From the Archives: REDO: An Interactive Fiction Game

A long, long time ago, I was on an adventure to secure myself a job as a narrative designer for games. I worked really hard at this, sacrificing relationships, sleep, and maybe a little sanity. This is a theme, of course, of being creative, of putting yourself out there, of being a writer. You do it over and over and over again, trying new ways or the same old ways, to achieve the dream. The dream is still out there. We’re getting there.

When it became clear that going the traditional route to a job in gaming wasn’t going to work (“We love your writing,” they’d say, “but we can’t hire someone with no experience”), the advice of someone close to me at the time in the industry was: make your own stuff. At the time, and for many more years, I worked a 60+ hour a week job with the federal government. It was barely feasible, it felt, for me to get some words written in whatever book I was working on at the time. But to make my own game? Wild.

I tried, though. I tried a lot. I played with the Valve Source Engine and Bethesda’s GECK. I built a whole Mass Effect DLC with Inform that certainly didn’t get me hired by BioWare. I tried to figure out how to build the kind of game I wanted to play with the tools and resources I had. I ran out of time or steam. The ideas I had were too big for my skills. And honestly, I was a little heartbroken.

It’s okay when things don’t work. It’s okay when you have to go back to that proverbial drawing board and try again and again. It’s okay to believe that things will work out, that if you keep working hard and having faith, things will happen. They will, eventually. In the meantime, make stuff you like.

So a thing I made, all those years ago, is a short interactive fiction game called REDO. I built it using Twine in a few days. I sent it to that very friend who recommended I make my own stuff, and he liked it and gave me some pointers. It’s a very simple concept, a little science fiction-y. It was written by the writer I was a decade ago. I’d love it if you gave it a click through– if you get lost, just click on a highlighted word. There’s no wrong way to play. It was intended to be for a portfolio, and I’m sure it’s been used in a few job applications, but it’s mostly been sitting around, waiting for me to discover it again. So here we are, discovering it again. I hope you enjoy.


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