Shakespeare and Ryan North in Digital Form!

it's much harder to hold this trumpet than it looks In case you missed it, Ryan North’s To Be or Not To Be has been released! Currently available on Steam and Humble, and coming soon to iPhone, iPad and Android devices, you get the opportunity to TOTALLY REWRITE Shakespeare’s play. And fill it with ghost revenge, party boats, and stabs.

So many stabs.

We’ve had some great coverage already, including Destructoid, PC Gamer and Rock, Paper, Shotgun, which is pretty awesome! Fifty Kickstarter backers of the original print book were lucky enough to receive copies of the game, so if you backed it, you may be playing it right now!

Otherwise, what are you waiting for? Grab it!


How I ended up living in Tolkien’s Farmer Giles of Ham.

FarmerGilesHi there, this is Neil, original founder of Tin Man Games. Firstly, my apologies as I’m afraid this is quite a self-indulgent blog entry, but one I’ve been wanting to write for some time now. I was wandering around the local Oxfam shop the other day and happened upon the book you see on the left. The “this is fate!” side of my nature told me that perhaps now would be the right time to put down some words and tell the story of how a boy from the shire (Buckinghamshire to be exact, although just a few miles down the road from Oxfordshire so as to hail Oxford as my center of influence) suddenly found himself living within Tolkien’s universe.

I don’t claim to be a Tolkien expert by any means. I’ve read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings a couple of times each and have an unread The Silmarillion sat on my bookshelf behind me, but something about Peter Jackson’s recent films never quite sat right with me. Don’t get me wrong, I love them, especially the LOTR trilogy, of which I own the super-extended high-res quadruple disc versions (a slight exaggeration for comedy effect). No, it’s not that they are not great cinematic adaptations, it’s more that they don’t appear to be set in Middle Earth. Well not the Middle Earth I recognise anyway, in particular a Shire that I recognise.

oakleyI did a lot of my growing up in the village of Oakley during the 1980s. A small place in the middle of nowhere, or so it seemed to me as a kid. There were two pubs, one shop, one post office and one bus a week to Oxford. These days even most of those are gone now sadly.  I’d read The Hobbit after loaning it out of from the visiting library bus that used to appear on a Thursday after school. I naturaly fell in love with The Shire and the darkness of Mirkwood and it started me on a grand journey through Fighting Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons and beyond. A familiar tale for any UK kid who was into fantasy stuff in 80s! After receiving a Grifter (a big chunky black bike) one Christmas I used to bomb around the country roads, following the hedgerows and taking shortcuts up public footpaths that followed the edges of farmer’s fields. When I was brave enough I would head into Bernwood Forest and get myself lost on the trails, freaking myself out as the darkness of the woods closed in ominously around me. I could have sworn there were giant spiders in those trees, but I also knew a hoom, hum a hum hoom hoom from the locals would keep them at bay! bernwoodTo me this was Middle Earth, a very English setting with century old oak trees and a density of history surrounding me in the forms of iron-age burial mounds (barrow wights anyone?) and 400 year old thatched cottages with many stories to tell. Seeing as Tolkien lived and worked just down the road in Oxford, I think this was the image in his head too, at least of Bilbo’s home. I’m not sure he ever went on holiday to New Zealand.

The_Eagle_and_ChildSo I have two links to Tolkien that I am quite proud of. Firstly I’m going to leave Oakley for a moment and cast my eye across to the city of Oxford where Tolkien was a University Professor. During the mid 80s my Mum became pregnant with my younger brother and invited my cousin to come and stay to help her out. My family originally come from the north-east of England and my mother was the first to migrate south in the 70s. As my cousin settled in, her parents, my Aunty and Uncle, also decided to head south. They had been running pubs for many years and ended up taking on a very famous pub in Oxford called The Eagle and Child! Tolkien-mad me was more than a little excited as this was the famed meeting spot of The Inklings, a writers group that included Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. My older brother got a job as a chef at the pub and I found myself most Saturday afternoons hanging out in the Rabbit Room, eating steak and guinness pie with chips, under plaques that showed this was the room the Inklings used to hang out in. I even stayed in the pub a number of times, glass collecting mostly as I was too young to do much else. As an aside, if you ever visit, have a look in the rafters above the bar and you might just spot a large ceramic eagle that once belonged to me. Eagle_and_Child_(interior)My Uncle gave it to me when I was very young and asked for it back when they took the pub on so he could display it behind the bar. After they left some years later, the eagle stayed. I drunkenly once asked for it back one evening about ten years ago. Needless to say they didn’t believe me and it remains there to this day – I think!

