Interactive Fiction Game of the Year 2016: Reigns31 Dec 2016 0
It’s actually been a pretty ok year for gamebooks and interactive fiction – highs and lows, like all the categories, but it feels like these more story driven games are on the cusp of some kind of renaissance. Perhaps 2017 will be the Year of the Gamebook?
Reigns is your champion for this year. Not a gamebook per say, it uses deck-building as a mechanic to expand the emergent sandbox, making it singular amongst the interactive fiction releases this year. As you hit milestones, new cards unlock to make the individual legacy of a character that much more interesting. It can be slow going, but it’s worth it in the end.
We invited Matt back to speak for this one as well, following on from his review earlier in the year:
A computer scientist once told me that imagination can be boiled down to a near infinite chain of binary choices. I never really believed that was true until I played Reigns. Somehow, linking together apparently meaningless two-option decisions across a game, then across a session then across years, morphs into a unique and engrossing story. Kings and kingdoms rise and fall as a parade of bizarre and intriguing characters march across your screen. The result isn't interactive fiction as you know it, but it is wholly unique. A testament to how ones and zeros can already conjure astonishing stories with a little nudge from a human operator.
A well-deserved award - we hope to see more like this in 2017.
Runner-Up: Sorcery! 4
There was no question of Sorcery! 4 picking up some kind of award this year, but the question was would it win? Sadly, it didn’t get enough votes amongst the staff to secure the top-spot but it did claim the Runner-Up prize.
There was also no question of who was going to write our review of this game, and I’m incredibly thankful to Dave Neumann for taking the time to write it for us. To summarise his thoughts:
If you’ve played through the previous instalments, picking up the fourth is a no-brainer. You’ll bump into characters you’ve met along your journey and use items you nabbed way back in the Shamutanti Hills. If you’re a newbie, it’s still worth the price of admission, but I would recommend picking up the entire series and starting from scratch to get the most out of it. Otherwise, it’s a bit like reading about the Battle of the Pelennor Fields without having sat through the Council of Elrond (spoilers?).
You can find more of Dave over on Stately Play.
Congratulations to Devolver Digital & inkle for their awards. Stay tuned for our final article – the Reader’s Choice Award – coming tomorrow.
To keep track of all the winners and runner-up’s during the 2016 Awards, please see the Awards Index Page.