Free Game Friday: Interactive Fiction

Not only is Friday Sunday a day to celebrate the oncoming weekend, get a takeaway and go out for a couple of bevvies with your friends and family, for us here at GameSpew it’s time for a special edition #FreeGameFridaySunday. That’s right Spewers; it’s the (second) best day of the week.

As you all know this week has been a rather busy week for gaming in Britain, from London Games Week to EGX Rezzed and an exciting night of gaming BAFTAs a few days ago. A big congratulations to the winners. Each one was certainly well deserved and well earned, and I was thrilled to see Her Story up alongside many AAA titles.

In celebration of this past week’s eventfulness, I’ve decided to take a bit of a different approach. So, rather than the usual suspects, we’re looking at the interactive fiction games Beneath Floes and The Domovoi. You’ll notice that I’ve chosen two from the same website. Well, that’s because they both struck me in different ways and I couldn’t decide between them, so don’t judge just enjoy. Everyone should know what interactive fiction is, but for the sake of covering all areas: it does as it says on the tin. It’s the point-and-click of fiction.

Mostly everyone has played one of these games at some point in their lives. From the humble RPG nerd to fiction buffs (such as myself), being given the power to choose your path, and ultimately your destination, is a simplistic yet effective method of storytelling. Somehow it makes you feel more involved knowing that your decision is going to make a difference and, for those detailed enough, will create one arm of many, many possible branches. Or, the method people loved to advertise about Until Dawn: a butterfly effect.

Both Beneath Floes and The Domovoi have short, compelling stories told in a way that verges on artistic and poetic. This, twinned with the beautiful artwork and sound-effects to accompany it, draws you in, making it a more rounded experience than just pointing and clicking. The stories themselves are old-school, based on timely narratives that make you feel like you’re part of the tale instead of getting dragged along for the ride.

Beneath Floes 1 min

At least in my case, interactive fiction is nostalgic; it reminds me of my childhood, flicking through books and marking pages so I could flick to a different path if the ending was bad. In fact, it’s fun to look at its successors in the video game world such as Heavy Rain and recognise that old habits die hard. Come on, we’ve all made emergency saves before big decisions or quit before auto-saves can take effect. You don’t fool me, sunshine.

So click the links below if you have a spare moment or two and dive into something that still kicks as much butt as it ever did. Let us know how you get on in the comments, we always love to hear your views, and I’ll speak to you next week, folks.

Click here to play Beneath Floes for free and here for The Domovoi