One other fond memory that only came to me just now as I began writing this, is introducing my now Wife to two of my good friends at the time over lunch on that table in the photo above, situated on the left. One of those friends is sadly no longer with us, so that actually just caught me unawares a little. Happy days indeed. Good memories. 🙂

ham_01And so, back to my second link to Tolkien and one that involves the very book that I mentioned at the top of this blog post and in particular a certain Mr. Aegidius Ahenobarbus Julius Agricola de Hammo. I’d read The Hobbit and probably at least attempted The Fellowship of the Ring, before finding Farmer Giles of Ham on the library bus. I casually thought it to be another Hobbit-like fantasy yarn and instead found a charming medieval tale of a farmer turned reluctant hero, who found fame fighting a giant followed by the mighty dragon, Chrysophylax Dives. I remember really enjoying it, picturing the story taking place in the surrounding fields and countryside that I felt illustrated Tolkien’s imagination. And then I happened upon this paragraph:

The next day the dragon moved to the neighbouring village of Quercetum (Oakley in vulgar tongue). He ate not only sheep and cows and one or two persons of tender age, but he ate the parson too. Rather rashly the parson had sought to dissuade him from his evil ways.

This was quite exciting thought I. A village called Oakley was included in one of Tolkien’s books – what a coincidence! Not only that but it was the neighbouring village to Ham, the home of Farmer Giles. Wouldn’t it be strange if there was somewhere called Ham close to Oakley in real life? I continued to read and then something very unusual happened, I then came across this paragraph near the end of the story:

Now those who live still in the lands of the Little Kingdom will observe in this history the true explanation of the names that some of its towns and villages bear in our time. For the learned in such matters inform us that Ham, being made the chief town of the new realm, by a natural confusion between the Lord of Ham and the Lord of Tame became known by the latter name, which it retains to this day; for Thame with an h is a folly without warrant.

ham_02So Ham was renamed to Thame, pronounced Tame as in the ‘Th’ in the River Thames – certainly a folly without warrant. As Thame is a town just a few miles down the road to the village in which I lived, this pretty much confirmed Oakley in Farmer Giles of Ham as being one and the same! As you can imagine, twelve year old me (I could have been younger) was rather blown away. Even though I was pretty sure, I needed some more proof:

Whereas in memory of the dragon, upon whom their fame and fortune were founded, the Draconarii built themselves a great house, four miles north-west of Tame, upon the spot where Giles and Chrysophylax first made acquaintance. That place became known throughout the kingdom as Aula Draconaria, or in the vulgar Worminghall, after the king’s name and his standard.

Tolkien even goes on to describe the residents of Worminghall as now calling it Wunnle, which is interesting as I remember the local acting group being called the Wornall Players and wikipedia even confirms that the locals call it Wornall or ‘Wunnle’. I will look into it in more detail the next time I am back in the shire. 🙂

mapAnd so there we have it, Tolkien chose my middle of nowhere part of the world as the center stage for his tale of Dragon taming. You may be reading this thinking it’s not that special, but for me, at the young, influential point in my life where I was and where I now find myself making fantasy stories for a living, it was really quite important. This is why New Zealand can keep it’s stunning bright green fields and epic vistas, as for me much of Middle Earth is very English and a place of deeper, earthy greens and browns surrounded by tangled bramble bushes and feeling that at any moment I might just happen upon a dirty old dragon, who wandered too far south looking for local parsons to munch on.

You can find out more about Farmer Giles of Ham here on the wikipedia page and here at Tolkien Gateway. I really recommend hunting down a copy too if you can find a copy!

(Hopefully this blog post reads well. I have been surrounded by post-Christmas excitable/tired children so it’s been quite testing as you can imagine!)

Book illustrations above credited to Pauline Baynes from the Unwin paperback, published in 1975. All photos shared under Creative Commons.

A Very Humble Forest of Doom

The Forest of Doom
Here’s a nice end to the year! The Forest of Doom is available in this week’s Humble Weekly Bundle, all themed around RPGs! You can grab the Fighting Fantasy classic by simply beating the average, and blag yourself some other great RPG games as well:

The Humble Weekly Bundle RPG Edition has now ended!
Aside from The Forest of Doom, you can also pick up:

  • Skara – The Blade Remains: Compete for what’s left of Skara by engaging in fast paced, hand-to-hand combat that rewards skills, not stats.
  • Alpha Kimori – Episode One: The first in a trilogy of bright and colorful Japanese-inspired story-driven 2D Role Playing Games, which feature an intricate action-adventure epic story with a delightful mix of sci-fi and fantasy elements.
  • Avadon 2: The Corruption: Serve the keep of Avadon, working as a spy and warrior to fight the enemies of your homeland. As a servant of the Black Fortress, your word is law.
  • Consortium Taking place entirely aboard a massive futuristic aircraft, CONSORTIUM is a first person science-fiction role-playing experience unlike any other.
  • Fighting Fantasy: The Forest of Doom: Ian Livingstone’s legendary Fighting Fantasy gamebook, featuring modern and retro modes, auto-mapping, and realistic dice rolling as you play!
  • Deep Dungeons of Doom: Dungeons await, each one deeper, each one more perilous, and each one more challenging than the last.
  • Halfway: A turn-based strategy RPG taking place a few hundred years into the future. Humanity has begun to colonise new worlds and until now, they were alone…

A great collection of games, just in time for the holidays. And part of your purchase goes to charity, too. That’s pretty awesome!


