The Weekly Review - Edition 23
A What is New Section giving the latest info on the Forums!
An Article about the popularity of Story Game genres!
An Interview of the fantastic site member Ford!
A Review of Wonko_the_Sane’s great story The Vampire Hunter by Steve 24833!
The Short Story High-Functioning by the terrific writer Steve24833!
A Special Section of jokes!
- In Newbie Central newcomer Soaringstar introduces his or her fantastic self to the site!
- In the Lounge Seto looks for fellow fans of Bioshock Infinite!
- In News and Updates Bucky unleashes his fantastically designed Ballad writing Competition!
- In the Parlour Room Reverotti looks for fellow fans of detective stories!
- In the Forum Games section Cdrive1’s Fight Club game gets resurrected by TharaApples!
- In the Writing Workshop Bucky releases an interesting teaser for his new story!
- In the Reading Corner DylantheWalker looks for fellow fans of Chronicles of Nick!
- In the Advanced Editor Forum Kain1 seeks aid in making links variable!
- In the Feature Wishing Well MinnieKing looks for help in coding cool titles on his profile!
- In Bugs and Problems section Visualizer (ironically) seeks help with pictures!
Featured Article – Genres
When you click the Story Game link to the left you are magically transported to the sites main Story Game Categories page. Here the 1100 or so published Story Games on the site are grouped into ten genres and I noticed that some genres are far more popular or unpopular than others.
Right at the bottom of the list is School with only 52 published stories in this genre, an average of about 3 a year since the site’s founding. Considering a lot of the site’s regular members are of school age it seems unusual there are not more School stories. The problem may lie is that School is a setting rather than a genre and those who spend their whole days slaving away in them during the day are understandably reluctant to write about them in the evenings.
Love and Dating with just 64 stories is the second most unpopular category which may indicate that enthusiastic Internet users are a fairly unromantic bunch and possibly many site members are just too young or inexperienced to write knowledgably on this topic. Sci-Fi with 76 stories is the next below average story in popularity, this may be because sci-fi tends to be something of a specialist interest which you either like or you don’t (I don’t).
Mystery / Puzzle (85) and my own favourite Edutainment (86) come in as average popular stories. This is because both genres have a bit more variety and flexibility than the less popular ones and Edutainment is frequently filled with school projects anyway. Which genres are more popular then? Fan Fiction with 104 stories is the first reasonably popular one, quite possibly because it’s easier to use an existing idea than to think up new ones.
If we look at the most popular Genres on the site we have Modern Adventure (163), Fantasy Adventure (150) and Horror (118). It is easy to understand why Fantasy and Horror are there; both are wide-ranging and extremely popular genres. Modern Adventures seems a bit more unusual until we remember that people like writing about what they know and write about their own times and experiences. What then is the most popular genre?
The most popular Genre is the Everything Else category with 200 stories, a catch-all for everything that doesn’t fall into any of the other categories. This suggests that the site might still benefit from the creation of a few additional Genres, Quizzes and Games are two genres that most suggest themselves to me, though it could be argued these genres are not true story-writing and should not be encouraged. Either way these trends reveal interesting facts about our writing habits, not least that it is important that we should try to write outside our comfort zones when we can to broaden our abilities as writers.
Featured Interview - Introducing Ford
A long-time member of the site, a veteran of many a Forum fight and an unrepentant supporter of bad stories (“8/8 best thing I’ve ever read!”) this week Ford provided a fantastic interview about his thoughts on the site, how he deals with it and gives me one of the best answers to question I’ve ever had in these interviews…:
1: What first got you interested in joining the site?
I'm not sure. I think the old-timey creame-and-white look appealed to me. The site has no ads, a great tight-knit community, and a very welcoming comfy feel to it. I can't remember what actually brought me here and for what reason.
2. What and who do you most like on the site?
I'd say I like 3J the most on the site as a role model, he's an admirable person of determination, passion, and kindness. He is not afraid to hold a steady hand against the community - even if it's just him and his experience backing him. His experience is another thing that's on a completely different level; he's always right in the end regardless of what one might argue against him. He has proven himself a competent and well rounded leader who runs a tight ship whilst simultaneously having fun and allowing a lot of freedom for users on the site. As for what I like most on the site, I like the community the most. I'd be comfortable talking to just about any one of the active site members (and some non-active members) in real life.
3. Who and what do you least like on the site?
There are some site members whom I do not like, so I take the novel and unheard of approach and don't interact with them. Seriously guys, just don't talk if you don't have anything worthwhile to say.
