Award-winning Infocom and Legend Entertainment author Bob Bates is currently seeking funding via Kickstarter for his new game project Thaumistry: In Charm’s Way – a parser-driven interactive fiction comic fantasy set in New York City. This is a text adventure with player input via keyboard using a simple interface featuring no graphics, as per the classic games from the 1980s & 90s.
Thaum: (noun). A unit of magical energy
Bodge: (verb). To hack or kludge
Eric Knight was a child prodigy who was featured on the cover of Invent! Magazine at the age of 13 for his invention of an anti-stain chemical treatment. Unfortunately, he hasn’t invented anything since and now, at the age of 23, he has a strong case of imposter syndrome. He feels like a failure.
For the past few years he has been given laboratory space in a start-up incubator, but as the game opens, he is holding a letter from IncuLab threatening to pull the plug if he cannot demonstrate within a day that his latest invention works.
As he thinks this over, an energetic stranger named Jack bursts into his lab and says, “I’m your wake-up call, dude. You feel like you don’t quite fit in, right? Weird things happen when you’re around? Traffic lights turn red just as you get to them. Elevator doors don’t close when you push the button. Your alarm clock randomly fails in the morning. There’s a name for people like that. We’re called Bodgers. I’m one, and you might be one too.”
Eric soon learns that Bodgers are a group of people through whom magic flows into the world. Some Bodgers aren’t aware of this ability, and they come to regard themselves as accident-prone, jinxes, or jonahs. But Bodgers who realize their identity can learn to channel this mischievous magic. The aim of a Bodger is to make a small thing go wrong in order to make big things go right.
Is Eric himself a Bodger? Through the course of the game he tries to find out. But first there is an imminent danger that must be dealt with. Another inventor has created a thaumeter – a device that measures magical energy. Its unveiling is planned for the end of day, and if that happens then the existence of the Bodgers will be exposed, and mass persecution will follow.
Although not a gamebook, Thaumistry: In Charm’s Way will surely appeal to anyone with an interest in interactive fiction and detailed character development, plus it incorporates magic and has a touch of fantasy in its modern setting.
The Kickstarter ends on Wednesday February 22nd and Bob hopes to have the completed game finalised by mid-2017. Available DRM-free on PC, Mac, Linux or via Steam.