A PINteresting Update

Okay, great, that’s the pin pun out of the way. Now for the exciting news! We’re very pleased to announce that Tin Man Games will be part of this year’s Pinny Arcade at PAX Aus! We’re proudly standing alongside awesome companies like Microsoft, Sony and Wizards of the Coast! Wow!

Pinny Arcade Pins

Getting your pin is easy! Simply visit the Tin Man Games booth during PAX Aus and purchase it from us, and we’ll give you a game, too! Pretty cool! Be sure to have a go of Appointment of FEAR while you’re there, which we’ll be featuring at the booth.

We look forward to seeing you all at PAX Aus very soon.


September is upon us! Originally the seventh month in the Roman calendar and derived from the word Septem, the latin word for seven, September is always one of those months which heralds a feeling of change. Change has certainly been on the cards for us here at Tin Man Games as we’ve started taking quite bold steps into new territories. With Appointment with F.E.A.R. we’ve left the comfort zone of our gamebooky interface and also jumped into Steam for the first time, we’ve released our first ever $10 four-gamebook collection in the form of The Complete Sagas of Fire*Wolf, and we’ve jumped into iOS 8 with both feet by releasing our gamebook apps into value bundles.

Nothing to fear but F.E.A.R. itself

vlad_utoshAnd so with excitement and trepidation, we released Appointment with F.E.A.R. last month, and what a ride it turned out to be! Our first release using our new gamebook engine that Tin Man Ben (Britten) has been beavering away on for so many months and a major technical stepping-stone for future releases. A few commentators suggested it was our reply to Inkle’s recent Sorcery! apps, but in reality it was more about us testing our toes in the water of our new tech, whilst also being able to give a gamebook the treatment it truly deserved. AWF cried out for a more visual treatment that suited the comic book genre and was one of the reasons we sat on it for such a long time, waiting until the time and the tech was right. If people really want to pit us against the guys at Inkle (and to be honest both them and us find it amusing to be the Oasis and Blur* of the digital gamebook world) then The Warlock of Firetop Mountain will give be that ‘thing’. Maybe. Definitely Maybe.

hero_titanThe reception for AWF has been pretty phenomenal and we’ve had some awesome reviews across the board from places like Touch Arcade, Pocket Gamer, 148 Apps, Mature Gamer, Starburst, and many more. We also had a bit more marketing spend for this release than usual and placed adverts and re-skinned a couple of app sites to spread the message that Titan City was under threat. Possibly the most suprising thing for us has been how our new Steam audience has responded to us. For the first couple of weeks of release the Steam community group was packed with players taking screenshots, posting reviews, and very importantly, bugs. We were able to clean those up very quickly and the community were super supportive and very patient. Steam also brought us to the attention of Youtubers and lots of awesome playthroughs of the game have popped up, which have been a lot of fun to watch! Thank you to everyone, journalists, bloggers, youtubers and gamers for your support – it means a lot to our small, hard-working team!

rad_dogIf there has been a negative it is that we let down our iOS fans slightly for which we apologise. While we’ve released our apps in the past concurrently across iOS, Android and desktop, it has been with the old engine, which was tried and tested and above all a lot more stable. Releasing a new engine across so many formats was, in hindsight, not a great idea and sadly because the Apple approval process takes a lot longer than other app portals, it meant many of our iOS fans with certain iPhones and iPads were unable to save Titan City. It was harsh lesson learned for us (especially as we were featured on the App Store in the Best New Releases) and we’re sorry to anyone affected by that.

Is it possible to sell a digital gamebook app for $9.99?

fwolf_logoIt’s an intriguing question and one we’ll be answering over the coming months. We always wanted our adaptation of Sagas of the Demonspawn to include all four of Herbie Brennan’s gamebooks in one app. We could have sold each one separately as we’re doing with the Spellcaster Trilogy, but unlike that series, these titles are already fully designed and written having being originally published in 1984/85. Obviously that meant more work on our end (mainly for Clinton and Kamina!) developing four gamebooks in one go, which in turn increases dev costs and ultimately price. It will be interesting to see how things go and eagle-eyed TMG followers will already know that we’ve had The Complete Sagas of Fire*Wolf (our new name for the series) available to buy on Google Play for a couple of weeks already. So far, even though we’ve done no promotion, a fair number of copies have been sold. Good news for the barbarian!

The Complete Sagas of Fire*Wolf will be available on the App Store for iOS and Amazon Appstore for Android too in the next week or two. Also our user-interface designer, Elroy, has just posted some of his artwork for the app on his Tumblr – so check it out!

Little and big bundles of  joy!

