Big news from us! We’ve put together a three-way publisher consortium to take our digital adaptation of The Thirty Nine Steps to market in 2013.

A shot from Event 1 in The Thirty Nine Steps

King’s Cross in The Thirty Nine Steps

As you may know, we’ve been beavering away at making The Thirty Nine Steps for well over a year now – putting our hearts and souls into making what we hope will be a genre-defining piece of interactive storytelling. But the biggest hurdle is always getting the product to market in such a way that people know it exists…

Our publisher line-up puts a new twist on the above – and we think the deal is pretty groundbreaking. Why? Because we’re working with three different publishers, from different industries, for different platform releases – so reaching out to different audiences across the globe from core gamers to traditional readers.

So, cutting to the chase, this is who we’re working with:

  • Faber and Faber (one of the UK’s leading independent book publishers for App Store releases)
  • Avanquest (one of the world’s leading software publisher for PC retail release)
  • Kiss Ltd (brand-new, but packed with experience, for PC & Mac digital releases)

We also have a release date: Friday, 15th March 2013. Expect to see a lot from us over the coming months – and there may well be opportunities for you to get involve, and bag yourself a copy of the title before it hits the shelves!

Kings Cross concourse in The Thirty Nine Steps

Hope everyone is having a brilliant festive season (and if you get an iPad 4 from Santa, let us be the first to tell you that The Thirty Nine Steps looks incredible on that retina screen!)

Author: Simon Meek

It’s been a short while since our last post – so we figure that an update would be nice to keep you all in the loop as to our happenings.

Our digital adaptation of The Thirty Nine Steps is complete! And, we’re happy to say that it’s even better than we’d hoped: it is an adventure story that comes with the imaginative pull of reading, the emotional resonance of cinema and the freedom of gaming.

Screenshot from our upcoming The Thirty Nine Steps digital adaptation

So what now? We’ll, we are now in the process of bringing it to market – and this means tying up with just the right publisher to make sure that it this unusual product (a cinematic work of interactive fiction) gets the right exposure. The good news is, that if we do capture the world’s imagination as to this new form of interactive storytelling – as we hope we will – we have a short list of other incredible stories to start adapting. (And don’t forget you can add to our list by suggesting a title – just tweet or email us).

We have also been hard at work prototyping Adventures in Nonsense. This is a new breed of ‘interactive adventure’ that The Story Mechanics have been developing for some time, incorporating a pretty special ‘story blueprint’ system that allows us to superimpose level- and scene-narratives, so that the player feels part of an evolving story that is both driven by their actions and those of the NPCs and world about them. We’ll be putting together a post on this soon…

A screenshot from our Adventures in Nonsense prototype, showing part of a conversation Violet is having with the Pussycat in its pea-green boat

Apart from the above, we’ve also been developing a few new properties as well as polishing up a couple of old favourites that we feel the world is now ready for…. #North #DevilReturns #Dymaxion #Raffles

We’ll make sure to not wait so long for our next post!

author: Simon Meek

It’s important to share. So here’s our list of incredible gaming experiences from the past 30 years or so, with a mind to bringing to the surface some of those lesser known titles that we should all really have on our radar. (And okay, maybe you did know a few of these existed and may well have played them, but we needed a snazzy title for the post to get you here! But I’m willing to bet there are a few gems in there that you have never seen or heard of before.)

We won’t say too much about the games on this list other than we think their great – go watch the Youtube links (or the direct link to play) and make your own mind up. If you like what you see, go browsing and enjoy the journey! And let us know what you think (or if there’s something that should be added to the list?).

We’ve listed them by release order so as not to suggest favourites:

1) Deus Ex Machina (1984) – Automata UK

2) Jinxter (1988) – Magnetic Scrolls

3) Weird Dreams  (1989) – Rainbird Software

4) Dark Seed (1992) – Cyberdreams

5) Bad Day on The Midway (1995) – INSCAPE

6) The Dark Eye (1995) – INSCAPE

7) Sanitarium (1998) – DreamForge Intertainment

8) Starship Titanic (1998) – The Digital Village

9) Linger in Shadows (2008) – Plastic

10) Every Day the Same Dream (2009) – Molleindustria

Every Day The Same Dream (playable flash game)

Author: Simon Meek

We’re holding an innovation lab around the adventure game genre this week – and we hope to share the results. But, we would also love you to contribute. So here’s the agenda:

The Adventure Game LAB – 27 March 2012 (11-4pm)

  1. Testimonials (11-12.30) – all.
    The lab will begin by discussing the notion of adventure (what makes an adventure?) and revealing the participants’ greatest adventure experiences.
    Come prepared with two things:
    – your greatest adventure experience (of all time: book/film/game/life)
    – your greatest adventure game
    WIKI WORDS: exciting, unusual, bold, risky, uncertain, dangerous
  2. The Great Debate – are adventure games good? (12.30-1.45) – groups.
    The room will be split (for and against), and informal 10 minute presentations prepared for the other side by means of the great debate. Examples can be given via YouTube etc. What genre is discussed will be randomised.
    Up for grabs: point-and-click graphic adventure games; interactive dramas and abstract adventures; action adventures; RPGs.
  3. EAT (1.45-2.10)
  4. Audiences (2.10-2.30) – all.
    Who plays adventures games anyway? And why do they play them?
  5. We the audience (2.30-2.45) – all.
    Why do we play adventure games?
  6. Little bits of fun (2.45-3) – all.
    Identify the best content features (characters, locations, plots etc) that exist in adventure games today. Shouts outs, then democratic voting to work out what is the greatest.
  7. A better adventure game (3-3.40) – groups.
    A review of what’s been discussed. Then we will attempt to take our thoughts and filter them into some form of logic.
    So, what is good, what is bad, where is there room for change, is there anything which is just broken? With any luck, we’ll get a list that will prove as a good foundation for ‘a better adventure game’.

