Playing Bear Creek

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Bear Creek is interactive fiction, a coming-of-age story from a child’s point-of-view.

Bear Creek, August 1975.

Looking back, it was that summer, or maybe just that one day that changed everything. KC and the Sunshine Band was on the radio and you were eight years old. A curious daydreamer, on the verge of learning what lay beyond the boundaries of your own little world, and nothing was certain about whether you’d survive the journey.

You are experiencing part one of a three part story. 

The Game

Here you can play the story online, super convenient, but not my recommendation.

Click here to experience Bear Creek online.

While playing a browser is certainly convenient, it is typographically painful to this author.  A better alternative is to download software that presents interactive fictions on your desktop.  I highly recommend the typographically beautiful Gargoyle which can play a whole host of different format IF games.. This is more complicated, but in my opinion, well worth it.

  1. Download and install Gargoyle, available for Linux, Mac and PC. (Follow the Download link to the Google Code Page)
  2. Download the Bear Creek story file.
  3. Run the story file with Gargoyle.

Playtesting

First, thank you.  I’m super grateful to you for playing/experiencing Bear Creek, and even more so if you make notes about your experience, things you like, unexpected problems, and incomplete implementation. Detailed notes, including game location and story progress, are most welcome.

Consider creating a transcript of your game play and sending it on to the author at wes(at)modes.io:

>transcript on
Start of a transcript of Bear Creek

A Word for Newbies

If you are new to “parser-based interactive fiction,” you may be challenged in interesting ways. I’d suggest you take a look at the “Introduction to IF,” a brief tutorial on playing interactive fiction. You can find it easily from the game screen by clicking on the Home Page link on the left. That might help some. From there, you’ll also see I’ve made the source code available if you care to geek out over that.

Traditionally, in parser-based fiction there are puzzles that occasionally challenge your progress through the narrative. Mostly, I think puzzles get in the way of the narrative.  That said, Bear Creek has some features that may be considered very very light puzzles. My best suggestion is this: Try your best to inhabit the world and the player character, forgetting best you can that this is a “game.”

A Few Hints for Those Who May be Struggling

Yes, these are lightly spoilery.

Click here if you are having a difficult time getting around.
Try going toward landmarks, as in

> go to clearing
Click here if you are stuck in the blackberry brambles
Did you pick a full bucket of berries after Honey asked you to?

Click here if you can't get past the dog.
Is there another way around?

Click here if you are lost in the forest.
Yeah, that happens.

Click here if you need hints on things to do.
Did you climb the pine tree? Swim? Play with the ants? Wait for the train? Visit folks?

 A Soundtrack

Need a little period-accurate musical accompaniment to get you into the spirit of the game?

AM Radio 1975 by Rico Thunder on Grooveshark
Playlist by Wes Modes. A list of Billboard Top 100 hits from 1975. Like finding an AM radio that plays music of 40 years ago.

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