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  Monday, July 21st, 2014: Check Out The Podcast!

      Videogame Generations: I recently started a podcast with my daughter, where we discuss all manner of videogames. Our focus is on console games (Nintendo, PlayStation, XBox), but we sometimes talk about interactive fiction, BBS games, old shareware, mobile games, and more. It's new, and we need to build up our subscriber base. We hope to keep it going, every week, for many years to come.

      You can find the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher, among other places. Some browsers let you subscribe directly to a podcast by using our feed.

      Or just head over to Videogame Generations for the latest episodes and show notes.
 
  Saturday, March 7th, 2009: More Belated News

      Tales of the Traveling Swordsman: Something from two and a half years ago is hardly news, but I hadn't posted it here yet. My text adventure game -- TTS for short -- took 4th place (out of 43 entries) in the 2006 Interactive Fiction Competition. This is a free game (requiring the Hugo interepreter -- available for many operating systems, including Linux and Macintosh). Although of a different tone than Distress, TTS was even more well-received and has received higher marks at the IFDB.

[Screenshot #1] [Screenshot #2] [Screenshot #3] [Screenshot #4]

      If you're interested in Interactive Fiction, both past and present, you have to check out the Interactive Fiction Communtiy Forum. You'll find chatter about new and older games, competitions, and even assistance if you're trying to write your own in an IF language like Hugo, TADS, or Inform.

      Prowler Productions - The Future: We've been... well... idle for a long time. No projects are in the works, although a couple were started. I took our CGI scripts (ProwlerPoll and JabberChat) offline, since we were seeing more piracy (i.e., people stripping off our copyright notice without paying for a license) than registrations. I wrote these text adventures as personal projects, and that's about all. Lunatix Online is still online, but the player base has shrunk to a very close-knit community of mostly long-time players. StarLock is still up (and as unfinished as before), although it may be phased out and taken offline when it becomes clear nobody at all is playing.

      We always were a very small company -- more hobby than business -- and I guess real life has caught up. Anna moved years ago (making project coordination difficult), and I'm now married with three kids. Inspiration and motivation just aren't forthcoming these days.

      Then there's the game market, and the current economy. With AJAX and technologies not widely in use when Lunatix Online and StarLock were created, another browser-based effort could be pretty slick now. Browser-based games are now a dime-a-dozen, though, and most are free with a certain kind of "strategy" gameplay that really appeals to folks. For all the effort put into a new BBG, it still might be no more than a blip on the gaming radar.

      And then there's the general twisting of the term "browser-based game," where Flash and Java and Silverlight are called "BBG" even though they're nothing of the sort (i.e., they are web-based, but they are NOT html, which is the definition of browser-based). My day job has me programming in C# and ASP.Net. I have 22 years of programming experience in general. I could probably move on to the next thing -- maybe single-player real-time 3D games for Windows (i.e., games people may actually play) -- but time and motivation continue to be lacking.

      So the future is... what? I don't know. Maybe more hobby projects, such as these Hugo-based text adventures. Maybe something else. Maybe nothing at all for a long time.

 
  Saturday, November 19th, 2005: Distress - 4th in IFComp 2005

      Distress: The text adventure Distress took 4th place (out of 36 entries) in the 2005 Interactive Fiction Competition. This is a free game (requiring the Hugo interepreter -- available for many operating systems, including Linux and Macintosh), and it's pretty short (about two hours -- maybe a little less). If you like interactive fiction, check it out! Like Trading Punches, it's more a personal project than a Prowler Productions project.

[Screenshot #1] [Screenshot #2] [Screenshot #3] [Screenshot #4]

      The Wall Street Journal Online ran this article about IF and the competition. My interview was a lot longer than the single comment used in the article (and yeah, I play console games, and I know what a pause button is), but it's a good read nonetheless.

      Prowler Home Page: On a different note, this page layout has become very outdated. I'm thinking of something with a flatter white background, and dark text. May be easier on the eyes. Well, I'll see about that eventually.

 
  Saturday, February 19th, 2005: Trading Punches Released & StarLock Opened

      Trading Punches: Although it's a personal project of mine (not really a Prowler Productions game), Trading Punches is an Interactive Fiction game (you might call it a “text adventure”) written in the Hugo authoring system. It ranked 10th out of 36 entries in the 2004 Interactive Fiction Competition (full results can be seen here). In my not-so-humble opinion, it's really underrated, with a great story, vivid and verbose writing, and a really cool setting. Try it out. It's free, and the Hugo interpreter is available for a wide range of platforms (including Linux and Macintosh). You can read more about my IF (Interactive Fiction) projects at the Sidney Merk home page. If the pseuodonym seems a bit weird, try it as an anagram.

[Screenshot #1] [Screenshot #2] [Screenshot #3] [Screenshot #4]

      Although I'm unaware of any new reviews based on the updated version (1.8), these are a few of the more favorable reviews for the 1.6 competition version: #1 | #2 | #3 | #4

      StarLock Has Opened: Although the game isn't finished -- and likely won't be -- StarLock is now open for play at starlock.com. You can read more about the game, and about the decision to open it for free play at the StarLock Home Page. Because we are not charging for play (after all, it isn't complete), I can make no guarantees as to how long it will remain online. If it becomes burdened with too many disruptive players, too many problems, too much of a load to be supported by Lunatix Online, it might be removed. For now, enjoy!

 
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