And that’s our ambitious schedule. We’ll do our best to Tweet the headlines, but please do drop us your thoughts beforehand if you want to throw your ideas into the mix.

Author: Simon Meek

So, we asked which of you might like to get your name in The Thirty Nine Steps – making gaming immortality via the letter boxes found in Hannay’s apartment (or elsewhere!) – and here’s what you replied:

Stephen C Kenyon:
Pick me! As… “I know what it is to feel lonely and helpless and to have the whole world against me, and those are things that no men or women ought to feel.” And I wouldn’t feel like that if I was in the 39 Steps!

also Pick me or I’ll set Mr Memory on you

Leonard Flounoy:
I SO want to be in the #digitaladaptation of#39steps! I can be the guy that dies before Scudder or something XD

David Bishop:
I want to be in the #39Steps – please put my name on a letterbox, gravestone, etc. Make me semi-immortal

In-game shot from The Thirty Nine Steps

Jay Bushman:
I want to be in the game because it’s a brave new storytelling world.

Christophor Rick:
Hey @storymechanics put me in #39steps please! But be sure to spell my first name right since it’s less common!

Mark Boon: 
I want to be in the game cause my surname is weird and rare

Chris Cassell:
Sir, I would like to be in this game because that rotter Hannay in the flat above has kept me up all night with his noisy shenanigans! I wonder what the dickens is going on? Plus I own a pipe.

Emma Lewis:
Because it’s genuinely the greatest project that I’ve ever (very briefly) worked on.

A screengrab from The Story Mechanics' digital adaptation of The Thirty Nine Steps

Consider yourselves included – we’ll fit you all in somewhere! Thanks again for your support and interest in our digital adaptation of The Thirty Nine Steps.

Author: Simon Meek

Where is the adventure game today? What are the genre’s strengths and weaknesses? What’s next for the format, and where do we go from there?

The Story Mechanics is passionate about the adventure game genre – past, present and future – and has put the wheels in motion for a ground-up redesign that will result in a better adventure game. A pretty lofty ambition, we know, but we feel up for the challenge!

Concept Art fro Adventures in Nonsense

Concept Art for The Story Mechanics' Adventures in Nonsense adventure game project (all rights reserved)

The initial idea is to host a lab exploring the best and worst about the genre, exposing its strengths and weaknesses, and from there the opportunities that exist to improve the experience. The results of this lab will then be shared for interest’s sake and, hopefully, generate further feedback.

So the question is, do you want to be involved? Are you passionate about the adventure game genre? We are holding our first lab on the 27 March 2012 and invite anyone who can make it to Glasgow to come along (let us know first

If you aren’t in the neighbourhood, but still want to be involved, drop us an email ( and we’ll do our best to gather your thoughts and input them into the day’s discussions.

We intend this lab to be the first in quarterly gatherings that should result in genuine insight and innovation around gaming, storytelling and interactive entertainment.

Author: Simon Meek

Now here’s the thing: we’re putting the finishing touches on our digital adaptation of The Thirty Nine Steps and we’re realising that we’re adding character names outside of those in the book or the world in which the book is set.

For instance, Richard Hannay lives in a pretty swanky apartment near Portland Place in London (England), and we know he has his own letter box – as does our American spy Franklin P Scudder (though not under that name). One or two additional characters in this apartment are plot points, but that still leaves us with around six names to fill…

In-game shot from The Thirty Nine Steps

The Story Mechanics' digital adaptation of The Thirty Nine Steps: Richard Hannay's apartment foyer

So the question is, would you like to have your name in the game – as an occupant in Hannay’s apartment, quoted in the newspapers or in other print media that may appear as part of the narrative? We can’t guarantee that you will be alongside Hannay saving Europe from the apocalypse, but you could claim to be his neighbour!

To have a chance of appearing in The Thirty Nine Steps we need you to make yourself known to us. Twitter works (@storymechanics) or Facebook (/pages/digital-adaptations) – just drop us a post telling us that you want to be in the game (and tag #39steps and #digitaladaptations if you will). There’s six spaces, so do a good job at convincing us that you should be in there.

Author: Simon Meek

Ahead of the June release of The Thirty Nine Steps, a question that is often thrown our way and deserves a response is: What exactly is a digital adaptation? Here’s a few answers.

There’s a selection of great articles and blog posts that have had a stab at this:

And there’s been some excellent comments about what we’re doing:

  • “This whole contextual reading idea sounds like a wonderful idea to help bring stories to life more,” astrodabu
  • “I think it’s best to look at it as a new medium, “Exploratory Novels” or something like that… I think this is the first step in what will turn out to be a new and exciting medium of interactive fiction, which I, for one, am looking forward to,” IronSyndicate

And here’s how we like to say it:

  • Digital adaptations are interactive remakes of the greatest works of fiction.
  • They use location as its storytelling canvas, where audiences are fully immersed in the world of the book and are given a unique set of tools to discover its story in a completely new way.
  • So, while books let you experience its story from the outside in, a digital adaptation lets you experience this story from the inside out.


Author: Simon Meek