When we first heard that Apple were introducing app bundles to iOS 8, we thought it was the greatest thing for digital gamebooks since the original announcement of the iPad. Like the coming of tablets, bundles are perfect for book app developers, especially those apps with strong gaming elements that are also part of large libraries.We tick all those boxes so we were really keen to get on board with this and contacted Apple immediately to learn more about it. To our joy Apple have chosen to feature some of our bundles in the various international App Stores during this first week. Great exposure for us and will hopefully encourage more people to check out our titles. GamebookAdventuresMEGABundleHere are a few of them:

Gamebook Adventures MEGAbundle – $24.99/£17.49 (Purchased separately: $53.91/£35.91)

Fighting Fantasy Steve Jackson Bundle – $9.99/£6.99 (Purchased separately: $14.97/£9.97)

Fighting Fantasy Ian Livingstone Bundle – $9.99/£6.99 (Purchased separately: $17.97£11.97)

Tin Man Games Heroes Bundle – $12.99/£8.99 (Purchased separately: $24.95/£16.45)

Also available Gamebook Adventures Bundle 1, 2, 3, and the Strange Loves Bundle.

A festival of fantasy fighting in LondonTMG_FFF

One of the highlights of this month so far has to be the Fighting Fantasy Fest held in London. Meant originally as a launch event for Jonathan Green’s kickstarted You Are The Hero: A History of Fighting Fantasy (in which we feature a fair bit!), it quickly became a bigger beast once Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson got involved. And so Fighting Fantasy Fest was officially born and will likely be a yearly gathering if the success of this event is anything to go by.

neil_FFFNeil headed along and gave a talk about Tin Man Games, showed off some of the lovely new Caverns of the Snow Witch illustrations and gave the assembled audience a sneak preview of some of our new gamebook engine tech that will debut in The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. The crowd were very enthusiastic and the talk seemed to go really well, especially as it was the opening talk of the day. No pressure then. 😉

Also in attendance, as well as Mr. Livingstone, Jackson and Green, were some of the great illustrators from Fighting Fantasy’s past: John Blanche, Russ Nicholson, Leo Hartas, Chris Achilleos, Tony Hough and Malcolm Barter. Many others from FF present and past were also there including Jamie Fry (The current Warlock), Phillipa Dickinson (former editor at Puffin), Geraldine Cooke (original comisioning editor of Warlock), Arion Games (Advanced FF publishers), Inkle Studios (Sorcery! devs), and a host of others.

As well as an exhibition of FF memorabilia there were many talks put on by the special guests and an auction of lots of personal FF items owned by Ian and Steve. Two lucky attendees were also picked out of the hat to appear in a future Tin Man Games app – most likely to be Warlock!

A big pat on the back to Jonathan Green for not only a fantastic event but creating the wonderful tome that is You Are The Hero. He’s a top fella’ that Greeny.

A great Corehammer write-up of the event…

In the news…

thefeedWe’ve had some great press coverage of Appointment with F.E.A.R. this past month, but we’ve also been featured in a few other places as well. Most notably Neil was quoted on the BBC News website in an article about the ‘cult’ of Fighting Fantasy and Ben (Britten) was interviewed on camera in The Feed on SBS. Our TMG offices are based in The Arcade, a non-for profit game developers hub, and the show was not only about this awesome indie space but also about the Australian game funding and the recent cuts. Check out what Ben has to say!

Neil also appeared in issue 403 of Starburst Magazine in an article called the ‘Wizards of Aus’, as well as appearing on a few podcasts over the last month or so. If you can bear to listen to his yapping click the following links: Why I Love ComicsThe Sausage Factory (Spong.com)OMG NexusJust Press Start.

Finally, Ben (Kosmina) and Kamina, the dynamic duo, have recently been hanging out on Arvan Eleron’s Twitch channel accompanying Greg and his viewers on live play-throughs of both House of Hell and Appointment with F.E.A.R. Check out Youtube versions of these recordings here and here!

Coming soon…

CotSW_finalNext out of the Fighting Fantasy stable is Ian Livingstone’s Caverns of the Snow Witch. The original gamebook was published on October 24th 1984 and we’re hoping to have it ready for both iOS and Android around the same date 2014 – the 30th anniversary! This is has been developed using our standard gamebook engine that was employed for The Forest of Doom and Island of the Lizard King.

This is an extra special release for us as we’ve had all new illustrations commissioned by a team of seven artists, four of which are new to Tin Man Games. As well as TMG favourites Pirkka Harvala, Josh Wright and Simon Lissaman, we have the amazing talents of John Stone, Dan Angelone, Ben Ee and Leonardo Meschini. Ian has worked closely with us and the artists to make sure that the denizens of the Crystal Caves live up to your worst nightmares! If you’re an old-school FF fan then fear not, Crosby and Ward’s original black and white illustrations make an appearance in retro mode.


