Category: Blog

Aisle: Twenty Years Later

April 9th, 2019 by

Aisle by Sam Barlow is one of the foundations of post-Infocom interactive fiction. This isn’t just from the impact on other one-move games, such as Pick Up the Phone Booth and Aisle (played for laughs), or Rematch (played for puzzles), or even more recent games like Midnight. Swordfight. that take the one-move conceit and expand […]

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Failing Forward

April 1st, 2019 by

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is out at last and so I’m thinking again about the perennial theme of FromSoftware’s loosely-connected Souls series: Failure. Failure is part of life, and it’s an ingrained feature of storytelling. Writing-101-type story structures often incorporate some aspect of failure: heroes make mistakes or are set back by their inability to […]

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Author Interview: Elizabeth Smyth

April 1st, 2019 by

Elizabeth Smyth is a writer, game developer and villain enthusiast, currently working for Fusebox Games in London. She has been making weird and/or dark IF since 2013. Read some more of it at elizabethsmyth.com or find her tweeting about slime at untiltheygo. Elizabeth is the author of our April story, “The Invader.” This interview was […]

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April 2019 table of contents

April 1st, 2019 by

Encounters between the everyday and the unknown are a big part of what makes speculative fiction (and, I would argue, art in general) so effective at pulling us out of ourselves and into the mind of someone else. It’s this tension that gives Poe his eerie cerebral terror and LeGuin’s worlds their endless beauty—and their […]

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Hounds & Heroes: Control, Closure, and Exploration in Games

April 1st, 2019 by

Games fetishize heroes. Traditionally, games devote their attention to the Hero and the details of their epic quest. We players, bloodhounds slavering for plot, fixate on this Hero. We tear into them, inhabit them, and through their agency, we exert change on an authored world. Killing is often involved. (The bloodhound metaphor still holds.) * […]

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A Note on sub-Q’s Eligibility for the 2019 Hugo Awards

March 6th, 2019 by

The nomination period for the 2019 Hugo awards is well underway, and those of us at sub-Q thought it might be helpful if we made a little post about our eligibility as a magazine. So: 1. sub-Q Magazine is eligible for the Best Semiprozine award. (We have a high enough circulation and we pay contributors.) […]

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What the Heck is Interactive Fiction? A Guide for Authors.

February 12th, 2019 by

One question we commonly get when we invite people to write things for sub-Q is some variation on: What the heck is Interactive Fiction? And—let’s be real—it’s a pretty good question. Searching Google for “what is interactive fiction” brings up lots of results; people have written whole books on the question. (If you want a […]

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Bruno Dias

Room Descriptions, Place, and Interiority

February 6th, 2019 by

One of the things I always found enjoyable about writing parser fiction was writing room descriptions. It’s a very specific craft, and one that’s pretty unique to interactive fiction and game writing. In most fiction, it’s relatively rare that you can indulge in this kind of descriptive detail at length; parser games, on the other […]

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February 2019 Table of Contents

February 1st, 2019 by

This month’s issue is all about LOVE. First up, though: heads up. We’re doing something differently with early access for our Patreon supporters and on-site subscribers. We’re committed to paying our authors for their work, and we’re hoping this helps us do that more sustainably. If you’re not currently a subscriber and can’t afford to […]

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Rat Chaos and the Preservation of Early Twine Games

February 1st, 2019 by

Welcome to 2019! I’m thrilled to have a regular column in sub-Q and get the chance to write about interactive fiction. For my previous essays at the site, I’ve largely written about games from a slightly earlier period of the development of interactive fiction, from the late 90s to the mid-2000s, a period in which […]

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Author Interview: Laura De Stefani

February 1st, 2019 by

Laura De Stefani is an All round artist who loves drawing on any support, sculpting and modelling. She likes to travel and go to game-jams. You can follow here here: https://twitter.com/Odris_Den, https://www.instagram.com/odris_den/, https://odris-den.itch.io/. Laura is the author of our cover art/game for February’s issue, “Fill the Void.” This interview was conducted via e-mail in January […]

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Olivia C Dunlap

Author Interview: Olivia C Dunlap

February 1st, 2019 by

Olivia C Dunlap is the author of “Pretend You Love Each Other,” the first-place game from our first subQjam. Olivia is a writer, programmer, and game developer from Little Rock, Arkansas. She’s a co-founder of Little Rock Games and has a portfolio that includes interactive fiction, tabletop games, and other digital interactives. She’s always got […]

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Author Interview: Tai Jia Xuan

February 1st, 2019 by

Tai Jia Xuan is currently a Creative Writing student in Singapore, and the author of “at 3am, I didn’t think of you,” one of our February games. She just really likes interactive fiction, and hopes to continue exploring more. You can find her idling at @nuaxaij. This interview was conducted via e-mail in January of […]

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Rituals, Cheating, and The Dream of Possibility

February 1st, 2019 by

The first time I took up a pencil and underlined a sentence in a novel, my hands shook. The line winked at me cheekily, sat smug and brazen under the typography. Outrageous and provocative, it wanted its own label: Marks in a Novel Biswas (2012) Graphite on Paper It chuckled. One did not write in […]

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Grim Curio

Author Interview: Grim Curio

February 1st, 2019 by

Grim Curio is a writer, developer, and classicist from upstate New York, and the author of “Unmaking, Unmade,” one of our February games. She is passionate about archaeology and the uncanny, and can be found on Twitter at @grimoirtua. This interview was conducted via e-mail in January of 2019. sub-Q Magazine: Our theme for 2018 […]

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Olivia Wood

Author Interview: Olivia Wood

February 1st, 2019 by

Olivia Wood works as a writer, editor and narrative designer, both freelance and for Failbetter Games (Fallen London, Sunless Sea, Sunless Skies). She has written for the award-winning narrative game Where the Water Tastes Like Wine, and is working on the next game of the BAFTA-nominated studio, the Pixel Hunt. This interview was conducted via […]

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