tour guide simulator, part science fiction about the hardships of life on the moon, part philosophical exploration of the nature of art and our place in the universe, part game-within-a-game involving zombies and ghosts, and part romance (if you so desire), Creatures Such as We is hard to classify. It’s a beautiful and thought-provoking game, and it’s free to play through the whole story online. Check it out!

3. Choice of Robots.

Choice of Robots allows the player to design their own robots, controlling everything from their robots’ appearance and functions to their social intelligence. The player chooses whether to teach their robots the true meaning of love, mold them into ruthless weapons, encourage them to think for themselves, or use them to put an end to war. This game provides a ton of options for shaping the player character and their relationships as well. There are many possible branches in the second-to-last chapter of the story, which gives the game great replay value. Plus, I learned from this game that you can electrify a pickle. Good stuff!

4. Choice of Magics.

A more recent game by the author of Choice of Robots, Choice of Magics is a secondary-world fantasy that allows the player to bring the buried secrets of magic back to their player character’s nation and become a magician. The player character can use magic to reshape the world around them, creating anything from a steampunk world of airships and laser cannons to a world of magically engineered beasts such as dragons. The five different “schools” of magic in this game (which were each inspired by current real-world technology) are fascinating; each has its own rewards but also its own risks and dangers. Each branch of magic comes with its own harmful long-term consequences down the road, so the player must carefully weigh the costs and benefits of each spell they perform. Plus you get to turn people into tortoises. And play cowbell. And animate a stuffed monkey. It’s great.

5. T-Rex Time Machine.

In T-Rex Time Machine, the player goes back in time to the age of the dinosaurs. They can become a renowned filmmaker, a respected paleontologist, a brilliant physicist who unlocks the deeper mysteries of time travel, or a rugged big-game hunter. Exploring the world of dinosaurs in this game is really fun!

6. Congresswolf.

Congresswolf was the first game I bought from Choice of Games. A hybrid murder mystery, political campaign simulator, and urban fantasy about werewolves, it’s a unique and engaging game!

7. Choice of the Dragon.

In Choice of the Dragon, you play as a dragon who takes over the kingdom. Your choices shape your dragon’s brutality, finesse, cunning, honor, disdain, vigilance, infamy, and wealth. It’s an enjoyable, amusing little game, and it’s free to play all the way through online! Dragon-lovers, check it out!

8. Avatar of the Wolf.

Another secondary-world fantasy, Avatar of the Wolf lets the player assume the role of the human avatar of a vicious, powerful wolf god. It’s got interesting world-building, with a variety of cultures/peoples in the game-world and a diverse pantheon of animal gods. It also raises interesting questions about morality, religion, and free will. A lovely and compelling game.

9. Psy High.

In Psy High, the player takes the role of a high school student with psychic powers. The player can become an athlete, a nerd, a popular kid, a theater geek, or a rebellious delinquent, all while unraveling their principal’s sinister plot and finding a date for prom. It’s a neat and entertaining game!

10. Welcome to Moreytown.

Welcome to Moreytown is a gritty urban science fiction game in which you play as a genetically engineered anthropomorphic animal called a “moreau” in a world where moreaus are treated as second-class citizens. You can play as any of more than ten moreau species, from a wolf, tiger, or bear to a capybara, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. You can choose to strive for peace and harmony in your society or become the leader of a violent gang or a drug-peddling cult. It’s a nifty furry game that I really liked playing.

Thank you for reading this post! I hope it encourages you to check out Choice of Games and the variety of titles they have to offer. If you are interested in creating interactive fiction of your own using the ChoiceScript programming language created by Choice of Games, I encourage you to check out the resources below!

Resources for Creating ChoiceScript Games/Interactive Fiction:

https://www.choiceofgames.com/make-your-own-games/choicescript-intro/

http://choicescriptdev.wikia.com/wiki/ChoiceScript_Wiki

https://forum.choiceofgames.com/