Announced on our Facebook Page as part of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, Jonathan Green’s classic Fighting Fantasy, Bloodbones is also in development. This is the first FF app outside of Ian or Steve’s original line-up and we’re really proud to be tackling the original 60th FF title in the series that never nearly came to be! Original illustrator of the gamebook, Tony Hough, has been recruited to add a splash of colour to his original drawings and it’s all looking rather splendid so far!

ToBe_03We’ve also got underway on the development of Ryan North’s To Be Or Not To Be. This is using the new gamebook engine, so expect something very different to the original print book. We’re hoping to get this released in a few months time across all our usual platforms and it’s shaping up to be one of our most spectacular apps yet!

And Finally, we’re also beavering away on The Gatekeeper’s Oath, the sequel to The Forgotten Spell, the next Gamebook Adventures title, Lords of Nurroth, isn’t too far away, and we have Gamebook Adventures Collected editions coming to Android. A busy few months then for the TMG team!

* The Oasis and Blur reference relates to the battle of two major Britpop bands in the UK, during the mid-90s. Not sure which company would be which though! 😉


Don’t Be Late For Your Appointment With F.E.A.R.!

Appointment With F.E.A.R. is very nearly ready for release, and we’re happy to announce a date: August 27th, 2014!

This comic-stylized interactive graphic novel is based on Steve Jackson’s gamebook of the same name. Customize your character, including their gender, look and super powers, then head for the streets of Titan City to find and stop the Titanium Cyborg!

Want to make sure that you won’t miss your appointment? Then why not pre-order the game at 20% off for PC, Mac and Linux through Humble (includes a Steam key!):

Appointment With F.E.A.R. will, of course, also be available for iOS and Android on the 27th.

Don’t dare miss it!


The origin of names is pretty awesome and something that appeals to many fantasy and sci-fi fans. Tolkien himself was one if the original scholars in this field, being heavily influenced by Nordic mythology and went so far as to create new languages for Middle Earth that actually worked – it’s actually crazy how much they work! Unlike many months though, July’s history isn’t based on a mythological character or event and actually on a mere mortal. Well actually not so ‘mere’ in that it was Julius Caesar who lends his name to the month. Originally called Quintilis (translated as ‘fifth month’ in Latin, as July was originally the fifth Roman month), the name was changed in honour of the great man after his assassination. So if you didn’t know the origins of July before, now you do! 😀

Thanks for the history lesson Tin Man, but what about gamebooks? Show me the gamebooks!

The Complete Sagas of Fire*Wolf


Herbie Brennan’s classic four-book series, Sagas of the Demonspawn, lovingly now known as The Complete Sagas of Fire*Wolf is around 80% complete as things stand. We are including all four gamebooks in one app, which has been quite an undertaking – more than we expected in fact. You will be able to read Fire*Wolf, The Crypts of Terror, Demondoom and Ancient Evil back-to-back in the one app and take the huggable barbarian on his quest from start to finish. With brand new illustrations, a new combat system and a gorgeous user-interface, this will be one of our best digital gamebook releases yet. Oh, and we just received the amazing soundtrack yesterday from Ryan Grogan that oozes the style of 1980s sword and sorcery movie soundtracks. We wanted to release this in July, but August is now looking more realistic on iOS and Android.

Appointment with F.E.A.R. (Fighting Fantasy – Steve Jackson)


If you feel like Appointment with F.E.A.R. has been in development for ages, well you’re probably right and to be honest we feel the same! It is all for very good reasons though as AWF is our first title making it’s debut in our new gamebook engine and marks the start of a bold new direction for us in terms of interactive path-based storytelling. Gone is the booky feel and the dice have been well and truly lost down the back of the couch. The traditional Fighting Fantasy rules have been streamlined and instead of playing the fixed male superhero from the paperback, you can now design your character using a bunch of beautiful preset super-designs. We have also included a very retro map of Titan City and a new trading card mechanic!  Why continue reading about it when you can watch Neil’s recent demo on AppSpy!

Caverns of the Snow Witch (Fighting Fantasy – Ian Livingstone)


We’re motoring ahead with Caverns of the Snow Witch, which will be available in our normal gamebook engine like all of our previous titles. Normally we would colourise the original black and white artwork from the original paperback, but due to the style of those illustrations having heavy black lines and little white space within them, we have decide to create brand new painted artwork, like we did with Starship Traveller. It’s obviously quite time consuming for one illustrator to create all of the images for one book and as we have a limited time release for this project, we have invited seven (yes 7!) artists to bring the creatures and locales within the Icefinger Mountains to life. Joining previous Tin Man illustrators, Pirkka Harvala, Josh Wright and Simon Lissaman, are newcomers (for us at least), John Stone, Leonardo Meschini, Dan Angelone and Ben Ee. The artwork so far has been amazing, getting approval from Ian Livingstone at every stage, and really brings a whole new visual vibe to this classic gamebook!

