Monday, 8 December 2014

The metal glen teems with life

Greetings, Dreamers!

This week I've got you an adventure that starts with escaping a room, and the plot unfolds in most interesting ways.

Make way for...

Warning: While not exactly graphic in a realistic sense, the ideas and the imagery can be a bit unnerving. Basically, if you can't stomach a bit of stylistically drawn violence in your stories, you might want to skip this entry.

Ruby Quest is a story in a peculiar format, created by username Weaver.

Born from an image forum, in a format reminiscent of old text-parser adventure games like King's Quest. The difference is that the creator, Weaver, drew a panel and waited for the audience to suggest an action. After such was done, he'd draw another panel for that action, and so on and so on.

You stand in a room.
It is a simple enough interface, and some readers might say that it is similar to, say, Problem Sleuth. While Problem Sleuth is more focused on jokes and humour, Ruby Quest has a more somber tone, to the point where the author stated that if the audience hadn't been careful (or as careful as they were), the main cast could've died at many points in the story.

While admittedly the artstyle itself is minimalist, it was made that way for the purpose of speed. Each panel was posted, audience input commands and the author made a new panel to be up in few minutes.

The struggle of quick art vs making sure everything is understandable
As for the story...

Well, it starts as an Ontological Mystery, but as the story progresses, the fact that this isn't just a regular building becomes more and more apparent, with impossible floor layouts starting to form, bottomless pits appearing and the uneasy certainty that the two main characters, Ruby and Tom, are not alone...

vertical line on the left is a rope, diagonal line on the right is the same rope. Somehow. The middle is a literal void.
Now, this is a horror story, and as such many plot-relevant elements are critical and thus must not be spoiled, so I'll apologize that I don't give a more thorough explanation of the plot.

I must warn, however, that this has body horror, slight-to-medium gore (even in its simplistic style), and disturbing themes fitting of a Silent Hill.

It is, however, a great story, in a medium I had never seen before I read it, and thus I feel it deserves a spot on this blog.

Since the original board is a bit difficult to navigate, I recommend you read the story in this site, which archived the images, the comments and the commands that led to the actions that happened. There are other sites, but I feel this one might be the easiest to follow (And also has bonus material at the end, if you fancy a laugh or seven)

The author has made other stories such as Dive Quest and Nan Quest, where Dive is more about management of a monster dungeon, while Nan is more about character interactions. If you are interested in more of the author's work, those are a good place to start.

For another story delivered in a way similar to old text-parser adventures, take a peek at Problem Sleuth and Homestuck, by Andrew Hussie.

For another horror story where the main character wakes up in a box, with no clue how they got there, try the game The white chamber (No capitalization intentional)

I hope you enjoy this delightfully creepy story!

Have a good week, and keep on dreaming!


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