Plotopolis aims to publish engaging interactive fiction, in unusual venues, with high production values.
That is, we are a literary journal of interactive fiction where you read (play) our stories in a chat interface.
"I'm sorry, what?" (You ask.)
Example in the chat app Telegram
In chat apps (Telegram is similar to WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, if you're not familiar ), we have a 'bot' that allows you to read Plotopolis stories. You can try this now (in Facebook Messenger, Telegram or Slack) by going to our launch page.
Our 'table of contents' is viewable by typing 'choose story'
In the story being played, there are choices to be made, as well as a 'game metric' - in this case, 'Anger'.
Here's a description from the Interactive Fiction Foundation's FAQ:
Choice-based games are another well-known form of interactive fiction. In choice-based interactive fiction, players choose among a number of options to advance the story. These options are presented either as an explicit multiple-choice menu, or as hyperlinks within the story text. Compared to parser IF, choice-based games tend to focus more on navigating branching narratives and multiple endings than on puzzles to solve or secrets to find. Choice-based games can be digital, like Depression Quest, or physical, like a Choose Your Own Adventure book.
"Why?" (You also might ask.)
Fair question. I feel there may be a manifesto in here somewhere, but for now:
- Interactive Fiction (IF) is fun. It's a game. It's a puzzle. It's a labyrinth. And yet it can retain many of the aspects of what makes literature so potent.
- But I feel it could be pushed further:
- By launching to highly-used, engaging platforms where people already are.
- By bringing the 'literary journal' format to IF.
- By soliciting work from professional writers.
- Also: bringing the pleasure of reading to platforms where people already are feels like a win for literature as a whole.
- We've done this before.
In the distant past...
...I created Gumball Poetry (with Laura Moulton), a literary journal published into capsule machines (and, imo, a delightful website). We had as many as ~25 machines placed around the country and threw enormous parties to 'stuff' the selected poems into thousands of 2" capsules. Because of the unusual format, we received a lot of submissions (all by postal mail, I believe), and would publish about 1 in 40 poems. The machines were placed in bars and cafes and bookstores, leading many non-poetry-reading civilians to pick up a poem (for a quarter). There was a distinct joy in placing literature that we loved in places people wouldn't expect it. Plotopolis feels, in many ways, a natural follow-up.
For now, Plotopolis is built by and supported by me (Ben Parzybok), as in it's free, ad-free, and donation-free. Eventually we'll want to find a way to sustainably pay for the works of authors. Have an idea? Please contact us.