Gamebook Adventures 10: Lords of Nurroth


We’ve had to put GA10 on hold for a while due to some of our other projects taking precedence. All illustrations are complete and editing is about 50% done, so we’ll be revisiting this over the coming months! We know that writer, Dylan Birtolo, is desperate to see it released so hopefully we won’t have to disappoint him much longer. 🙂


English-speaking fans of Lovecraft will be pleased to know that we’re currently editing an English translation of Les Fils d’Uruzimé. This will be released in a few months along with an English translation of La Bataille de Ia Drang, currently being translated by gamebook writer, Paul Gresty!

We also have a (long overdue) Italian release of An Assassin in Orlandes due as well as Italian and French versions of Blood of the Zombies later down the pipe.

Fighting Fantasy: The Next Generation


We’re constantly being asked about re-releases of City of Thieves, Deathtrap Dungeon, Citadel of Chaos and the rest. Regular followers of the blog will know that we’ve been holding off on these for a while until we feel our new gamebook engine is mature enough to handle them – about now in fact! Appointment with F.E.A.R. is nearing completion and our next target for the new engine will be the grand-daddy of the series, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain.  We’ve hired a new technical artist in the office who is currently hard at work developing the art style for the game and Jonathan Green has already started re-designing many of the aspects of gamebook. Neil spent a day with Jon recently talking about the scope of the project and the narrative that we want to weave. While we want to keep as much of the gamebook as true to the original as possible, we also want to expand it significantly and give Firetop Mountain a certain logic and sense of history and scale. More news on this will be announced in due course!

In other News…

As well as working our socks off on our upcoming titles we also made the trip to Finland for Pocket Gamer Connects. As well as taking part in a panel, we also showed off Appointment with F.E.A.R. and took part in the Big Indie Pitch. Unfortunately we didn’t win said pitch, but we did receive some valuable feedback from visiting journalists. Overall it was a very valuable trip and lots of new contacts and potential business connections were made.

Talking of Pocket Gamer, Starship Traveller was recently included in their 21 Best iPhone and iPad Games of 2014…so far! Big props to Clinton Shepherd, Ben Kosmina, Kamina Vincent, Dan Maxwell and Simon Lissaman for that release. 😀

If you didn’t know, Jonathan Green has been busy putting together You Are The Hero, a history of Fighting Fantasy. To celebrate the launch, Jon is running Fighting Fantasy Fest 2014, taking place in London on Sunday 7th September! There will be an amazing line-up including Ian Livingstone, Steve Jackson, Russ Nicholson, Malcolm Barter, Chris Achilleos, Tony Hough, John Blanche, Leo Hartas, Inkle Studios and Arion Games. We’ll also be there in some fashion, so if you’re attending come and say hello. Tickets are available here.

For the latest Tin Man Games news follow our Twitter @TinManGames and our Facebook page. Thanks for reading and your continued support! 🙂


Fighting Fantasy apps – Top 20 poll results!!

Back in January we ran an online poll asking which Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, outside those that we have announced*, fans would like to see coming to digital platforms in the future.

*The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, The Citadel of Chaos, Starship Traveller, Appointment with F.E.A.R., Deathtrap Dungeon, City of Thieves and Creature of Havoc

It wasn’t a terribly scientific poll as we forgot to include Jon Green’s Night of the Necromancer and Stormslayer (sorry Jon!), but it at least gave us a rough idea as to which Fighting Fantasy titles YOU would like to see as future apps. We had 561 fans leave their votes in total and a mighty 4901 FF gamebooks were chosen (obviously not everyone chose 10). So without further ado, here are the results:

FF_poll_list20th – Midnight Rogue – 107 votes

19th – Rebel Planet – 111 votes

18th – Robot Commando – 113 votes

17th – Legend of Zagor – 115 votes

16th – Armies of Death – 124 votes

15th – Demons of the Deep – 125 votes

14th – Beneath Nightmare Castle – 127 votes

13th – Howl of the Werewolf – 130 votes

12th – Space Assassin – 134 votes

11th – Crypt of the Sorcerer 141 – votes

10th – Vault of the Vampire – 161 votes

9th – Seas of Blood – 171 votes

8th – Freeway Fighter – 186 votes

7th – Sword of the Samurai – 192 votes

6th – Temple of Terror 196 votes


5th – Scorpion Swamp 208 votes


4th – Caverns of the Snow Witch 216 votes


3rd – Talisman of Death – 221 votes


2nd – Return to Firetop Mountain – 232 votes


1st – Trial of Champions – 248 votes


So there we have it! A list that has a few surprises and a few obvious fan-favourites. It’s interesting that the top two FF gamebooks are in fact sequels to titles we haven’t yet developed, so they may take a while for us to reach! As for the rest, there may be a few titles in there with rights issues, but there are some definite candidates that we have already discussed with Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson. If you’ve been following us you will know that we have been developing a new gamebook engine, with the first release to be Appointment with F.E.A.R. Moving forward we will be developing Fighting Fantasy titles in both engines to maintain momentum and at some point will probably move on to the new engine full-time.

