INTERVIEW: Chris Avellone, author of “<endgame>”

Chris Avellone, author of “<endgame>,” discusses the background of his story in this interview featured on SF Signal:

You mention that was inspired from the Infocom game, The Lurking Horror. Your story touches on a number of fears –isolation, helplessness, stagnation, death. It speaks to readers on a very intimate level. What of your own fears did you put in the story?

I’m glad the fears in the story hit home, it was a personal experience, and it sticks with me to this day. One of the most terrifying things about The Lurking Horror was how little you could do and worse, how much you could imagine when something was crawling after you–the limited options, the claustrophobia of the interface, the sheer lack of freedom to move (and more importantly run, because boy, did you want to run screaming out of that game), all of these things were pure nightmare fuel. The reminder of feeling trapped by the program parameters (literally, the text fields and directional movement) kept resurfacing after playing the game and really touched on what drove my anxiety in that title—and that’s a testament to the strength of the game.

Over the years, I would sometimes catch myself examining my surroundings from an adventure game verb-noun format, and I blame The Lurking Horror for leaving that emotional scar. The short story was a perfect way to express that terror and anxiety from someone experiencing the reverse—the protagonist, Warren, is only “free” when immersed in the game, and the story explores all the dangers that holds for him.

Read the rest at SF Signal!