Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Case Study No. 0681: Mr. Catchpole

Choosatron Story Demo: The Librarian's Apprentice
I wanted to show off my first play through of the first story submitted for my arcade machine, the Choosatron Deluxe Adventure Matrix! Robert Valentine, a writer/director based in London, wrote this piece entitled "The Librarian's Apprentice". It's an exciting step forward in the project to be including new adventures.

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Tags: Choosatron Interactive Fiction CYOA Game Story Second Person CDAM Jerry Belich Choose Your Own Adventure Demo
Added: 2 months ago
From: monkeytheater
Views: 58

[scene opens with a split-screen featuring a man speaking directly to the camera, while sitting next to a small box labelled "Choosatron Deluxe Adventure Matrix V1.0"]
JERRY: Hello, my name is Jerry Belich. Uh, I have with me a project I've been working on for the last couple of months called the Choosatron, or the long title is the Choosatron Deluxe Adventure Matrix. It is basically a Choose Your Own Adventure arcade machine, using a thermal printer for the output, a keypad for input from the user, and a coin acceptor for taking coins.
[he holds up a quarter]
JERRY: Uh, now what I'm going to be doing here is demoing a story, and not just any story, but a story written by Robert Valentine, a writer and director in London that does theater and radio shows. He is the first person to submit a story to me, so the only one I've worked with up til now is my own demo story that I wrote. And I have not played his story yet, so I thought it would be fun to record the first playthrough, since one of the important things to me about the author and player relationship with How Choose Your Own Adventure is how people make the choices that they do and why they do that. And I didn't want to taint my first exposure to his story. So I'm just gonna put in the coin here ...
[he inserts the coin, and the Choosatron spits out a tiny piece of paper (like a cash register printing out a receipt)]
JERRY: And what happens right away is it prints out just a little intro ... Choosatron, and then it gives you a choice of stories.

Choosatron Deluxe
Adventure Matrix v1.0

by Jerry Belich

Choose your story below!

1. Thanksgiving of Despair
2. The Librarian's Apprentice

JERRY: The first one is "Thanksgiving of Despair," that's the demo one that I wrote, and the second one ... "The Librarian's Apprentice" is the story by Robert. So, I'm gonna select number two.
[he presses the keypad, and more of the story prints out]

Congratulations! It's the first day of your new job as trainee assistant librarian at Miskatonic University, Arkham. As you stroll to work down College Street, the Autumn sun glitters through the golden trees that line the road. Students hurry by on their way to class and the crisp air lifts your spirits.

1. Enjoy the walk ...
2. Or take a shortcut past the old witch-house.

JERRY: Well, I think I'm probably gonna have to go with "two," because who doesn't like a little adventure?
[he presses the keypad, and more of the story prints out]

You arrive at the library five minutes early to find your new boss, Mr. Catchpole, feeding the library's guard-dog in the vestibule. Following him inside, he swiftly shows you around and tells you that on no account are you to leave the front desk unattended, and then he goes on to explain the library's unique filing system.

1. Pay close attention and make notes.
2. Don't worry too much, it's your first day.

JERRY: I think I know better, I'm gonna pay close attention.
[he presses the keypad, and more of the story prints out]

Someone from the Anthropology Department calls Mr. Catchpole away at short notice, leaving you in charge of the library. He gives you the key to the occult books cupboard and warns you to guard it closely.

1. Put the key safely in your pocket.
2. Use it to unlock the occult books cupboard and see what all the fuss is about.

JERRY: Oh see, this is one of those where ... Am I trying to play to survive, or am I trying to play to see what kind of trouble I can get in? Uh, I'm gonna call a friend.
[he yells to someone off camera]
JERRY: Brian!
BRIAN: [from off camera] Yes Jerry?
JERRY: Oh sorry ...
[he takes out his cellphone and pretends to dial, then talks into it like he's speaking with Brian]
JERRY: Uh Brian, I've got two choices--
BRIAN: [from off camera] Hello?
JERRY: Brian ...
[he laughs]
BRIAN: [from off camera] This is Regis!
JERRY: Alright ... Should I put the key safely in my pocket, or use it to unlock the occult book cupboard and see what all the fuss is about?
BRIAN: [from off camera] Occult book cupboard, I think.
JERRY: Alright, thanks Brian.
[he puts the cellphone down]
JERRY: Alright, we're gonna go the dangerous route, so that's fun.
[he presses the keypad, and more of the story prints out]

You unlock the occult cupboard and peer inside. There are lots of old books in there, including a tattered volume entitled "Unaussprechlichen Kulten" by Friedrich von Junzt and some loose pages bound with twine which you recognize as the fragmentary "Book of Eibon." In pride of place, however, is a leather-bound grimoire held shut with large metal clasps ... the dreaded Necronomicon by the mad arab, Abdul Alhazred!

1. Do you heed your nagging fear and hurry back to the front desk ...
2. Or will you have a quick glance at the Necronomicon?

JERRY: Hmm, am I a coward? Y'know what, I kinda wanna see if I can survive ... I probably am gonna regret this, but I'm going to run to the front desk.
[he presses the keypad, and more of the story prints out]

Some time later, a fishy-looking student comes to you with a request for a book he can't find, and ask you where it's kept. The oddly piscene freshman thanks you and heads off to the relevant aisle.

1. Pat yourself on the back, librarian!
2. Reward yourself with a sly glance at the Necronomicon.

JERRY: I'm kinda sly ...
[he presses the keypad, and more of the story prints out]

You take the forbidden volume from the occults book cupboard and study its yellowing pages. The words of the Necronomicon are weird and obscure, but you're skilled enough to wrap your tongue around one of the simpler incantations and say a few lines out loud. In the next moment, you conjur a vast and bubbling Shoggoth into the middle of the reading-room and it digest you rapidly through its foaming outer membrane. Nasty ...

Good work. Play again soon!


From monkeytheater.com:

The Librarian's Apprentice is the first story ever submitted to be played on the Choosatron! Robert Valentine, a writer/director based in London, has done me the great honor of putting his time into such a random project. His excitement over the Choosatron was incredibly inspiring and definitely pushed me along, so thanks Rob!

About the Choosatron:
The Choosatron is the first of what will hopefully be a series of increasing complex hardware based interactive fiction projects. It is essentially a Choose Your Own Adventure arcade machine! A coin acceptor for credits, a number pad for input, and a thermal printing outputting the story and choices. After a play, you can tear it off and keep your story play.

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