Language of Origin
June 5, 2012 2:24 PM   Subscribe

"You are a junior spelling champion. Your parents have been teaching you at home since you were four." Bee: a choose-your-own-bittersweet-coming-of-age novella by Emily Short.

Bee is one of the pilot books for Varytale, a new interactive fiction platform from the creators of Echo Bazaar.
posted by Iridic (36 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Emily Short is cited in the metafilter thread relating to Echo Bazaar. She gives a glowing review of the game. Is this what interactive fiction means? Does Emily Short even exist?
posted by tigrefacile at 2:39 PM on June 5, 2012


Emily Short is an extremely talented member of the Interactive Fiction community. A big win for the Varytale guys.
posted by demiurge at 2:42 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I've played Emily Short's very good games and heartened by how this looks a lot more promising than an earlier enterprise to come out of the IF scene: Textfyre.
posted by steinsaltz at 2:45 PM on June 5, 2012


Okay, not an environment I'm familiar with, but is Emily Short a person or a collective or a what?
posted by tigrefacile at 2:46 PM on June 5, 2012


She's a person: Emily Short's webpage.
posted by demiurge at 2:52 PM on June 5, 2012


Emily Short was hired not so long ago to provide story services for Second Life of some kind too
posted by Bwithh at 3:20 PM on June 5, 2012


Emily Short is a real person, although that's not her real name.
posted by baf at 3:45 PM on June 5, 2012


I don't know that waiting 10 minutes between chapters is really the right setup for this kind of storytelling.
posted by jeather at 3:52 PM on June 5, 2012


“You have safe search on, I trust,” says Mother, looking over your shoulder.

Yes. Always. Though if there are unsafe images of impalas out there in the world, you doubt they would tempt you to lustful thoughts.
This is AMAZING.
posted by corb at 4:11 PM on June 5, 2012


Emily Short is one of my idols of the Internet. Her work is delightful.
posted by winna at 4:27 PM on June 5, 2012


I don't know that waiting 10 minutes between chapters is really the right setup for this kind of storytelling.
posted by jeather at 3:52 PM on June 5 [+] [!]


Might be a temporary server issue. I has had a couple of times when I had to wait a couple of minutes but otherwise it was a smooth experience

This is great as a story experience ( with flaws - why the repeated scenes?) Emily Short is very talented
posted by Bwithh at 4:28 PM on June 5, 2012


When I read it, there was a 10 minute refresh between story point refreshes, and you could have a max of 10 at a time, so after 7-10 chapters (some stories took 2 points), you were on a 10 minute delay. It looks like that's gone now, so I'll probably try reading it again.
posted by jeather at 4:41 PM on June 5, 2012


Does it end? I keep getting the same 3 prompts over and over again.
posted by codacorolla at 4:49 PM on June 5, 2012


Yes, though I've only been able to get to the Cain ending. There are three, apparently.
posted by corb at 4:57 PM on June 5, 2012


I reached an ending too, though it was somewhat unsatisfying.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:19 PM on June 5, 2012


Was it the one that said "Cain" underneath it? I'm curious to see if we collectively can get all of them.
posted by corb at 5:29 PM on June 5, 2012


Yeah, that was the one I got, too. I just got it again. First time, I played her as the perfect daughter, second time as a total slouch and same result both times. Heh.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:46 PM on June 5, 2012


I managed to get the "Corridor" ending. I played the slouch, and lost the local bees on purpose.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 5:56 PM on June 5, 2012


I think I got "Down the Corridor of Years" unless that's just the name of the last chapter. I played myself, which is very sad.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:04 PM on June 5, 2012


I got Cain, too, and Down the Corridor of Years by working hard at pissing off Lettice. I don't know what the other is, I guess if you win the bee?
posted by jeather at 6:11 PM on June 5, 2012


Just got the corridor ending, too. Yes, pissing off Lettice seems to lead to that. If anyone gets the third ending, let us know.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:26 PM on June 5, 2012


I don't think you can win the bee. My guesses are either something with Jerome, or Mrs.Barron and her family? Eventually your isolation gets you wondering about a boyfriend, but I can't get anywhere from there. And Mr. Barron can interfere with your parents, but that also doesn't seem to go anywhere.
posted by corb at 6:45 PM on June 5, 2012


I followed the Barron storyline to its end, but it wasn't an end to the story. I have a feeling it has something to do with her relationship with her parents.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:54 PM on June 5, 2012


I got a Cain ending twice...grrr
posted by subversiveasset at 6:55 PM on June 5, 2012


The first chapter is called "How It Will End" and the subtitle is "The end is in the beginning."

The beginning of that chapter is "Sooner or later you’re going to lose." So I suspect you can't win.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:23 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I got a "Corridor" ending, and it actually seems like a decent resolution to the story.
posted by codacorolla at 7:30 PM on June 5, 2012


It seems that if you study too hard, you'll progress through the story too quickly. You can't lose too much, but you can't win too much either.

Back for another round...this is strangely addictive.

I think I'm hoping for an ending that's happy...
posted by corb at 7:33 PM on June 5, 2012


Wow. The chapter about gur frpbaq gevc gb gur fnyba knocked the wind out of me when I found it.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 7:48 PM on June 5, 2012


This is fantastic. As a spelling bee kid who was a little too into God for a while...phew. Awesome. Thanks for sharing!
posted by town of cats at 9:18 PM on June 5, 2012


As a home-schooled spelling bee child of Southern Baptists who almost made it to the nationals, that was like reliving part of my childhood. Except that my parents weren't quite that far off the rails, and I have a younger brother, rather than a Lettice.
posted by syzygy at 2:31 AM on June 6, 2012


I tried twice, using different responses and got the Cain...fail at Bee both times and couldn't face the logic loops another time to try and get a different end. So, Cain ending; you fail, nobody else cares you came in second which causes existential angst. What does the corridor ending do? Has anyone gotten anything but those two?
posted by dejah420 at 5:56 AM on June 6, 2012


The corridor ending is that you go to public school and are miserable, stop doing spelling bees, and Lettice develops skill as an artist.
posted by jeather at 6:13 AM on June 6, 2012


Alternately, in the corridor ending, you can join Jerome and Flauberta in their "unschooling" and end up having one of the best school years that you can remember. You have to get close enough to their family first, though.
posted by spaet at 10:56 AM on June 6, 2012


Yeah, there are three corridor endings as near as I can tell. In one, its just you that goes to public school. In two, you and Lettice both go to public school (mom goes back to work). In three, you join Jerome and Flauberta and everything rocks.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:23 PM on June 6, 2012


'from the creators of Echo Bazaar'

Folks, I'd love to take credit for a great piece of tech, but we didn't build Varytale, Ian Millington did. We contributed ideas and we've helped promote it, and our profile is higher than Ian's so we keep getting credited.

If you're experimenting with endings, then do note you can duplicate bookmarks (i.e. save states) by clicking the bookmark UI element at top left.
posted by alexiskennedy at 1:48 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, there are three corridor endings as near as I can tell. In one, its just you that goes to public school. In two, you and Lettice both go to public school (mom goes back to work). In three, you join Jerome and Flauberta and everything rocks.

I got the last one, and was pretty satisfied with it.
posted by codacorolla at 7:06 PM on June 6, 2012


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