FJORDS has been out for three and a half weeks. I started working on FJORDS on March 6, 2013, thinking I would finish it in 2 weeks, and 265 days later it has finally revealed the glinting edges of its true monstrous form.
FJORDS was originally developed for the SHARECART1000 compilation and the first version was unremittingly (and unintentionally) hostile and irrational. It’s better now, thanks to Many Many people. It’s been awhile since I’ve finished a game like this; the last Exploring Game I made was Mulder’s Totally Bogus (Rabbit) Journey, which felt similarly Vast and Untestable. So maybe this post is to prevent me from incidentally embarking on another sprawling Game Maker adventure.
The inspiration for FJORDS is particularly nebulous; I can think of exactly when I had An Idea (in between the ferry and the bus, on the way to work, it was raining) but the idea was effectively Boats! and Sometimes You Don’t Know Where To Go, and that could have been Anything. I was maybe thinking of Startropics, but not really Startropics, but what I remember Startropics was from the one time that I played it at a friend’s house when I was sleeping over: this vast, cruel game world and you have a wide variety of tools and a series of islands that you can’t get to until you Can, and that one room! you know! You enter the door and it’s just a LAKE and you DROWN and there is NO WAY TO NOT DROWN
FJORDS is a world that has grown up around all of the impossible doors and endless stairs and irrational foyers of other videogames, places that collapse as soon as they are offscreen, unlivable places. FJORDS is also, as near as I can make it, what it felt like to run Jumpman or Beachhead on my grandmother’s Commodore 64. FJORDS is taking the ferry to work every day for two years now (it is draining me, beautifully, but inexorably) in the early early morning, before the sun rises; FJORDS is walking through Lincoln Park and thinking about Dark Souls, Corrypt, Goblet Grotto, Crypt Worlds, Problem Attic, Streamerz, l’Abbaye des Morts, Like Every Video Game I Ever Played Really.
FJORDS has sold 249 copies. It has made $2150. That continues to be amazing to me. Thank you to everyone who has bought a copy, or bought a zine, or a tape; thank you to everyone who has talked or written about it. I’ve started work on FJORDS FOREVER, which exploits and mutilates many of the game objects and relationships currently present in the more obscure corners of FJORDS. My hope is that it will provide illumination for the careful SCIENCE EYE and amusement for everyone else. FJORDS FOREVER will be free.