Journal is a dialog based narrative story game by Locked Door Puzzle released in 2014. The story follows a young girl who has discovered that the pages in her journal have gone blank and she sets out to try to find what happened to them. The game plays out as she talks to different characters in life, and asks them about the journal, and different interpersonal conflicts arise–her mother, her father, her classmates, teacher, priest. The game is a little bit of exploration as she walks around a larger area and finds new people to talk to with each level of the game, but mostly the game comes down to dialog choices. When her best friend accuses her of not being a good friend, does she apologize or deny it? When her teacher asks her if she cheated on a test does she own up to it or cover it up? Making the “right” choice doesn’t always produce a happy outcome–as with many things in life. As the game goes on she’s always kind of feeling her way around things that she doesn’t really want to remember.
When I first started watching anime I wasn’t too picky, because there wasn’t much available, so I watched a lot of genres that I wouldn’t anymore.
One of those early series was a direct to video supernatural action series called Ushio and Tora. It was fairly violent, but made tolerable by its endearing leads, the titular Ushio and Tora. Only ten episodes were animated, but the popular manga series eventually ran a whopping 33 volumes.
Fast-forward almost twenty years and in mid-2015 a new Ushio and Tora TV series was launched, spanning 39 episodes and covering the entire storyline. Despite being 20 years old, Ushio and Tora quite frankly doesn’t care and runs with with the same cheeky attitude (and wild hair!) that it did in the 90s.
I read thousands of fiction guidelines of all genres every year as part of my work at The Submission Grinder, in order to distill those guidelines down into their basic components for market listings. After reading so many guidelines I wish that there were guidelines that editors had to follow when they’re writing their guidelines pages. Writers can be criticized for using tired cliches, but editors would do well to turn that critical eye on their own guidelines.
Joker Game isn’t the series I thought it would be, but it’s not the series I feared it would be either, and that’s both good and bad.
The story starts in 1937, in the midst of Japan’s invasion of China leading up to WW2. Lieutenant Colonel Yuuki has started up a specially trained spy organization known as D-Agency. The men who have graduated its rigorous training are regarded as both mavericks and monsters for adhering to tactics that the prevailing military thinking at the time regards as cowardly or even sacrilegious.
The opening two-parter is a delicious start, with conventionally trained Lieutenant Sakuma arriving as a military liaison between D-Agency and the Imperial Army. Sakuma quickly gets caught up in a cat and mouse game between D-Agency and his own superior that ends the first episode on a glorious cliffhanger with no obvious way out.
“History,” spoke The University. Albert had no interest in History. Nor had he interest in Mathematics, Science, Language, Art, or any of the other schools of The University. But one did not question The University, let alone defy it. Tales skittered among the Uneducated about Accepted Candidates thrown back from the gates for a single […]
Diabolical Plots was open for its yearly submission window for the month of July. During that time, 803 writers submitted 1070 stories. This year, the maximum word count was raised from 2000 words to 3500 words, and this year instead of one story per month Diabolical Plots will publish two stories, for a total of 24 stories that will begin running in April 2017 which is when the Year Two stories have all been published.
Thank you to all the writers who submitted. You made the final choices incredibly difficult, which is a very good problem for an editor to have. If we had the resources to publish more right now, there would have been plenty of excellent stories to choose from.
OK, without further ado, here is the list of stories and authors and their publishing order!
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is probably one of the best mystery games I’ve played, but because its only US release was on the Playstation Vita, it’s hard to recommend to people. Fortunately, the 2013 anime is easier to find streaming, offering a more condensed version of the story for those unable to play the game, and it’s a surprisingly good adaptation.
Gravity Falls was a cartoon series that aired on Disney XD between June 2012 and January 2016 with a total of 40 episodes. The series was created by Alex Hirsch, who you might know as the creator of the cartoon series Fish Hooks. The series begins as 12-year old twins, Dipper and Mabel Pines, head to the small town of Gravity Falls, Oregon to spend the summer with their great uncle Stan (or, as he’s almost always called “Gruncle Stan”. Gruncle Stan runs a tourist trap outside of town dubbed the Mystery Shack, a curiosity shop claiming to reveal the secret weirdness of Gravity Falls, but really just revealing cheap props and tourist goods. But before they’ve been there long, Dipper finds a real secret, a cryptic journal buried in the back yard talking about secrets: zombies, demons, unicorns, and soon they have their first encounter with the town’s strangeness. Who wrote the journal? What does Gruncle Stan really know? What secrets is the town keeping? Dipper is driven to find out, with the help of Mabel, Wendy (his 16 year old crush who works part time at the Mystery Shack), and Soos (their 20-something friend who is employed as the Mystery Shack’s handyman and groundskeeper).