10❦ The More Seemly Professions

Oh, but you really must go and see them recite. The Versifier is truly… resplendent. You may have heard some cautions about joining their audience, but my advice? Throw caution to the wind! Give yourself fully to their words.

You may find yourself on loop for a night or so, unable to think of anything else… but it’s worth it, I promise. Also, Zielony is good’un, and deserves your business.”

If you could construct a Venn diagram of the topics about which I am most likely to GEEK, Matt Gemmell would land right there in the middle. Tonight we discuss Story as joy, as curative, as facilitator of connections — and what it means to order your life around its creation. Matt has recently published TOLL, the second novel in his KESTREL series.

I’ve also got an idea to float by you all — it’s a product I very-much wish to see in the world: a “Walking Simulator Simulator” that facilitates translation of a certain type of video game into a face-to-face dinner party. I’ll take some time to talk through the product design of such a thing at a high level — I’ve also got UI scribblings and implementation details in my mind. If you’re an iOS developer and this sounds like an interesting project to partner on, let me know.


Matt Gemmell (@MattGemmell)
Matt is the author of CHANGER and TOLL, the first two novels in his KESTREL series — EU-centric technothrillers with an element of conspiracy theory and fringe science. Read more about his work, or become a member for early access and regular writings, at MattGemmell.com.


Making Changes” was the January 2014 announcement of Matt’s decision to walk away from development, and devote himself to writing full-time.

Here is a selection of Matt’s favorite personal work (including the essay “Raw Materials”, which has stuck with me for years). He has also published a book of personal essays, also called Raw Materials.

If you’re interested in sponsoring Matt’s work directly, you can become a member for just a few pounds a month.

Matt’s writing coach and Labradoodle, Whisky, maintains an Instagram account as well.

Gone Home, by The Fullbright Company, is such a lovely game. If for some reason you’ve waited even longer than I to play it, you should rectify that situation. It’s been available for Mac, Windows, Linux, PS4 and Xbox One for years, but recently came out for iOS and Switch as well!

Now it just needs a release for Perambulation.

I would also be remiss not to mention “A Practical Guide to Gone Home by Ian Bryce Jones at Intermittent Mechanism. Spoiler-y, so don’t read until you’ve played, but it deepened my appreciation for the game and its storytelling.

Several thoughtful folks jumped in to this Twitter thread, in which I asked for ideas about how to run something like Gone Home as a TTRPG, to offer resources and ideas. There’s some really good stuff here.

Among others, I was pointed to TTRPG games and systems like GUMSHOE by Pelgrane Press, Bluebeard’s Bride by Magpie Games and Seventh Sea, Invisible Sun and the Instant Adventure format by Monte Cook Games; and video games including Dear Esther by The Chinese Room and CAPCOM’s Ace Attorney series.

In addition, there are a crop of indie and self-published artists who are experimenting with game concepts surrounding solo play or LARPs that lent flavor to my thinking:

Do take a moment to visit the links above, or purchase these game where you can. Each of these designers is brilliant.

In the end, I shifted away from the idea of telling a story like this as a TTRPG, and began seeking a very rules-light way to approach this… Which is what led me to the notion of an app for facilitation of the experience.


Gamers Giving logo: heart, inscribed on a d20, with angelic wings

This episode was sponsored by Gamers Giving (@gamersgivingco), a Denver-based 501(c)3 charity by gamers, for gamers. Gamers Giving organizes events and fundraisers which benefit members of the gaming community who have experienced tragedy.


Casey Ross (@caseyrawz)

Sound Effects ©2018 BBC

Monte Cook Games (@montecookgames)

Invisible Sun

Invisible Sun is the intellectual property of Monte Cook Games, with whom Zeros.Bar and the Secret Cellar have no affiliation.