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#19 Sprained ankle and interactive fiction

Update #19 Published on update

Arcade Astronaut by Jordan Jenkins
Arcade Astronaut by Jordan Jenkins

Life peek

So, my life just took an unexpected turn on Friday morning. As usual, I started the day bouldering with friends. As I was doing a very non-dangerous move[1], I slipped and fell on the side of my ankle with a lot of speed and strength. It hurt a lot. Of course, we still had to follow up with our normal routine of getting breakfast first at a local café — because priorities — before taking any drastic decisions, like going to the doctor. Stuffed with pastries and coffee, Robin finally took me on a piggyback ride to the closest doctor.

Diagnostic: a very badly sprained ankle and 4–6 weeks without sport. And that'd only be if the ankle was not fractured. Which luckily it was not.[2]

Needless to say, a lot of my plans for this month have been reviewed after the catastrophe. Fortunately, I have a local wine bar five minutes from home where we are welcomed like friends. It is nice to build these local connections in the place you live in, from the coffee shop waiter to the grocery lady. It makes me a bit sad to leave them behind once we'll move away from Berlin.


An immobilised kind of lifestyle calls for more quiet activities. Fortunately, the list of winners for this year Interactive Fiction Competition is out! I proceeded to play three games, which totaled to about 5–6 hours.

The Absence of Miriam Lane

Sometimes people give pieces of themselves away.
Sometimes they give too much and who they are wears thin.
They become an absence. A hole in the world.
And a terrible Light shines through.

The Absence of Miriam Lane is a choice-based game[3]. The way it was implemented on its plaform is amazing. The black and white imagery, the soundtrack create a very atmospheric environment, in which you are enclosed until the end of the story[4].

A Long Way to the Nearest Star

A thief on the run from the galactic police finds refuge on an abandoned spaceship. A lonely ship AI finds unexpected company.

Similarly, A Long Way to the Nearest Star is a choice-based game. The use of the platform is not as creative, but definitely helps with the setting. The difference between your thoughts and the things you read on digital devices (usually the AI talking to you) are stylized perfectly. The game is also quite lengthy — if you are a slow player like me — and left me with this wonderful feeling of coming out of a very good and absorbing story.

And Then You Come to a House Not Unlike the Previous One

Wander through an apparently infinite number of spooky mansions, solving a basic puzzle in each one.

Finally, And Then You Come to a House Not Unlike the Previous One is a parser-based game[5]. The official synopsis doesn't tell you much and actually hides the fact that the adventure actually has a meaning. Starting this game, I was more or less ready to solve a hundred problems, one after the other. However you quickly realize that the story is more complex than that...


To make Knödel

One of the things that inspire me to cook at home is going to the restaurant, eating something delicious and being like: "I want to know how to make this." Well, that happened just last week with Knödel. A few days later, I had made a fresh batch of my own that was not bad at all. Basically, they felt like big gnocchi where you simply swap the potatoes for bread instead.[6]

To make lasagna

Yay, lasagna! How come I had never tried before? Not sure, but I will definitely have another go at it very soon. It was much easier than I expected it to be, and the result is just so good!

  1. For those interested in the technicalities, it was one of those "run along the wall on a long volume" move. However, as I kept my eyes on the prize — the final hand hold — my foot just missed the volume at some point and I fell to the floor... 15 cm below. ↩︎

  2. But we found that out the long way around after sticking around in the emergency room for 7 hours, yay. ↩︎

  3. In choice-based game you click on existing links to make your decisions. ↩︎

  4. I lost the game, but it is still worth playing. ↩︎

  5. In parser-based games, you need to spell out your actions through specifc commands. ↩︎

  6. I feel like both Germans and Italians would kill me for saying that. ↩︎

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