The House at the End of Rosewood Street (Rosewood) is my most recent game, created to explore the ideas of the uncanny, the fantastic and the abject in an interactive form. It is interactive fiction made in Inform7 to get around the need to make graphics, which freed me up to tackle a bit more ambitious game with more locations than previous attempts at storytelling in games (such as Neighbors). As a result, Rosewood has many locations and characters that all interweave to create a kind of visceral experience for the player to understand three concepts behind expressionist horror. The game was inspired by films like Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and tried to capture the expressionist style of those and other films from the Weimar Republic.
The backbone of the game is provided by creating a routine and then interrupting the routine as the game goes on. Through the interruption of the routine, the intention was to impress upon the player that something bigger is going on in the game that is not quite obvious from the start. This is reinforced by uncomfortable interactions with a new neighbor on Rosewood Street (the game’s location), dreams that seem somewhat connected, and stories in the daily newspaper which you, as the player, are charged with delivering each day.
Rosewood was written for the 19th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition, and it was my first completed work of interactive fiction. I feel that the medium provides me with a great way to explore different ways of telling stories and making games that might not be possible on my own due to artistic constraints.
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