Palimpsest is a continuous cybertext controlled with a gamepad.
Inspired by old text adventure games like Colossal Cave Adventure and Zork, yet frustrated with their puzzle-like input systems, I set out to make a game that explored the tension between discrete units of textual feedback and continuous space. In the game, the player embodies a robot with limited senses to repair a failing research outpost on Mars for his or her human masters. I chose a robotic theme to mirror the reduced sense given to the player in navigating the continuous world through textual description. The player is literally blind within this world, so I added minimal visuals consistent with robotic senses and spatially arranged the text to enhance playability.
Artistically, I wanted to explore what kinds of real-time video games can be made using only text output. A key aspect of many video games is continuous input and output, usually with keyboard and mouse or a gamepad controller as input and two or three dimensional graphics as output. However, language possesses a magnificent ambiguity that is lost in modern graphical realism. We use words to communicate with each other yet words have cracks between them that let you read a seemingly infinite variety between the lines. We play with words, so I wanted players to play with words.
I am a computer programmer with a desire to make games that push the boundaries of what can be done with language as presentation.