Today I release another game. We’re nearing three years since I’ve been home to the Philippines. Now, I’m far removed from the long comforts & routines I’ve come to know: 3AM masses before Christmas eve, Sunday mass with my thighs sticking themselves to plastic chairs under the 35C heat, picking high school crushes from the crowd amongst 1,000 other students on sports bleachers for First Friday Mass.
Play Bisita on Itch.io: https://chi.itch.io/bisita
Bisita is an interactive fiction “tour” and recollection of eighteen years of my life in the Philippines – the only intensely Catholic nation in Asia – and the devotion and routine that surrounded the Holy Week practice of the Seven Churches Visitation.
From sunrise to sundown, we’d walk or commute from church to church to pray the fourteen Stations of the Cross. This project was prompted by my Interactive Design Class, taught by Rosa McElheny. Here are some examples of “tours” on Are.na that we were looking at and thinking about while creating the piece.
- The experience is an Interactive Fiction-like piece, consisting of over 250 pages and 100 images (lifted from Google Street View).
- The most defining thing about the experience is that it’s not designed to be completable. When the timer ticks down, an end screen plays and you’re prompted to repeat again… With each replay, you speed through content you’ve already passed by quicker, as each step of the ritual loses meaning.
- But if the user breaks the game / hijacks the window and in turn, the routine, you arrive to see all the spaces you’ve reached in a stained glass window-like view of each station. (As pictured in the cover of the post.)
- This is likely the first release of Bisita. I still need to fix the language and poems on certain pages – a lot of them were written in a kind of rushed manner as I built the project and assembled the images and spaces together.
- I want to make each “replay” more rewarding and sickening. I try to make use of or respect default HTML element styling as much as possible, so what would it look like if each visited link was left in its active blue/visited purple state on the nth replay?
- There’s definitely a lot of influence here from escape the room style games and internet puzzles. Notpron by David Münnich as the most notable one (looking through old Notpron walkthroughs, dead links and all, is still one of my favorite activities). Aside from Münnich, I have definitely been replaying a lot of Increpare, particularly the HTML5 ones (he has great Twitch streams, by the way). Particular favorites are The Transgression and the recent Heaven on Earth.
After version 1
After sharing this with software-for-people.net – I’m interested in adding an element of seasonality to the experience. What if it’s only completable during Holy Week, and outside, the timer makes it so that you truly can’t get through the experience? What if Bisita was presented with accompanying materials, such as a zine or a video? There’s many compositions and poems that can be drawn here that we can make more use of. Some of the levels are really difficult and only solvable if you look through the source code (this is in the non-source code levels). What if people make walkthroughs? How does that change the practice?
And most of all, the experience was one that should be shared. So here it is.