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Jay Schilling’s Edge of Chaos
Oct 5th, 2020 by Ice Cream Jonsey

I made a new game with Mike Sousa! It’s called Jay Schilling’s Edge of Chaos. Let me see if I can in-line the blurb.

There was an aye-aye behind the bar, staring at me horribly. Or maybe its face just froze that way. I was waiting for my client at ten at night in a dusty, dirty town in the middle of nowhere. Clouds out here were apparently one of the thirty million newly unemployed. There was a missing woman and my client was about to hire an amateur private detective with the world’s most technologically advanced cellular phone. This was going to be a cinch. Seriously. It’ll take me like two searches with it to close this case. Three if mid-investigation I check on my torrents.

Y-You’re a player of the 2020 Interactive Fiction competition. I’m Jay. Let’s straddle the edge.

For now you can play it at this link, along with the 103 other games in this year’s 2020 Interactive Fiction Competition. You can download it or play it on-line. If you play 5 games, please be the best person ever and vote!

Commodore 64 Emulator Cheat Sheet
Jun 22nd, 2020 by Rob O'Hara

YOU: You’re trying to get the Commodore 64 working in an emulator but you didn’t have one growing up or you don’t remember some specifics. That’s ok! Commodork is here to help you! Take it away, Rob!

01. BASIC

Powering on the Commodore 64 places you at a BASIC prompt. Note that by simply turning the machine on, the amount of available RAM drops from 64k to 39k. Fake news!

02. ATTACHING A DISK IMAGE

All Commodore 64 emulators recognize .D64 files as Commodore disk images. In real life you would would insert a disk into your disk drive before using it. In an emulator, you must “attach” the disk. Different emulators have different ways to do this but they’re all the same basic idea. Note that each physical disk drive on the Commodore 64 had an assigned number on the serial bus, and the first one was always #8. 99% of all Commodore programs assume you are loading from drive 8, and many/most multifile programs will fail if loaded from a different drive.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pinneroids
Jun 12th, 2020 by Ice Cream Jonsey

A few of us learned about the PICO-8 fantasy console (get it here – https://itch.io/b/520/bundle-for-racial-justice-and-equality – for $5 and make your own PICO-8 games) the other weekend and Pinback made an Asteroids-inspired Asteroids-style game called Pinneroids.

Check it out here and let us know your high score in the forum!

Frobozz
Jan 23rd, 2020 by Ice Cream Jonsey

It has been one year since Frobozz died, here is a picture of him.

The Top 50 Games of the Decade on Caltrops
Jan 7th, 2020 by Ice Cream Jonsey

I am writing for a project that looks at the top 50 games, as selected and gently encouraged by the posters of Caltrops.com. There’s a couple pieces left to the project, but you can check it out by going to https://www.caltrops.com or if you’re reading this at a later point in time, starting here:

 

The Caltrops Top 50 Games of 2010-2019 Part One: Honorable Mentions

The Caltrops Top 50 Games of 2010-2019: #50-40

The Caltrops Top 50 Games of 2010-2019: #39-30

The Caltrops Top 50 Games of 2010-2019: #29-21

 

Some fun threads from the forum
Dec 26th, 2019 by Ice Cream Jonsey

There is a BBS attached to this website. Here are some fun threads you might want to read!

For three years, Aardvark has been doing a web comic he calls Crazy Doodles. The previous link is to the beginning, here is a good jumping-on point for some more recent ones.

Flack has been giving us his take on NBA news.

We celebrate life and death in this thread which is full of people we can’t believe died before Tdarcos did.

Hungry? Pinback gives us a recipe for Moroccan Pork Stew with Tumeric Rice.

The Mandalorian Thread! Don’t go in fresh, there be spoilers there.

If you’re reading this, we invite you to register an account and participate in the discussion!

Enceladus
Oct 4th, 2019 by Ice Cream Jonsey

The 2019 Interactive Fiction Competition is live!! Check out all the games in this year’s comp here at https://ifcomp.org.

The game I made is called Enceladus, you can download it through the IF Comp site here. The Windows version is included in the zip file, but you can get what you need to play it on Linux and a Mac by going here.

Enceladus is a science fiction game with jokes. On a small saucer-shaped spaceship, a werewolf has somehow boarded your ship. You play as an ensign, just an x-ray technician and attempt to navigate the crisis. If you have never played any of my games before, it’s a great jumping-on point.

Play the games in this year’s comp, write some reviews, let people know what you think about all the games. This year’s pool of authors are one of the nicest groups of people I’ve ever found myself a part of and any feedback created is going to inspire some great people. Enjoy!