So what’s next? Fighting Fantazine readers and Twitter followers will already know the answer to this but we can officially announce right here on the blog that we’re currently developing 4th placed, Caverns of the Snow Witch, by Ian Livingstone! Yesterday we tweeted a picture of the cover transparency that was recently sent through and it won’t be long until YOU can venture forth into the Icefinger Mountains!

snow_witch_transpBeyond both Appointment with F.E.A.R. and Caverns of the Snow Witch, we have already begun work on our new version of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain in our new gamebook engine. We can also reveal that we have also signed a further 3 FF titles to add to our expanding list of release. We won’t reveal those for a while though, but at least two of them reside in the list above! 😀

And finally, we have a winner from our poll. Selected completely at random, the winner is Dave Marshall, who will be receiving a year’s supply of digital gamebooks from us! Congrats to Dave.


L’Avènement du Revenant est publié! Revenant Rising (in French) is released!

To celebrate the release of the new French version of Gamebook Adventures 4: L’Avènement du Revenant, we invited Romuald Finet, our French Tin Minion to write a guest post for the blog!


En Français…

J’ai contacté Neil Rennison pour la première fois en octobre 2010. À l’époque, je cherchais la possibilité d’utiliser l’outil de Tin Man Games pour un projet personnel de livre-jeu : Ombres sur Arkham (depuis lors publié sous le nom de « Les Fils d’Uruzimé »). Je visais alors un accord de licence uniquement.

Après de nombreuses conversations et de passionnants échanges sur un style de littérature qui avait connu son heure de gloire mais qui vivotait dans une semi confidentialité, nous nous sommes rendu compte qu’un partenariat était ce qui se révélerait le plus bénéfique pour tous les deux.

Je suis donc devenu apprenti Tinman ce jour-là.roll1_320_480

Les débuts furent difficiles car derrière la facilité d’utilisation des livres-jeux, il y a un vrai travail d’adaptation et d’intégration dans un outil dédié. Mais petit à petit, en particulier grâce à la réactivité et créativité de Ben Britten, en charge de l’outil, la transformation des livres en applications est devenue une seconde nature même si Neil et Ben m’étonnent à chaque titre par leur capacité à renouveler l’expérience des utilisateurs via de nouvelles fonctionnalités.

Aujourd’hui, après deux ans, on peut juger du chemin parcouru, neuf livres-jeux disponibles en français, et de ce qui nous attend, un planning d’au moins autant de livres prévus d’ici à fin 2015. La machine est lancée. Pour le moment, nous n’avons publié que deux ouvrages francophones originaux mais deux autres sont en préparation. Quoi qu’il arrive, vous aurez encore de longues heures de jeu devant vous !

In English…

I contacted Neil Rennison for the first time in October 2010. At the time, I wanted to discuss the rights to use Tin Man Games’ gamebook editing tool for a personal gamebook project: Shadows of Arkham (published under the name “The Sons of Uruzimé”). At the time I was only considering a license agreement for it.

After many conversations and exchanges about this exciting style of literature, which saw its heyday but was slowly returning, we realized that a partnership would prove to be beneficial for both of us.

So I became a Tin Minion that day.widget4_1024_768

To start with things were difficult because there was a lot of work adapting the gamebooks into the editing tool. But little by little, especially thanks to the responsiveness and creativity of Ben Britten, who wrote the tool, processing the books in the application has become second nature even though Neil and Ben often surprise me by their ability to renew the user experience through new features.

Today, after two years, we can judge how far we have come. Nine gamebooks available in French, and a schedule of many books planned by the end of 2015. The machine is running. For the moment, we have published two original French works but two additional books are in preparation. Whatever happens, you’ll still have many hours of play before you!

– Romuald Finet, Studio09


Yikes, time rolls ever forward and we find ourselves at the back-end of April and encroaching on the month that is May. What the blazes has been going on for us over the last couple of months and what is coming up? Well let us fill you in…


Starship Traveller Engage!

It was a great feeling to finally release the Traveller into the cosmos with both Clinton, Kamina and Ben (Kosmina) spending the last few months powering through the Seltsian Void, bringing Steve Jackson’s classic Fighting Fantasy gamebook to the next generation. Thankfully they had some valuable allies warp in from the neutral zone in the shape of Simon Lissaman (internal illustrations) and Dan Maxwell (cover and user-interface), who brought the gamebook visually to life. For old-school FF fans (yes, we’re looking at you 35+ year olds) it certainly was life, but not as they knew it previously because, for the first time, we created brand new illustrations for an FF title, rather than re-colourising older classic art. The gamble seems to have paid off as we’re getting lots of love from fans and reviewers alike about the new lick of paint as well as lots of positives about the key design changes we made to the interactive story too. High commendation must also go to Ryan Grogan too for his amazing soundtrack!

