Forces of Nature is an episodic fable with an environmental theme. Snow Night is the first episode in what could be a continuing series. Episodes in Forces of Nature are interactive fiction (IF) converted into a computer file read by a free program you can download called SUDS. Readers are directly involved in interactive fiction. They pick up and examine objects, have conversations with characters, and explore an interactive world. The reader chooses how to act and those choices have an effect on how the story proceeds. This format is similar to a "choose your own adventure" story. Snow Night was created and programmed by Charles A. Smith, a parent educator who is also a storyteller.
In Snow Night, the reader assumes the role of a young person caught in a furious snow storm. It begins with the following introduction:
How could you be driving a car in the middle of nowhere in a winter storm? Not exactly a smart move for someone as young as you. But you had to do it. After all, your mother said she needed to see you in person right away. "Urgent" she said. So how could you say no?
Your mother and father have been divorced now for five years. She has never demanded any great favor of you in the past. Whatever she needs to tell you must really be an emergency. So you jumped in your old car and went on your way.
You knew a storm was coming from listening to the radio. And you thought you could outrun it by taking this shortcut off the main highway. Smart you. The storm moved faster than what you thought it would. Now it has caught up to you and is pushing your car around on the icy road like a mad dog on a greasy bone.
You are committed now. Nothing left to do but go straight ahead and hope for the best.
For more information about Snow Night and SUDS, click here or on the tab above titled Episodes. Snow Night and SUDS can be downloaded at no cost.
Forces of Nature is designed for young people (9+ years) and their parents. Teachers or after-school program leaders interested in using interactive fiction in their programs and those who enjoy adventure games may also be interested in the story. This web site will have suggestions for both parents and teachers for using the story with children.
If you are interested in learning more about the design of Forces of Nature, visit the Features page. The Resources page includes an important keyboard command list (Guide) for the program as well as suggestions for both parents and teachers.