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If you've never played Fallen London, you're missing out on an interesting experience.
Formerly known as Echo Bazaar, it's a role-playing game, but not in the usual sense; rather than following a predefined story, you're cast loose into a hugely atmospheric but almost entirely text-based world and challenged to find your own way. By taking on numerous challenges and following various intertwining plot threads, you'll find out more about the world and its strange characters -- and you'll grow in strength and power yourself, too.
Developer Failbetter Games is a big proponent of the idea that games can tell fascinating, deep and meaningful stories, and besides Fallen London also runs the hub site StoryNexus, in which anyone can sign up and create their own Fallen London-style experience for free. They've also collaborated with British broadcaster Channel 4 to produce Machine Cares, an experience aimed at teens struggling with various social issues, but which remains surprisingly poignant even to old farts like me.
It's Fallen London that remains the company's most successful, most well-known property, though. Its distinctive steampunk setting and almost palpable air of mystery and menace is utterly compelling and hard to tear yourself away from after a while. Now, in order to support that story and setting, Failbetter has launched an official Fallen London comic.
The current story follows the adventures of Sophia, an "academic with a dark secret," and Soap, an "unfinished clay man." Together, they hunt monsters -- though in the world of Fallen London you can never be quite sure if this is meant in a literal of figurative sense.
The Sophia and Soap story A Pinch of Snuff is set to last for six pages in total. The first two are available to read online now, with the rest to follow throughout the week. Failbetter is keen to get feedback on the comic, too, and presumably will look at producing more if said feedback is positive.
If you like what you see, be sure to give the game a go, too.
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