4. You have created a genuinely incredible number of Alts. What is the fascination with Alts?
My first account made a very noobish post because I did not lurk enough. So naturally I made a new one and tried making better posts or going with a character-like cliche; which was also noobish and so I made a new account. I believe Ford is my third account and I've built off that. My fascination was not so much with the number of alts, it was that I really liked 4 letter names because they were very Alpha feeling - as if only the old experienced people on the site would have them. Like if 3J's username was actually "3J" it'd look a whole lot more important than Xx-JJJ-THE-BANISHER-xX5937 which just looks ugly and long. So I started making 4 letter name accounts. I've essentially taken all 4 letter words and made an account for them (some explicit as well). Then I moved on to cuss words so nobody could get those, and on to some five letter words. I was surprised I could get so many basic names but I realized pretty much nobody ever came on the site back then. I ended up with a ton of alts over time and I still make plenty today. Total count is roughly 300, with about a hundred or so of those banned by End.
5. You are quite adept at skilfully navigating the frequent arguments, fights and troll wars that flair up occasionally on the Lounge. What is the secret to this?
That's like telling a professional swimmer he's good at floating. I don't even think the site has had a good argument, fight, or troll post since the last time Morgan_R showed up with her latest controversial post. It boils down to experience I guess. Two years ago the site had a lot more actual arguments, some decent sized fights, and actual trolls posting to the forums (and the further you go back the more it happened - but BZ cleaned it all up a bit ago). The mods weren't very active back then. Now that I've seen all that, these current arguments and troll posts are ridiculously small-tier. I just post to whatever thread looks interesting at the time.
6. You have read practically all the stories on the site but have never written any, do you have plans to write one in the future?
*never published any | Yeah. I need to reach 10k xp somehow so I suppose I'll refine and write a few games and get them featured for points.
7. You have already been on this site for nearly three years, how has it changed since you joined?
The creame and white looks just as clean as it did years ago but the community is all the more colorful. I'd say the most change came with 3J enforcing new site rules some time ago, and cracking down on the new crowd for being more and more hostile to each other. Myself included in this hostility. The site is 10x more populous than three years ago. I recall a time where it was mid-day EST and there were 9 guests and 4 memebrs online. That sums up how empty it was. I'm glad there are new members but I'm sad that some of my favorites have left. RIP October.
8. How do you see your role on the site in the future?
Not so much my role but Chanbot's role - the overarching goal right now is to someday have Chanbot get mod priveledges so he can automatically do things around the site. Like updating article information, creating logs, organizing statistics, and other useful things. Brad don't fucking steal my thunder - Chanbot will fuck Larimar up. (Larimar is his bot)
9. What has been the most funny (intentionally or unintentionally) thing to happen to you recently?
I broke a brick by dropping it off of my cock at a party; unintentionally. Is that appropriate? People often answer this with "that's personal so no." I'm unsure of what's a good answer to this xD
10. Finally are there any last words you would like to share, perhaps to newer site members?
Strawberry pudding is better than sporks. New members and people who are noobs: quit using shitty CSS and HTML on your profile page. I blame BD for having no control over handing out baby step tutorials and instructions for people to make really terrible looking profile pages. Some look good, but they're all the same code. Some of you should go actually learn some basic HTML and CSS so you can have your own design instead of the same "click on my profile pic to change the text lols!" Anyone who has that besides BD is automatically a noob in my book. Also, always lurk more.
Featured Review: The Vampire Hunter, a Fantasy Adventure Story written by Wonko_the-Sane (Published 2009)
The Vampire Hunter is one of my favorite stories on the site, despite being underrated and under-played. It's a short game that can be played through in only a few minutes despite being seven years old, but it's tremendously entertaining. Although it has no real plot and it's setting is "Your bedroom in a world where monsters exist", in a tiny amount of time it manages to entertain through hilarious dialogue and options.
The game's paths are very short, so playing all of it is easy and definitely worth it. It's got a unique charm that's hard to find among games today.
The game's premise is simple. You're thrown into a situation where a Vampire Hunter has tracked you down, believing you to be a vampire. Whether he's right, whether you're a petrified guy who has found himself at the business end of a stake or whether you're something vastly more terrifying depends on the responses you pick. Each path has a different situation you're in, each managing to be entertaining and hilarious.
Humor is something that's rarely done well in storygames. Whether it's trying too hard, trying to be "LOLZSORANDOM" or just simply unfunny. This game does everything perfect. Every bit of dialogue and every path is hilarious. If you have any spare time at all and haven't played it, I'd definitely recommend giving this game a go. You definitely won't regret it.
Featured Short Story – High-Functioning by Steve24833
High-functioning drug addict. What a fucking ridiculous term. It was retarded when my mother called me it, it was retarded when my wife called me it, and it was retarded when I called myself it. I remember there was a checklist online about it, a bullshit checklist. Yeah, I used. Sure, I used a lot. Yeah, it was a thing that took time, so I planned my fucking schedule around it. But I did my job, I took care of my kids and I did everything right.
