We’ve collaboratively written a few works of interactive fiction; starting with Rover’s Day Out, which placed first in the 2009 IF Comp. Not a bad start. Actually, though, our first attempts at IF were written solo and entered into Introcomp, which we both think is a great way to get your feet wet in IF. Ben submitted Trainstopping in 2007, and that was enough to lure Jack to enter Nine-Tenths of the Law in 2008 (Jack’s one and only foray into Inform6).

The characters that Ben created in Trainstopping made a later appearance in Hoosegow, our second collaborative piece, which placed first in the Casual Game Play Design Competition #7. Writing long games for competitions was a major effort, so the next few releases were lighter. Lobsters On A Plane was written as a SpeedIF during the IF mini-summit that took place alongside the 2010 Pax East conference. Narrow Your Eyes was also relatively short, as were most of the entries in the Apollo 18 + 20 IF Tribute Album. In NYE, we tried to push the platform a bit and experimented with sound and some animation. The experience confirmed our conviction that our time is better spent on good writing and not so much on multimedia bells and whistles.

Other projects pushed IF off the front burner for a few years. We continued to bat ideas back and forth, but could not devote time to a heavy IF project. In the Spring of 2016, we drafted an outline for a political satire about Donald Trump, but scrapped it because we didn’t think anyone would even remember him later in the year. Turns out we were overly optimistic.

In mid-July, a couple days after Pokémon Go came out, we both downloaded it and suffered through the constant crashes and server outages as did other players. Out of that frustration, Pogoman Go was born. The intent was to not just remediate the game as IF, but also to provide some commentary about the culture of mobile gaming. We initially discussed a “lightly implemented” and “quick” project that would give us a chance to re-familiarize with Inform7, which had evolved a bit over the last few years. Initially, we were just going to aim for August release, but when we realized that the project had grown in size and complexity, it seemed more reasonable to release it as part of IFComp 2016.

Anyhow, about the authors:

Ben Collins-Sussman (benjor on IFmud) spends his days at Google in Chicago, and his evenings oscillating between hobbies which include banjo playing, musical theater, ham radio (NN9S), pen and ink drawing, interactive fiction, photography, and  (this list is never completed).

Jack Welch (dhakajack on IFmud) is a medical researcher who lives on a remote island in the Indian Ocean, but non-reclusively, and not at all in a super villain way. Given that, Jack (5R8SV) and Ben’s mutual interest in ham radio makes a bit more sense considering the distance.

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