Because I miss you all and want to see you.
Maybe that’s not the whole reason. (Maybe it’s just 27.5% of the reason.)
I’ve spent a lot of years in what I used to call “the interactive fiction community”. It was never the only such community. A lot of groups and traditions have grown up around the idea — ideas — of telling stories in the interactive arts. Sometimes we have conversations and exchange ideas; more often we don’t. There’s been a lot of border-drawing and definition-guarding. I’ve done it myself.
Some groups talk about adventure games; others about narrative games, story-games, interactive fiction, interactive narrative. Sometimes we talk about “text games”, and sometimes the games are wordless. Not everybody even thinks of themselves as creating games.
There’s a lot of diversity, is what I’m saying. But also a lot of commonality — perhaps unspoken or undiscovered. So, like we wrote on the front page: it’s time to bring those communities together.
We’ve had gathering points in the past, but they tend to be sideshows. Interactive narrative rates a mention at most game developer events, and also at many recent writing and literary conferences. But it’s just one of many topics. GDC has a “game narrative summit”, but of course GDC is enormous, expensive, and aimed at the needs of the biggest industry movers.
Recently, however, we’ve seen a few regional events which are entirely focused on narrative games. WordPlay in Toronto and AdventureX in London are our direct inspirations, and we’re grateful to them for blazing trails.
NarraScope is our attempt at such an event. We hope it will bring its own flavor to the party, and that flavor is: bringing communities together in conversation. IF or adventures or narrative games, visual novels or storygames or hypertext: what can we tell each other? What problem have you solved that I can learn from?
And also, you know, to hang out. I’ll be there. I know a lot of my friends will be too. We’ll catch up.