The creators of Ice-Bound, Aaron Reed and Jacob Garbe, call it a novel of reconfiguration. It’s closest corollary is either Reed’s 18 Cadence or very unique works of fiction like House of Leaves.
It’s easy to say what Ice-Bound is not. It is not traditional IF.
It becomes more difficult to parse what the game is, as it defies explanation by simply creating it’s own sub-genre. Ice-Bound is an indie game, a work of electronic art where collaboration between the real world and the fictional is paramount. As the developers say in their Kickstarter video — it’s the games primary mechanic.
In keeping with the stated inspiration of novels like House of Leaves, Ice-Bound is a fragmented story. The stories nest inside of one another — the tale of an abandoned polar base, a dying authors notes, a confused AI that you must lead towards the truth. The story alone could be enough to sell you on this Kickstarter. But that isn’t all that the developers are offering.
One of the primary components of the game is a physical book — the author’s notes from an incomplete masterpiece. The game operates by having you show portions of the book to the camera on your Windows device or iPad, which gives the AI (the game) the ability to figure out more of the story. It’s a fascinating interplay of concepts that looks like it combines elements of Aaron Reed’s interactive non-linear experience 18 Cadence and Jacob Garbe’s Closed Room, Soft Whispers. The game is on the bleeding edge of emergent fiction and augmented reality experiences, and promises to be the next great experimental hit in the interactive fiction community.
The game is already funded, but there is still time to back the project before it concludes on November 5. $20 will get you a copy of the Ice-Bound Compendium (the physical component) as well as access to the game. You can find out more at the Kickstarter page.