Interactive Fiction Game: Rider In the Mist: What the Hell is It?

Rider in the Mist is my foray into computer games, as both a writer and fan of good, old-fashioned sword and sorcery.


Sword and sorcery, though similar in theme, is also different to the other zillion fantasy sub-genres in that:

  • It is pulpier than, for example, epic fantasy (LOTR, GOT etc.) That is, it is shorter, more visceral and aimed at being entertaining (unputdownable and cliffhangery – I know, I know – sorry!)
  • There are fewer main characters.
  • There’s usually a wizard and an hero/anti-hero wielding something pointy and lethal and, needless to say, the stories are violent.

This is a very loose definition and others out there have done a far better job of describing this excellent genre in greater detail. See Wikipedia, iO9 and BlackGate.

The point is that I picked up Karl Edward Wagner‘s Dark Crusade when I was only a couple of years out of short trousers and sorely miss the genre. Yes, it is not entirely dead and there are a few ‘zines out there still taking submissions, but the current fashion is for rather more long-form fantasy prose. Nothing wrong with that, but I miss the instant thrill of cutlery-wielding warriors battling power-crazed sorcerers.

Okay, fast-forward to about a year ago when I discovered Chris Klimas et al’s Twine – a simple interactive fiction development tool. Being busy at the time, it wasn’t until this December when, having a moment to spare, I installed it. I also took five minutes to follow Anna Anthropy’s excellent tutorial and I was hooked. So this is my writery way of joining the indie game development revolution and, in my own small way, reboot sword and sorcery.

Rider In the Mist is a short, though hopefully entertaining and evocative dark, violent and devious game. It requires that the player make choices throughout, resulting in various outcomes (grisly or otherwise). Appropriately enough, it will be released at midnight New Year’s Eve/Day. If you want to hear me talking about the game, listen to my podcast, specifically episodes 59, 60, 62, and also episode 63 which will come out shortly after the game is released.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of your holidays.

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