That video I’ve embedded above the first part of a great little documentary of Jason Rohrer and Chris Crawford meeting at the 2009 IGF. The rest of it is available on this youtube playlist.
A lot of the documentary is about Storytron, Chris Crawford’s impossibly ambitious 17-years-in-the-making toolset for creating “Storyworlds”, interactive fiction games about interacting with incredibly complex “actors”. These are games about people, rather than games about things – as the IFWiki puts it, “a Storyworld is more concerned with modeling actors’ actions and reactions and their emotions and inclinations rather than the game world geography or the mundane objects that populate it.”
Near the end of the documentary, Jason tells Chris that at some point, he’d really like to try making a storyworld. Chris tries to talk him out of it, but he did it anyway – Sleep is Death is essentially Jason Rohrer’s take on Storytron. It solves the hard AI problem by simply using another human player.
I’ve only really had two or three very satisfying games of it – I generally make a mess of things when I’m the storyteller, and it can be a very slow game to play as the active player – but I think it’s an absolutely incredible concept. I wish I’d thought of it myself!
Sleep is Death costs whatever you want to pay for it, and is available at https://sleepisdeath.net/.