The Comp
Sep 27th, 2019 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Many, many years ago I was trying to get a job with any of the three computer game companies in Colorado. I interviewed with two of them and noticed how they used the term THE INDUSTRY to talk about the video game-making industry. I’ve seen that same thing as a casual observer to other fields like photography. It’s always been a “stop for a second” kind of phrasing to me, where people that speak that way are almost sounding to me like they are on the edge of a cult. But then I realized that I refer to the yearly Interactive Fiction Competition that way. THE COMP. It makes me happy to think of it that way, I’m okay with doing it too.

After a 15 year hiatus, I have entered a small game into this year’s comp. And I’m really excited and nervous about it, I feel like a kid again. I never meant to stop entering. I did a little better each time I entered a game and learned a lot each time. (Though I give mad credit to Mike Sousa for our collaboration on our last game together that we did in 2004.) I just got going on a Spring Competition game, so no fall comp that release for me… and then five years of development for what has become a commercial game, then a quick one for a Hugo Competition, and then the last seven years I’ve been doing the text game / RPG. I took a break from it for my entry for this year’s Comp. I took a break from that for a couple of months to do this.

The making-text-games scene has changed a great deal since 2004. I got a chance to meet the great majority of my Internet online text game eFriends in 2009 and it was awesome. And over the years I’ve had more chances to meet up when they have come to where I live, or when I have flown out to where they are. The community has been a real positive for me, I’m very lucky in that regard. There’s a dude somewhere out there really into frogs who went to a frog convention and wound up sitting in a room with 15 unwashed enthusiasts of Pepe. This has not been that for me.

I don’t mean to be cagey with the game I am submitting, that all comes out on October 1st and I’ll make an update here. It’s good to be back.

Everyone Has a Frobozz Story
Mar 11th, 2019 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Frobozz died on Wednesday, January 23rd. It is the worst day of my life.

Frobozz was killed by a rescue dog that we had adopted. The rescue dog got downstairs. She wanted to get downstairs because that was where we kept the dry cat food and the wet cat food. She was food obsessed and I didn’t train that out of her, not yet. I had a camera pointed to the stairs so I could see if she was trying to get downstairs. I checked around 10:40AM on the 23rd and saw that the stuff I put in front of the stairs had been knocked away.¬† As soon as I saw what happened I drove home from work.

Reggie was sitting in a dry sink. He was OK. Two of our dogs were still downstairs in the arcade. Everything I had placed to block the stairs (some pots filled with dirt, two gates, some chairs) had been knocked down the stairs. Everything I had placed as a barrier was broken. Chunks of the pots lay scattered against the floor of the basement. Dirt had been tracked everywhere. I searched the normal spots that Frobozz had hid in since we moved into our home. He would hide behind the water heater, in the storage room, behind the furnace, on top of the Asteroids machine. He wasn’t at any of those places.

I saw that a stool had been knocked over and I looked into an arcade game of mine that didn’t have a back door. That is where I saw Frobozz’s body. He had wedged himself into the game. I don’t know what happened. He was too far in there for the rescue dog to have bit him and killed him. He was just frozen in place. The dog was covered in slashes and cuts – presumably she attacked him and Frobozz fought back and somehow in the process he died.

* * *

My ex-girlfriend Dayna brought Frobozz home as a four-week old barn kitten on a day in August of 2006. We had just moved into a house in Thornton, Colorado. She had brought two older female cats to the relationship before we got Frobozz. We had a lot of space in that house. I had never really had a pet that was my sole responsibility before. She had mentioned that she encountered litters of kittens all the time in her job for county invasive vegetation species enforcement. I remember just saying that I wanted a cat with a” preposterously large head in proportion to his body.” She brought this fuzzy, nigh-feral kitten home and he definitely had a head that was way too big for the rest of his body.

The name “Frobozz” is from the text adventure computer game Zork II: The Wizard of Frobozz – Frobozz itself is a province in the game where you attempt to get treasure, solve puzzles, outsmart a wizard and type curse words into the prompt. Frobozz (I’m back to my cat now) as a 4 week kitten had these shocks of hair just jumping off him. He looked that he had just been struck by lightning and as a way to chop up the rest of his day, decided to go toaster bathing. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at cats on the Internet in my day … and your day … and I have never seen any cat go from bizarrely-sketched oddball to a shining example of the perfect feline form like he did. Of course I loved him from the moment I saw him, but I became a little proud in how he prospered and bloomed.

We would wrestle all the time as I took the role of father, mother and sibling for him. I would go to work with long scratches over my arms in order to give him someone to rough house with. He never attacked anyone or anything for any length of time out of malice, it was just the way we played together, the two of us. We played less as he got older as he was more content to sit and nap and observe. I moved out of Thornton, got married to my wife Melissa and we brought all our pets together. My wife spent so much time with Frobozz, he had two people in his life that cared for him terribly.