It's funny how the government works. I had a dad who abused whiskey, a mother who abused cigarettes and a wife who abused prescription pills, yet the government decided that my vice was the problem. All those pricks could go to their local fucking Walmart to get their cravings satisfied. My only choice? Sid fucking Ritchie.
I went to school with Sid. We didn't hang out or anything. He hung out with his crowd, I hung out with mine. He'd buy alcohol for us and occasionally sell us pot, but nothing else. I partied, but I wasn't an addict. I mean, I'm not now, but I didn't even use regularly back then. It wasn't until a few years I went hard. I mean, I was a lawyer. I drank a lot, to be sure. After a minor car crash, my doctor prescribed me these opiate things. They helped get through the day, to say the least. It wasn't until Sid ended up coming up in my client list that I finally went all the way. He was on some minor charge, vandalism, I think. He began supplying pills. I don't remember how or why, but soon, I was smoking heroin. I thought to myself, as long as I didn't begin injecting, I was better than the street trash clients I had to deal with.
It's funny, the "no injecting" idea probably ended up saving my life. When the virus hit, it spread fast. The cities fell quickly, as the dens of crime and poverty were havens for it. If you think AIDs spreads through those places quickly, you had to see this. The official name was the Russo-Jones Virus, but in short, it was zombiesm. Of course, there were differences. They didn't rot, they couldn't survive without a chest, they weren't fucking undead. They were basically victims of a sort of ultra-rabies. Most died from it, but a small few survived as the zombie freaks. Within three days, Cork was gone. I ended up holed up in my apartment with my family.
So that's where I'm at now. The kids are in the living room, watching some DVD with the headphones in. Power's out, but we've enough batteries to last another two or three days before their bitching makes me off myself. My wife's in the other room, crying. I'm not certain why, but I don't really care. The door's boarded and we have food; what does she have to worry about? No, I'm the one who's suffering here, not her.
I'm shaking like a fucking leaf, sweat's drenched my shirt and I feel like tearing off my head. I was meant to buy a bit more off Sid three fucking days ago. I'm fucking dying here. I can literally feel my body dying. I just fucking need a tiny bit. I'm not going to shoot up and lose my head, I just need a little to deal with the pain, so I can actually plan how to do what's best for my family. This isn't addiction, this is necessity. The worst part is it's so fucking close. It's so, so close.
I can see him. Standing outside my window down in the streets. His face is covered in a rash and blood, but I know it's Sid. I could recognize that bushy beard and massive coat anywhere. He's leaning against a wall, his head violently shaking and a stream of bile of puke slowly splashing from his mouth into his beard. He's screaming something, but it's gibberish. He's just another victim of the virus. I know where he keeps it. Inner coat jacket, left side, top pocket. He keeps all his shit on him. If I could just lure him towards me, I could maybe lower a noose or something...
I'm being ridiculous. If I make any noise, it'll be a frenzy. Right now the beasts are peaceful, slumped inside buildings or in alleyways. As soon as I make a noise, they'll all come running. As soon as they see each other, they'll get to beating the shit out of each other. Knowing my luck, Sid'll get killed and torn apart, and I'll have to end up in the same situation, except I'll have to dig through his remains rather than just get his jacket.
I look to the closet, where my golf clubs sit. I have a rope ladder in there with it, in case of fires. I could just climb out the window, lower down the ladder, get to the streets, nail Sid in the head and get the jacket. The infected wouldn't hear, my family wouldn't hear. By the time I've decided that that's a risky and ridiculous plan, the rope ladder's already been cast out and the driver's in my hand. It seems the years of using haven't been great for my impulse control.
As I drop down to the streets, there's a moment of quiet as the thump of my boots against the tarmac ends. There's a certain blissfulness to it all. No one around, no city noises. Just... calm. I slowly creak across the city, hiding behind cars to avoid Sid's attention. Then, I go for it. I run forward, as Sid's bulging eyes spot me. He opens his mouth to howl, before with I land a solid, powerful hit on his skull.. His head droops to one side as his tongue flops out. With a sigh of relief, I pull his arms out of his jacket.
Suddenly, he begins to shudder, screaming and howling as he attempts to fight, his arms still caught in the jacket. I hear his scream answered by dozens more, before I tear the jacket from him and smash his skull open with another blow from the club, ending his howls. Then, I run. I run as fast as I can towards the ladder as I hear the infected start to swarm. They run towards me as I leap up, grabbing the ladder and pulling myself up. I feel a hand grab me, as teeth sink into my ankle and I scream as another bites into my other leg. I scream, kicking the creatures off me as I pull myself up the ladder and out of their grasp, as they quickly began fighting each other. With a final tug I pull myself into the bathroom, collapsing against the door.
