Apple IIc at BostonFIG

October 1st, 2018 7:03 AM
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One of my favorite annual traditions is the Boston Festival of Indie Games, or BostonFIG. Currently in its seventh year, this one-day event held at MIT is an opportunity for independent game developers to exhibit their works in progress and new releases. I love the creativity on display, where game designers who are not beholden to major studios can demonstrate original game ideas and concepts, be they commercially viable or simply interesting.

Interactive fiction has made appearances at BostonFIG before, and this year's festival was no exception. The Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation is based out of Boston, and their booth this year showed off everything from Infocom games (perhaps not indie, but Boston-based!) to the more recent Hadean Lands (whose Kickstarter I supported way back in 2010!). The IFTF is such a staple of BostonFIG that I was chatting with its organizers for a minute before I realized something new right in front of me.

Apple IIc at BostonFIG

An Apple IIc… at BostonFIG!

I always thought it would be fun to bring an indie game like Lawless Legends to BostonFIG, but the IFTF beat me to it by using an Apple IIc to show off classic Infocom games. They were running off the original floppies, as opposed to 4am's newer Pitch Dark GUI. The table was manned by Andrew Plotkin, who I interviewed for Juiced.GS's cover story about interactive fiction seven years ago; and the Apple IIc was provided by Nick Montfort, an MIT professor whose book, Twisty Little Passages, Juiced.GS reviewed nine years ago.

So as to not block the table from interested festival-goers who might not already have heard the good word of interactive fiction, I didn't linger at the table. But I was very glad to see this precedent set, and I hope to see the Apple II at future BostonFIGs.

Next-generation Structris

September 16th, 2013 12:11 PM
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Yesterday I attended the second annual Boston Festival of Indie Games, or BostonFIG. Developers from throughout the Boston region set up shop at MIT to demonstrate a passion and talent that shines despite a lack of funding or big-name notoriety.

In anticipation of this event, The Boston Globe's Jesse Singal published an article, "Cool titles await at Festival of Indie Games", which described one game, Blocks of Explosive Dismemberment, as "'Tetris,' only there’s a little guy — controlled by your human opponent — running around at the bottom trying not to get crushed by the falling blocks."

Sound familiar? I was perhaps the only BostonFIG attendee with the background to find the game evocative of Martin Haye's Structris. Admittedly, it'd bit of a stretch to accuse Explosive developer Barbaric Games of ripping off Martin's idea. Plus, Barbaric Games promised their take would be "bloodier and with an extra dimension".

As it turned out, there was much more to their game than that. Read my report on Computerworld.com for more details.