In telling people what happened, I’ve learned that Frobozz (of course) didn’t cease to exist when people were over and when people spent the night at our place. Everybody has a Frobozz story. Guests at my place(s) tend to wake up before I do a lot of the time. I learned that Frobozz would be the cool companion hanging out while my friends played arcade games. (While Frobozz usually would sleep on the bed with me, he is the only cat I knew that would wake up earlier than myself but not also wake me up.) He liked being around people and I don’t get the sense that he was annoying about demanding attention from them. He just liked watching, liked hanging out. He liked being chill.

He would make a trilling sound when he was about to jump towards me and an “Eh!” sound when he was asleep and someone (the someone usually being me) would pick him up. He was probably taken from his mother cat too early, although there wasn’t any protection from some hawk getting him where he came from. He imprinted on me. We imprinted on each other. Looking back at the years we had together, Jesus, we spent an enormous amount of time just staring at each other as morons together. He would jump onto my lap wherever I was sitting. I would stop what I was doing and we would just look at each other, happy in that.

He was an indoor cat, but occasionally I would think to let him outside so he could experience the outdoors. There was a small storage shed across from the fence at my old house. One day when I had let Frobozz out for a second to get some sunshine, he got away from me. He scaled the fence and hopped over to the barn’s roof… and had no idea how to get down. He cried for help! I was able to knock on the neighbor’s door and get a ladder and get him down. He wasn’t great with being held by most other people for the first few years of his life. When I had him neutered, he was kept in a series of cat cages until he woke up. I had to go back there to get him out because he was back there, squashed as far back as he could go, hissing at the vets that were trying to get him. He came right out when he saw me and we went home. He had been the constant companion in my life for so many years. I had a long period of time when I was single before I met my wife and for the most part it was me living with Frobozz, Boggit and Reggie in a house that was big but not at all empty because I had those three happy¬† clowns to share it with.

* * *

He’s gone forever and it still hasn’t hit me. It hits me all the time, but it hasn’t fully hit me, if that makes any sense. There was a mix up when it came to getting his ashes. I took him to the crematorium the day he died while my wife took the rescue dog back to the rescue. Someone was ahead of me in line at the crematorium trying to negotiate some multi-animal plan or discount or something. I went to one of the rooms they had there with Frobozz’s body. I had wrapped him in blankets and we just sat there waiting. I’m glad I had that time now. He was as long as a cat should be, he weighed what a cat should weigh. In the end wrapped up tight and had to leave him and drove home.

I got a call a couple days later. His ashes were ready for me to pick up. There was a mistake though and it’s funny to me just how little you parse in grief. The weight of the ashes was wrong, it was too low. The wrong name was written on the container. None of this registered with me. I got a call a few days later from the crematorium. They had given the wrong ashes to me. I drove back and made the exchange and all is right now.

* * *

What really hurts the most right now is that I failed him. I utterly and totally failed him. Maybe if you are stacking obstacles in front of the downstairs to stop a new dog to where you are spontaneously generating a new Q*bert level before heading to work, you should consider your housing situation and adjust. I told this four-week old kitten that I would protect him and raise him and ensure he had a good life. Every time someone stayed at our place I would have to explain or have my wife explain the rules about closing the outside doors. He could get hurt outside. We’ve been in endless construction since we moved into our place and contractors, without exception, do not fucking shut doors. So I would have to make sure that he and his brothers and sisters were locked in a room with what they needed so they wouldn’t get outside, get lost, get hurt. I was a paranoid lunatic about all of that because Frobozz needed a paranoid lunatic to stick up for him. He was friendly, sociable and handsome. He was happy to see people and ever curious. He was always kind to his brothers and got along effortless with girl cats. He was all the things that I can’t be but admire in others and I couldn’t imagine raising a creature of any species that would have turned out better than he did.

Each day I get up and feel either grief or rage. It’s usually one or the other. I think of him fighting for his life in an arcade game and how I was too late to save the day. I think of all the wishes I had, I wish that I had worked from home that day or called it on the rescue dog or found a better way to buy time. I didn’t and it haunts me. There is a loss I cannot comprehend because he was the first and only creature that has ever walked the earth that was 100% truly dependent on me from start to finish and I failed him.

He died weeks ago and I do still see him out of the corner of my eye. My brain is tricked into thinking he is just around the corner and then he is not. He was truly the greatest guy there has ever been and if you spent any time in real life with me you liked him too. I hope you know, buddy, that I am so, so sorry.

I love you, Frobozz.


Frobozz, my baby

Frobozz, 2006-2013

Cryptozookeeper IndieGala bundle
Jan 13th, 2019 by Ice Cream Jonsey

If you’d like to pick up Cryptozookeeper for Steam for a low price, you can get it through this IndieGala bundle for 12 more hours. Thanks for reading:

https://www.indiegala.com/monday-motivation-65

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