Shit. I'm infected. The fuckers got me. I try to stand, before collapsing, slumping against the door. I hear my wife calling.
"Sean! Sean? Are you OK? What happened?" she asks, presumably having heard the commotion.
She tries to open the door, but she can't, my weight keeping it shut. I feel pain course through me. The infection will soon set in quickly. I might die. I might turn. If it's the latter, my family will be trapped in the house with me... I need to end it. I reach up at the sink, fumbling for a razor, a pair of scissors, some...
Then, it hits me. I'm not sure what. The virus, or death, or natural chemicals... I feel my legs turn cold and numb as blood mixed with bile begins to drool down my face. I shudder, as I can feel the infection take hold. It infects quicker than I thought.
The darkening of my vision, the numbness of my body... it's all a familiar feeling. I relax, as my body warms again, closing my eyes. This... this is what I needed. I hear my family in the other room panicking, knowing I might soon turn on them... but I don't care. I'm OK... I'm content... I'm at peace... As the virus spreads throughout by body not unlike the beautiful white powder I was hunting for, I'm happy. I don't give a shit about family, or living, or anything. I let the drug that is the virus take over me, and the high consumes me.
Maybe... maybe I'm not that high functioning after all.
Special Section – We are Seven
Usually I put funny stuff here but with the launching of Bucky’s Ballads contest I decided to post one of my favourite Ballads, We are Seven (by the almost remarkably boring but extremely talented William Wordsworth) which was one of the poems published in his book Lyrical Ballads (1798) (co-authored with his friend and hard-drugs enthusiast Samuel Coleridge). Hopefully this will give people some fresh inspiration or ideas about writing their own Ballads:
LENGTH ALARM: This Ballad is long. Not for those short on attention span.
A simple child, dear brother Jim,
That lightly draws its breath,
And feels its life in ever limb,
What should it know of death?
I met a little cottage girl,
She was eight years old she said;
Her hair was thick with many a curl,
That clustered round her head.
She had a rustic woodland air,
And she was wildly clad;
Her eyes were fair and very fair,
Her beauty made me glad.
“Sisters and brothers, little maid,
How many may you be?”
“How many? Seven in all,” she said,
And wondering looked at me.
“And where are they, I pray you tell?”
She answered “Seven are we,
And two of us at Conway dwell,
And two are gone to sea.
Two of us in the churchyard lie
My sister and my brother
And in the churchyard cottage I
Dwell near them with my mother.”
“You say that two at Conway dwell,
And two are gone to sea,
Yet you are seven I pray you tell,
Sweet maid, how this may be?”
Then did the little maid reply
“Seven boys and girls are we,
Two of us in the chucrchyard lie,
Beneath the churchyard tree.”
“You run about my little maid,
Your limbs are all alive,
If two in the churchyard laid,
Then ye are only five.”
“Their graves are green, they may be seen,”
The little maid replied.
“Twelve steps or more from my mother’s door
And they are side by side.
My stockings there I often knit,
My handkerchief there I hem,
And there upon the ground I sit,
I sit and sing to them.
And often after sunset sir
When it is light and fair,
I take my little porringer (bowl)
And eat my supper there.
The first that died was little Jane
In bed she moaning lay
Till God released her of her pain
And then she went away.
So in the churchyard she was laid
And all the summer day
Together round her grave we played
My brother John and I.
And when the ground was white with now
And I could run and slide
My brother John was forced to go
And he lies by her side.”
“How many are you then,” said I,
“If they two are in Heaven?”
The little maid did reply,
“O Master! We are Seven!”
“But they are dead, those two are dead!
Their spirits are in heaven!”
I was throwing words away for still
The little maid would have her will
And said “Nay! We are Seven!”
Idea by Jaystarcat, Review and Short Story by Steve24833, Article, Interview and Special Section by Will11 and William Wordsworth, and Special Thanks to Ford for the interview this week.
Finally thank you everyone for taking the time to read this Review.
Fantastic review as always. ^-^
Great review, Will. Looking forward for next week's.
Brad > Ford
I was going to say something, but we don't need a war between those two xD
XD yes, we have a contest to attempt to finish, and I don't just mean the one Bucky made.
I got bored so we'll just have to settle for this instead.
Did you make this just for this occasion? Lol
Great review, as always.
Great job. These weekly reviews are amazing.
The Vampire Hunter seems like a popular game, seeing as it's been reviewed twice for this now xD
This is much better than anything by the major news agencies, Will. :)
Thank you so much for all the kind feedback :)
Amazing as always, Will.