Interview with Abigail Corfman

We did an interview with Abigail Corfman, the creator of Open Sorcery and Open Sorcery: Sea++, about her games (mainly Sea++), game development and games in general. Here's what she said:

1. Tell us a bit about you:

I am Abigail Corfman! I'm a white cis woman. I'm queer and polyamorous. I wrestle fairly effectively with anxiety and depression. I was born in New York City, my family is affluent, and I come from privilege. I freelance write and consult for larger game companies and sell my own games.

2. What were your favorite game or games when growing up?

I used to play King's Quest with my dad. I used my first brick of a laptop to play ZORK ZERO by myself.

3. When did you start making games?

About a decade ago. When I was a software engineer working in NYC.

4. What made you start developing games?

I found the game-making utility Twine and I fell absolutely in love. I've always been a writer I adore how it lets you blend words and gameplay seamlessly. So elegant.

5. Why did you decide to make this particular game (Open Sorcery: Sea++, or both games), what was your inspiration? How did you come up with the idea and story?

I made Sea++ as a follow up to Open Sorcery because I had such fun with the first game and I wanted to explore the medium more. Do more puzzles with words. Make environments suffused with feeling.

I enjoy games about identity and so Sea++ is an inverse of my first game--instead of creating an identity you are recovering a broken identity. It's a classic 'amnesia protagonist' situation with a slight twist in that your memories are physical collectables suffused with magic that can be assembled into spells.

6. What are your characters based on? For example real life experiences, movies etc. Who would you be in your game?

The protagonist of Sea++ is very close to me, but through a glass darkly. She has a more severe version of my own disability - Osteogenesis Imperfecta. We break bones very easily. A lot of her personality is wound around how she deals with feeling fragile and broken. The pain of slow recovery. The choices we make about how to deal with that pain, and what it turns us into.

7. How would you describe the style of your game(s) (art, story etc)?

It's Interactive Fiction, on the cusp of becoming a Visual Novel. I had an artist friend who did a lot of gorgeous illustrations for me. Most of the art is watercolor, which fits the aquatic theme of the game.

8. What are you most proud of about your game(s)/what do you like most about the game(s)?

I like the through-line puzzle I came up with where you have to recover broken memories and reassemble them by figuring out what order the words go in. I wanted to make puzzles with poetry, and I think in that I succeeded.

9. Is there anything you think could have been better?

Yes - parts of the game could be more intuitive. If I ever revisit it I'm going to add a mini-map and redo the Troll area.

10. Are you planning on making more games? What will your next game be about in that case?

Yes! I'm playing with an idea called 'That Terrible Brightness', which is cosmic horror centered around extremes of positive emotion. Bleed red petals on the altar of Joy. Cry wine as an offering for the Most Beloved.

But I'm currently focusing my energies on a game called 'Hearth & Holmes'--a game where John Watson desperately tries to cajole his dear, work-obsessed, reckless friend into exercising some level of self-care. Sherlock Holmes as an eccentric and uncooperative tamagotchi.

A big thank you to Abigail, for taking the time to answer these questions. It will be interesting to see what she creates in the future.

If you want to try her games, you can find them here.