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Announcing Sub-Q Jam, a Game Jam and Limited Submission Window from sub-Q Magazine!
This month’s game on our website, Anna Anthropy’s “Queers in Love at the End of the World,” gives you only 10 seconds per playthrough to make your choices and see what happens.
That unusual design choice is part of what gives the game such a forceful, compelling impact—a sense of urgency and hopelessness and hopefulness all tumbled into one. Several of the other games we have posted over the years have used hard limits to tell stories in a very small space.
JY Yang’s “Before the Storm Hits,” for instance, limits the amount of choices you can take before you have to leave Earth behind you forever. Chandler Groover’s “What Fuwa Bansaku Found” constrains the player in other ways, limiting the directions they can move in to a simple advance or retreat through the rooms of a single shrine. Caroline M. Yoachim’s “Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station | Hours Since Last Patient Death: 0” limits the player to the letters of the alphabet—more or less.
Although the limits placed on these games might make storytelling more challenging, they’re all great examples of how constraints can drive innovation, generate new forms of creativity—and in the case of interactive fiction in particular—create some pretty neat gameplay in terms of choice-making and the structure of the finished work.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a little something new for all of you Interactive Fiction aficionados! I’m very pleased to announce the first subQjam.
subQjam is part game jam, part special issue of sub-Q Magazine.
From November 15 to December 15, we’ll be hosting a game jam open to very short pieces of interactive fiction or sequential art on the theme of love. We’ll also be accepting submissions for interactive fiction proposals through our Submittable portal for authors new to the idea of interactive fiction.
The catch? All those submissions must be limited to 1000 words of prose, or 9 panels, put before the player.
Altogether, we’ll choose four pieces from four different author/artist/developers to run in our February 2019 issue at our standard rates, alongside two solicited pieces from special guest authors who will be announced on the day the jam starts!
How to Enter
Option 1: game jam
If you’re already comfortable creating Interactive Fiction, head on over to itch.io and sign up for subQjam.
You can create your submission with Twine, TADS, Inform, ChoiceScript, StoryLab, Quest, Unity, custom HTML5, or any other method, so long as it runs in modern browsers.
Enter your piece between November 15 and December 15 of 2018, and then vote on entries before December 30th. Out of all the entries, we’ll publish two: one of these will be chosen by the submitters and the other will be an “editors’ choice” selection, chosen by the editors and first readers of sub-Q Magazine.
Option 2: submit a proposal
If you’re intrigued by the idea of writing interactive fiction but don’t feel like you quite have the skill set for it, or you’re intimidated by the thought of trying, we would love to see a proposal from you instead. Unlike the game jam, authors or artists submitting a proposal don’t need to have a completed piece of sequential art or interactive fiction for us to review. Instead, you’ll just need your completed prose or completed art, along with a proposal for interactivity that tells us how the piece would be made interactive.
For example, if your idea is a dungeon crawl through the inside of a demonic love hotel, you could send us your 1000 words of room descriptions, action descriptions, narration, and other prose, along with a summary of how those pieces would be put together to form a playable piece of interactive fiction. If you want to build a procedurally generated love poem locked room mystery puzzle, send us your vocabulary and your words, along with how those would be combined into an interactive narrative.
The sub-Q editorial team will work with the authors/artists of two selected submissions to turn the proposal into a finished work.
The portal for interactive fiction proposals will appear on our submissions page on November 15th, and will vanish again at the end of the day on December 15th. We aim to respond to all submissions by the end of December. So get those pens and keyboards ready!
Rules and Conditions
Regardless of whether you take part in the game jam or submit through our Submittable portal for proposals, the following rules and conditions apply:
- 1000 words of prose presented before the reader or 9 panels of sequential art. This means that there can be any amount of interactivity happening behind the scenes but the piece should only present 1000 words or 9 panels of sequential art maximum before the reader.
- Although entries should clearly meet the theme, all interpretations of “love,” whether they be platonic, romantic, filial, friendly, anthropomorphized versions involving esoteric relationships with abstract concepts, bromantic, etcetera. Non-heteronormative and aro/ace interpretations of our theme are especially welcome!
- To be eligible for publication, your piece must not contain torture; gore; revenge fantasy; ableism, racism, sexism, or any other kind of discriminatory content; excessive sex, violence, or profanity; child abuse; animal abuse; sexual assault; fan fiction; or erotica.
- All submissions must be previously unpublished original works.
- Final publication of the winning jam entries and/or proposal submissions is solely at the discretion of sub-Q Magazine. We reserve the right to ask for edits, tweaks, and other changes, and to disqualify winning jam entries and/or proposal submissions that we deem have not followed our rules and conditions.
We can’t wait to see what you all come up with!