…who renounced worldly power in order to write a novel that might be even more populous than the Hung Lu Meng and to construct a labyrinth in which all men would become lost. Thirteen years he dedicated to these heterogenous tasks, but the hand of a stranger murdered him – and his novel was incoherent and no one found the labyrinth.
Borges, The Garden of Forking Paths
Their outlines were human, semi-human, fractionally human, and not human at all—the horde was grotesquely heterogeneous.
Lovecraft, Herbert West—Reanimator
I’m Sam Kabo Ashwell. Sometimes I make games. More often I write about them. I’m primarily interested in interactive fiction, narrative-oriented RPGs and desktop videogames, but other things may make their way in here as well. (In the last category, I am generally belated. Sometimes I play a videogame the same year that it’s published, but it’s a major accomplishment if I do.)
Good places to start:
Standard Patterns in Choice-Based Games, an incomplete survey of hypertext / Choose Your Own Adventure / choice-based / gamebook narrative structure. It’s a little outdated, but I think a good starting-point. For analysis of individual works, see CYOA Structures.
A Bestiary of Player Agency, a disorganised attempt to tease out the different kinds of thing that players mean when they say they want or like ‘agency’ or ‘choices’.
Much of the content on this blog (all of it dated before 2014) was originally published elsewhere, principally on LiveJournal.