Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Renegade Brainwave

"Beware! Beware! Take care! For you are about take part in an interactive story that will reveal the terrifying truth behind the mysterious Soviet space programme! Revelations of incredible horrors that will terrify you with their brutal reality!

For this is the story of a mysterious force — a force that has crossed the billion mile vastness of infinite space! Boneless, fleshless, almost invisible and yet imbued with incredible power — I speak to you of cosmic radiation!

The deadly solar radiation that has the power to raise the dead! The power to amplify brainwaves to many times their natural strength — so that even a weak little puppy could wipe out a city of concrete and steel — with the power of her mind!

In a future that grows ever closer, the fate of the Earth lies in the hands of one man. That man is Detective Frank Douglas — that man, my friend, is YOU!

God help us... in the future!"

Renegade Brainwave is an interactive fiction inspired by Hollywood B-Movies, based on my 2010 ECTOCOMP 2nd place winner. The new version features more locations, more puzzles, and an atmospheric soundtrack featuring music by Monstrous Movie Music (download only).

"Really fun writing, a spot-on, over-the-top, sci-fi B-movie spoof." - Duncan Bowsman, ECTOCOMP judge.

"Hilarious, well-written and full of clever puzzles to boot." - Mel Stefaniuk, ECTOCOMP judge.

Play or download Renegade Brainwave!


Monday, 1 October 2018

Alias 'The Magpie'

"It always pays to keep one's ears free of wax, as one never knows when one is going to overhear some titbit of information that later proves invaluable. Such was the case at the Dionysus Club, yesterday afternoon, when you happened to overhear the noted psychiatrist, Doctor Cornelius Drake, he of the ginger moustache, talking over the phone to his secretary.

'Cancel all my appointments for tomorrow, Miss Henshaw,' said the shrink, 'I've been summoned down to Hamcestershire by the Earl of Hamcester. Never met the fellow, but he'd heard of me by reputation. Wants me to give his brother-in-law the once-over. Apparently, the poor chap thinks he's exploring the Congo. Sounds like a clear case of incorrigible delusion to me.'

This telephone communication piqued your interest, and the reason it piqued your interest was that you happened to know that the Lord Hamcester to whom it referred was a collector of sorts, and that amongst his collection was an extremely valuable Egyptian jewelled scarab. In fact he had outbid you at auction for the very piece. It is a sad fact that amateur collectors are rarely aware of the true value of the pieces they possess, and it is not uncommon to find them displayed among a plethora of inferior items. Who knows what other gems might be squirrelled away amongst the bric-a-brac at Bunkham Hall?

It was the work of a moment to call Miss Henshaw, posing as the Earl, and cancel the appointment. And it was an equally simple matter, the following morning, to don a suitable disguise and take the 10.15 to St Bartholomew-on-the-Bog, Hamcestershire, in Doctor Drake's place. All in a day's work for Sir Rodney Playfair, alias the notorious gentleman thief known as 'The Magpie'!"

Alias ‘The Magpie’, written in Inform 7, took 1st Place overall, and 1st Place, Miss Congeniality, in the 24th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2018).

"It’s all about the text, which absolutely sparkles. Beautifully, professionally done – superbly implemented. Funny, clever and delicious." - McT's Interactive Fiction Reviews

"Alias ‘The Magpie’ plays like one of the best games from the Infocom era, but with a rich setting, motivated puzzles, and memorable characters." - IF Comprehensive

"Alias 'The Magpie' drew me in quickly, with its very English tone and sense of humor. I found it cleverly-written, well-implemented, and a lot of fun to play." - Mike Spivey, IFDB

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

To Hell in a Hamper


Professor Pettibone, eminent Victorian balloonist, has a problem. He can't get it up. His balloon that is. If he can't reach an altitude of 20,000 feet, and soon, both he and his mysterious travelling companion Hubert Booby will be burned to a cinder by an erupting volcano! But what is Mr. Booby concealing under his overcoat? Do all Ecuadorian peasants have BSc's? And what, in the name of all that's holy, is THE CURSE OF THE BLUE IBIS?

