A Pint in London, a game created by London-based writer Ana Kinsella, is a narrative-led, web-based game taking the user on a multiple choice journey through London in search of the perfect pint spot. It’s a game that’s simple in its idea, but finding “your pub” is one of those personal joys of London – a city that to some seems like a stressful metropolis, but to others is a collection of tiny villages to wander through and make your own.
“I wanted to see if I could create a little interactive, text-based game of some form, despite having no experience or skill in the area whatsoever,” Ana tells It’s Nice That of A Pint in London’s beginnings. Initially, the idea was to chronicle Ana and her partner’s favourite pubs across the city, thinking it would be helpful to have some sort of “pub decider where he could enter in his preferences, mood, requirements, etc, and tell him where to go.” Yet once she started writing and putting the list together – aptly compiling it together “with my partner (over a pint)” – “I thought it was so much more fun to have it tell a little bit of a story, and to give the player the option to walk around a bit and explore.” Thankfully, for us, the result is a game which has given us several new pubs to head to as soon as 6pm hits.
The joy of A Pint in London, other than the long list of new pubs its pointed us in the direction of, is the narrative Ana builds for the player to journey through. “I’m a writer and journalist, and I often find myself struck with by a kind of dumb wonder about the utility of words,” she explains. “All the things you can do with them other than simply imparting information – you can take people places, make them feel things, force them to make choices that might reveal what kind of person they are.” It’s also this element of games that Ana has always been interested in, rather than the graphic or illustration element: “I played a few text games as a child (the most memorable was Wishbringer, a frankly absurd mystery game set in the quaint English village of Festeron) and more recently got addicted to Reigns: Her Majesty on my phone,” she says. “When it comes to entertainment or distraction, everything decent is underpinned with a sense of story.”
Despite it’s looping narrative that includes several routes for players to journey on depending on how they’re feeling that day, where they fancy stopping or if they want to explore, A Pint in London is, quite ridiculously impressively, created using Squarespace. We can only imagine Ana utilising the functions usually chosen for usefulness when building a business site or portfolio but instead using it in this quest for the perfect pub.
We also have to admit we’re jealous of Ana and her partner’s research phase as A Pint in London is the result of seven years of living in London, from Camberwell to Kentish Town. “Well, it’s one of the best things to do in London, isn’t it?” says Ana on this point. “Go on a long walk somewhere, end up at a lovely pub you’ve never been to before, whether alone or with pals.” And, if you were wondering, when the creator herself played the game for the first time she ended up in the White Swan, Twickenham “where the beer garden floods at high tide,” she describes. “It’s a lovely spot, and generally you’ll have walked a long way by the time you’re there, so you’ve built up a good thirst. They also do a great burger – just make sure to finish it before the tides turn."
You can play A Pint in London and discover your new beverage haunt, here.
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