What is Echo Bazaar? Well, The Guardian calls it“A beautifully moody and lusciously written faux-Victorian game.” The setting is an alternative 19th century London that exists a mile beneath the surface of the earth, where laudanum-sipping hedonists rub shoulders with romantic devils and rubbery squid-men. Echo Bazaar is an unholy combination of casual browser game, choose-your-own-adventure book and quasi-steampunk MMO. It’s the first project from developers Failbetter Games.
A lot of the social games on Facebook and Twitter are cynical time sinks," says the company’s Chief Narrative Officer Alexis Kennedy. "We wanted to build something that felt like a proper fictional experience in your coffee break."
Echo Bazaar isn’t like other browser games. Here’s why:
A Unique World. Slaying dragons? Rolling drunks for pennies? Boooring. In Fallen London, you can seduce clerics, write fungal poetry, wrestle tigers, lose your mind, sample hallucinogenic honey, gamble your soul, start a new fashion at the court of Queen Victoria, donate your body to science, get screamingly drunk and dress up as a giant bat...
Quality of Writing. The game contains more than a thousand fully realised stories and over a quarter of a million words of text with hundreds of different paths. The quality of this prose, and the power of the choices players make, has won consistent acclaim from players and critics alike.
Extreme Politeness. Echo Bazaar relies on its players for viral marketing, but the game always asks permission and never auto tweets. Additionally, players are completely free to edit their status updates in whatever way they like. Failbetter has a strong history of engagement with its loyal and enthusiastic Twitter base, and a comprehensive social media strategy to support it.
Meta-Characters Every major character in Echo Bazaar exists on Twitter for players to interact with. We are currently building a Facebook community page to extend this ARG activity onto the new platform.
Echo Bazaar has won tremendous acclaim for its blend of high quality writing, unique atmosphere and complex moral choices. The game’s ten thousand plus users have taken the world of Fallen London to their hearts, creating multiple fan fiction communities, themed parties and a dedicated internet radio stream. The move to Facebook has caused an outcry from some of these players, as ReadWriteWeb reports: http://bit.ly/dscUwg
"Twitter is our natural home,” says Alexis,“but we're growing and changing, and there are half a billion people on Facebook. We're looking forward to it."
NOTES FOR EDITORS
-Check out Echo Bazaar here: http://www.fallenlondon.com
-Failbetter Games was founded by Alexis Kennedy, a veteran software consultant, and Paul Arendt, a freelance illustrator and journalist. The company is based at 6 Mitre Passage, Greenwich, SE10 0ER., under the aegis of Ravensbourne's ERDF-funded 'Commercialising Digital Technology' scheme. http://www.failbettergames.com
-As of July, Echo Bazaar has over ten thousand users on Twitter, and a stickiness ratio (DAU/MAU) consistently over 50%. The majority of content is free, but player can pay for additional exclusive content and extra actions.
-If you would like to interview the makers of Echo Bazaar or review the game, just let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org We’ll arrange for some game currency for reviewers to get them started.
“Best Browser Game of 2009”– the Escapist Awards
The Escapist interviews Alexis Kennedy and Paul Arendt
Respected interactive fiction commentator Emily Short on Echo Bazaar
Radio 5 Live interview
Mention in the Guardian
Alice Taylor (C4 Education Commissioning Editor) discusses the game.
http://newly-nerfed.net/2010/06/01/a-delicious-friend-is-me (disabled gamers)