Finalist, Best Game, Xyzzy Awards 2003
Finalist, Best Writing, Xyzzy Awards 2003
Finalist, Best Story, Xyzzy Awards 2003
Finalist, Best Setting, Xyzzy Awards 2003
Finalist, Best Use of Medium, Xyzzy Awards 2003
1st place, ADRIFT Spring Comp 2003
1st place, ADRIFT End of Year Comp 2003

"Overall, this game fits into a growing category of works that combine light puzzles with strong pacing and good comic writing. I'd also put [2003]'s Best Puzzles winner Gourmet (Aaron Reed, 2003) into that group, along with the first chapters of Fine Tuned (Dennis Jerz, 2001) and several of J. Robinson Wheeler's games. As it happens, I really enjoy such pieces. They don't always get the recognition that other games do, perhaps because they're not perceived as groundbreaking experimental work or as hard-core puzzle-fests. But humor and pacing are a real challenge to get right in IF, and a good IF comedy has a special charm of its own." - Emily Short, IF-Review

Play 'To Hell in a Hamper' online!

Monday, 8 May 2017

Escape from the Crazy Place


You've been locked in a padded cell for no obvious reason with only a deranged hamburger-eating clown for company. The cell doesn't even have a door. So begins an adventure that will take you to many places including custard-filled caverns, the world's worst Indian restaurant, the planet Venus, and the inside of a cereal packet. You'll meet such strange characters as the peculiar Plugalug, the mysterious Cow of Honour, Rampateuay of the Hills (a prophet who predicts things he's about to do) and the sinister Boss.

Can YOU make it alive through the forest of the Ostrich People? Fathom the mysteries of the marmalade satnav? Survive the mutiny on the 'Milky Way'? Discover why you have ham on the brain, ham on the brain, ham on the ham on the ham on the brain? Can YOU escape from the Crazy Place?

A 90,000 word choice-based game, Escape from the Crazy Place has been in production on and off since it began in manuscript form back in 1984. An interactive round-robin story, it combines the talents of around 20 different authors. Some wrote just a page or two, others wrote dozens.

The current TWINE version includes around 450 new passages by J. J. Guest, Loz Etheridge and Mark Bailey. The game will continue to grow as we add more.

"Like the twisted literary lovechild of Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo and Homsar, Escape From the Crazy Place is quite possibly one of the funniest things I've ever touched!" Ryusui - rec.arts.int.fiction.

"I've been playing your online Escape from the Crazy Place for the last half hour and I have to say it's... well, the best damn thing I've ever seen ever." Sprite - The Adrift Forum.

Play the TWINE version online

Yak Shaving for Kicks and Giggles!

You are Steve Goodwin. You're a regular guy, young, successful, dynamic. Recently promoted to the post of junior marketing executive at the Funhouse Novelty Company, you're the one who comes up with all those zany items you can buy for a Dollar in the pages of Cosmic Comics.

But something is missing in your life. A nagging question gnaws at your soul, undermines your joy at your new-found success and interferes with the very business of living. But this is not a answer you can find in the pages of any book; for what you yearn to know is the very meaning of life itself!

But then you learned about a man, a guru of great wisdom, endowed with the miraculous supreme realisation who could teach you the secrets of the universe. A six hundred year old hermit living at the top of a mountain in a kingdom most right-thinking people assume to be a myth. A man known as the Dada Lama!

And this is why we find you now, after many months of journeying, of fruitless searching, beaten and battered by the uncaring elements, in this mysterious valley hidden deep within the mountains...

...the mystical valley of Shangri-La!

Yak Shaving for Kicks and Giggles! is humorous quest for spiritual enlightenment involving a yak, a hair dryer and the abominable snowman.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Goldilocks is a FOX!

Staggering back from yet another wild student party, blonde bombshell Goldilocks decides to take a shortcut through the enchanted forest. All she really wants is a nice hot bowl of porridge and somewhere to sleep off her hangover - but something tells her that quaint little cottage isn't as innocent as it seems...

Goldilocks is a FOX! is a zany romp through the world of fairy tales. Along the way you'll meet a host of familiar characters, albeit not quite how you remember them!

"Unlike so many comedy games, Goldilocks Is A Fox doesn't just go for the quick humour and forget about the gaming side of things. Take away the comedy and the general silliness and there is a very well constructed game here. There are some quite intricate puzzles (the one with the large chair being a particular favourite of mine) and while not every puzzle is logical or straightforward, for the most part they don't require too much thought on the part of the player to solve. That said, this isn't a game that you're likely to solve in the space of a single sitting, which is probably just as well as there are a fair number of good ideas here that would be ruined if you played the game through too fast." - David Whyld, S.P.A.G.