PG_gold“The original gamebook has been beautifully revived, and now stands shoulder-to-shoulder with its sci-fi peers across all entertainment media.”- Pocket Gamer – 9 out of 10

Starship_icon“It’s interesting because in the increasingly large mobile gamebook scene, I find Starship Traveller stands out for exactly the same reasons it did 30 (oh my, is it really 30?) years ago. We’ve got lots of fantasy books, some horror books, a few modern books, but this energetic take on classic sci-fi is a breath of fresh air, not just for its theme, but also its eccentricities, both good and bad. The absolute best Fighting Fantasy books are still to come, but this is one of the real classics in the series, so if you enjoy gamebooks or goofy sci-fi, I encourage you to give it a try.” – Touch Arcade – 4.5 out of 5

“Continuing the release of Fighting Fantasy titles, Starship Traveller is a change of pace from the usual, and all the better for it.” – 148 Apps – 4 out of 5

“Considering its age, Starship Traveller still feels incredibly fresh and newcomers are going to love Jackson and Livingstone’s universe, with its richly-cultured aliens and startling discoveries. Combined with Tin Man’s highly polished re-packaging, this makes for a top-class fantasy adventure you will keep coming back to.” – Super Game Droid – 4.5 out of 5

Bostonian Superhero Adventures!

paxeast2014_boothIf you’ve been following Neil on Twitter or our TMG Facebook page then you won’t have failed to see that we were over in Boston a few weeks ago exhibiting at the 2014 Penny Arcade Expo. We were once again proudly part of the indie MEGABOOTH, a collective of 92 indie game developers showing off 104 games, which makes the collective space the largest booth on the showfloor, even outsizing the offerings from companies like Bethesda, Blizzard and Riot Games. Clinton flew in from Australia, paxeast2014_heroesAriel jumped on a train/bus from New York and Neil flew in from the UK, armed with banners, buttons, flyers, postcards and two headless superheroes!

We had three of our games on show including GA8: Curse of the Assassin and the first Spellcaster gamebook, The Forgotten Spell. The big event for the TMG booth however was our very first playable version of Appointment with F.E.A.R. We had this running from a Mac on a large vertically-mounted TV (donated kindly by Intel) and controllable with an Xbox controller! As you will see from the video below (check out the demo auto-running in the background), AWF is a huge departure from anything we’ve done before and uses our new gamebook engine that Ben Britten has been working hard on over the last few months. The new engine gives us a new level of flexibility when dealing with interactive text and opens up many possibilities, the first of which will be our new chooseable path style interactive comic format, perfect for AWF and the our Judge Dredd sequel!

Overall we had an amazing PAX East 2014. We interacted with a lot of our fans, made some new ones and generally spread the digital gamebook love Stateside, far and wide. The extra bonus was being part of the MEGABOOTH, which was a complete privilege and meant we got to hang out with some seriously talented games developers, both during the show and into the early hours of the morning over a drink or few. 😉

Big thanks go out Clinton, who was a Tin Man Machine over the four days, and to Ariel Magnes for making the trip south to Boston and giving us much needed support. Also a big hug to Liam Esler who popped up and manned the booth at crucial points too. Also never-ending thanks to the MEGABOOTH organisers, Kelly Wallick, Chris Floyd, Eric Chon, Ryan Burrel and all the enforcers and helpers.

Future Releases!

So what’s next I hear you cry? As well as Appointment with F.E.A.R. we’re also in the middle of developing a further three titles, using our regular gamebook engine. First up is Sagas of Fire*Wolf which is our take on Herbie Brennan’s epic four-book series, Sagas of the Demonspawn. demon_blogAll the books have been devoured into our gamebook editing tools and we’re currently designing the user-interface and redeveloping the combat system somewhat. The original books were a little on the hard side (actually almost impossible!) so we’ll be adjusting a few things and play-testing to get the balance just right. This is is the first time we’ve combined four books together in one volume so readers will be able to read the whole series in one-go, start to finish (should you survive that is!). We’ve had a whole new set of artwork commissioned (by Starship Traveller‘s Simon Lissaman) that is almost complete and we’ll also be including the original artwork by Geoff Taylor and John Blanche too for those who like their gamebooks retro!

oath_imageSecondly we have the second gamebook in the Spellcaster Trilogy from Louisa Dent Pearce. The Gatekeeper’s Oath follows on from The Forgotten Spell in the quest to save the Kind of Suidemor. You must find a way to unlock the gates of his castle, by seeking out a gatekeeper and finding the password. Olcrada is after you again and you need to learn special Elder Magic in order to keep his elemental followers at bay! As with the first book, you can expect some magical writing and some dark but beautiful new artwork created by Tony Hough (Fighting Fantasy and Warhammer 40k illustrator).

Thirdly, we have a secret release in a few months. All we’ll say for the moment is ‘Fighting Fantasy’ and ‘as yet unannouced’. Let’s leave it at that eh?FF_question

Finally, while we’re in an FF mood – we’ll also be announcing the results of our recent poll along with the winning entrant in a future blog post! Stay tuned. 😀