Interview: Discovering “The Secret of the Mermaid,” a New Keepsake Game

Interview: Discovering “The Secret of the Mermaid,” a New Keepsake Game

There are many fun and interesting ways to make roleplaying games feel immersive, but my new favorite has been the “Keepsake Game” sub-genre, which has been gaining a lot of popularity since being pioneered by Shing Yin Khor and Jeeyon Shim a couple years ago. Keepsake games guide you through creating an artifact that’s an important part of the story, therefore immersing you, the player into the story as an important part of it yourself.

The Secret of the Mermaid is a brand new keepsake game currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter that aims to involve the player in a research project about mermaids via a series of beautiful and immersive postcards and ephemera. The game creators, American Kevin Dann and German Margit Schäfer, take immersion very seriously, fully taking on the roles of researcher Dr. Dann and ritualist Clarissa, who will guide the player through the game. We had a chance to chat with both of them about their vision for The Secret of the Mermaid.

4 sample postcards from the Secret of the Mermaid, depicting imagery of the sea, Rome and mysterious women

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Two Perspectives on Remember August

Two Perspectives on Remember August

In Shing Yin Khor’s Remember August, players exchange letters with a former friend who’s become unmoored in time. The live game was played by mail (or email, or digital files) in February 2022, with Khor sending out letters through the USPS that players could respond to and send back to themselves with the assurance that August, the recipient, would find and read them in their journeys through time. Rather than leaving randomness up to dice rolls or other typical game mechanics, Remember August used the postal service. Letters could arrive out of order or not at all, changing the narrative and the player’s response to it. (more…)

July Roundtable: Journaling Games

July Roundtable: Journaling Games

July, being the peak of summer here in the US, is maybe not the time when we’re at our most introspective. But maybe it should be! This month, we’re taking a look at journaling games, a genre of… well, we’ll call them physical games, because that’s what itch.io does. In these games, players use notebooks or their preferred writing format to respond to game prompts, sometimes ending up with an art object (a la keepsake games), sometimes with a great story, and sometimes just (just!) with a wonderful experience under your belt. (more…)

Sneak Peek: Postgame.10 – I’m Your Little Chicken Cutlet

Sneak Peek: Postgame.10 – I’m Your Little Chicken Cutlet

Welcome to Postgame, Sidequest’s monthly Patreon-exclusive podcast, where the editors lay down hot takes on cold games. We’ll be posting short excerpts from the podcast to the site as we release new episodes—if they grab you, consider tossing us a couple bucks a month to hear the full episodes! (more…)

Interview: Jeeyon Shim and Shing Yin Khor on Connected Path and Keepsake Games

Interview: Jeeyon Shim and Shing Yin Khor on Connected Path and Keepsake Games

Field Guide to Memory seemed to release at the exact time I needed it; it was fool’s spring up here in the Pacific Northwest, when the sun is out but the air is biting cold, and I was feeling tired and burned out from writing. What better to rekindle my creativity and drive me outside to look at birds and pick leaves than a journaling game about cryptids? (more…)