What Fuwa Bansaku Found (Chandler Groover), released today through sub-Q magazine, is a free-verse ghost story set in an abandoned shrine in Sengoku Japan.

It’s another in Groover’s series of limited parser games. Movement is handled simply as advancing or retreating in and out of the shrine, and interaction, largely, consists of examining the things we find on our way inside.

Objects in the game always feature some response to being searched – we are always looking behind paper screens or searching the tall grass, looking for a ghost; there is always a dramatic pause. The writing in verse enforces a certain rhythm to the story and greatly eases the constant breaking of time and continuity it does – descriptions of immediate objects flow in and out of flashbacks. This is perhaps even gentler than Groover’s past work in terms of accomodating people who are not accustomed to the parser; almost every interaction is explicitly prompted by the game. It’s purely an exploratory piece, one made out mostly out of optional content.

It approaches dynamic fiction by way of the parser, focusing on rhythm and gentle affect rather than deep world modeling or interaction. It is, like most things on sub-Q, a small delight; though I found myself wishing, if not for diegetic agency, then for a little bit of affect, something to mark my passing through that space; it’s very much a story that situates all of its action in the past.

What Fuwa Bansaku Found can be played for free on sub-Q magazine.