Posts Tagged ‘outreach’

Last night at the Harold Washington Library we kicked off the Chicago Interactive Fiction Group with its first ever meetup. The attendees included Peter Nepstad and two newcomers: Edward Blair and Steve (forgot his last name). Steve is a complete lurker in that he reads Google Groups, but has never posted. Ed was at PAX East and was five people away from getting into the writing discussion, but made it into Get Lamp. He stopped by the IF Suite on Sunday, but it was so packed, he never came in.

We talked about a lot of things, but mostly on how to get more people interested in IF. Ed is very much into the indy zine/comic/music scene in Chicago and he has some great ideas. Peter has a table at the Printer’s Row Book Fair and will be selling 1893 again. There are indy bookstores in Chicago and the Chicago Underground Library that seem like good places to leave promotional CD’s and flyers.

One of the things that came up with the promotional CD is that we need to make it a dual Mac/PC CD. Even the PC side could use an upgrade from its current HTA (HTML Application) format.

The consensus was that we need to put as many games on CD’s as possible and hand as many out as possible.

We went out for a beer afterwards and I had someone take a picture, but it didn’t turn out for some reason.

Before the meetup, I stopped by the YouMedia center again and this time talked to Taylor Bayless, the gal that introduced Zork to the kids in a retro-gaming session. They do these on Mondays from 3:30pm to 5pm. I’m going to try to join in a session and show the kids Inform 7. She was excited about the idea of getting the kids to make their own games.

All in all it was a great start. Hopefully we can get more people to come down next month. Since Peter is going to be at the Printer’s Row Book Fair, there’s an idea of having the next meetup there, on a Saturday.

Remember to check the group’s website for more information.

In looking for meeting space for the new Chicago IF Group, I discovered a teen new media center called YouMedia. It’s a very large space with computers, couches, after school programs, and mentors. I dropped off the outreach IF CD with Brother Mike and hope to interact more with the program.

I chatted with a couple of the kids and they were pretty excited about playing new IF games. They knew about Zork, but didn’t know there were new games and tools.

More to come…

Updated 3-31-2010@9pm: Please see last paragraph on contributing…

In Boston we had a panel discussion about IF outreach and I’ve decided to take a proactive approach to this subject. Outside of marketing Textfyre, I’d like to help promote IF in general. I think of the things we can do is reach out to libraries. In order to do this, I think we need to drop off a sort IF Promotion Package.

I see the package including:

  • The IF Promotionall CD, and if we can get a Mac version, that would be great.
  • A Dozen of the IF Help Cards we had at PAX.
  • A single printed (color) page of each game on the CD. This would have the cover art, a blurb, and the standard basic help for an IF game. I would try to get approval from each author to finalize their game page.
  • An introductory IF newsletter that describes what people need to know in 4 pages about IF, including where to find more information.
  • A binder with cover art to bring it all together.
  • Possibly a small swag bag to hold it all.

The idea would be to bring a binder or bag to a new library every weekend, pitch IF to the librarian of your choice, and drop off the material.

We could also give the binder to teachers of course, if you find a way to do that.

I’d also like to mention that there is a Middle School convention in Baltimore in the first week of November. Textfyre may have a booth at this convention, but I’m open to having the booth be about Interactive Fiction and having Textfyre just be one of the sponsors and participants. If other people want to join in, I would welcome that.

I think we need to stop talking about outreach and start pounding the pavement. We need to go out and hand the stuff to people that might actually be interested. People that read regularly are very likely to be found in libraries and libraries all have computers these days.

I’m also working on the Follett angle, trying to get IF into school libraries, and I will share my progress as it happens there.

If anyone is interested in helping put all of this material together, please let me know. I have a SharePoint site I can give access to so we can collaborate. I just added an IFWiki Outreach page. Please visit and contribute.