January 4, 2012 12:01 AM | John Polson
Daniel Benmergui's IGF 2012 contender, Storyteller, is a puzzle of sorts, where players must put together the elements of a story told in a comic strip fashion. While Storyteller has origins that date back to 2008, Benmergui has reimagined and refined the game for 2012. Much like his previous successes of Today I Die and I Wish I Were the Moon, Storyteller left a deep impression, wrapped in a deceptively simple, pixelated appearance, playable with just a mouse.
As illustrated in the photo above, players are first given some text and are tasked with arranging icons to fit the story. Hovering over the icons below the strip gives players some hints as to how the icons can be useful to convey the meaning of the text.
Throughout the game, players will be introduced to a handful of characters at several stages in their lives and with several different personalities. These add chronological and psychological variables that must be manipulated to tell the story correctly. Storyteller also contains a few inanimate objects such as a treasure chest and cage to associate a wealth or imprisonment status, and I feel Benmergui could easily add several more objects to make for new story-puzzles before releasing the game.
Later in Storyteller, Benmergui introduces more mechanics like having to place text bubbles in the story. Even further on, certain comic cells become locked, preventing any text or characters from being changed. It's like being given all the details of one part of a story while having to construct the parts around it.
Some strips also have multiple solutions. There is even a heartbreaking story that has "classic" and "unconventional" arcs that may push a few social buttons, as the classic abandonment solution involves a heterosexual couple and the unconventional one involves a homosexual couple. However, it is worth noting that each male or female character I saw is free to fall in love with anyone and any gender.
Benmergui announced last year on his blog that the game would take about a year to complete, putting it at a late June 2012 release, for at least PC, Mac and iPad. While players have to wait a little while longer to experience Storyteller, Daniel Benmergui is going to share more about the game in an upcoming interview.