won’t say who said this (they, alone, will know the bitter salty tears I wept) but a friend told me that he’d played my interactive fiction StoreyMinus a few times and went “Meh”.
That’s a tough nut to swallow, if you are into swallowing nuts. I mean, how many hundred hours have a spent coding this monster?
For those who don’t know about it (which, outside of my friend, is pretty much everone on Earth), StoreyMinus is my interactive fiction written with the Squiffy game driver. It involves a fictional character in some sort of situation in the tunnels and caverns below London. And before you discount this – think again. As Wells’ Artilleryman said, “Hundreds of miles of drains…”. And cellars. And underground railways (in use and abandoned). Buried rivers. Sewers. And old mail train network. WW2 bunkers. Cold war bunkers. Cable lines. Ancient mines. Sunken streets. Cities of homeless. Morlocks. The list goes on.
And I’m not the only one to think this. Modern literary greats such as Neil Gaimon and China Mieville have written about worlds under London. They range from the nasty to the fantastic. People get lost in such underground worlds. I read of a London commuter who accidently got off his train in an abandoned station and had to wave at trains for three days to get rescued. And then there was that girl in Odessa. Let’s not touch on that. Ugh.
It was the game I always wanted to write so I wrote it. I’ve been developing it for over a year now, constantly adding to it. I just made combat more deadly (and fast) and I’m adding new places (including cellars and the houses above them). I know I want to do railroad bridges over the Thames. And then there are the underground cities that need to be done.
But, evidently, it sucks. Hardly getting any plays at all.
And that’s how it goes. I have books that hardly got any reads at all.
But writing those books brought me pleasure, and every now and then people do contact me about my writing and give me good feedback (i.e. positive reinforcement). I can look at my books and feel a spark of pride for what I’ve done. I’ve written the Great American Novel. You just might not have read it.
And my game, same thing. It’s not so much a simulation as it is a living novel, one that twists and turns and usually ends in your death. But that’s what makes it fun. So I’ll focus on what the game means to me and keep pressing forward. And hopefully, along the way, I’ll find people who like it.