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About the Story
500 Apocalypses is a web installation memorializing collapsed civilizations from across our universe. This interactive space is designed to allow contemplative engagement with five hundred curated entries from the Encyclopedia Apocalyptica.
Nominee, Best Writing - 2016 XYZZY Awards
18th Place - 22nd Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2016)
Witness the Ending of Alien Civilization in '500 Apocalypses'
Each blue dot is the end of something. There are no beginnings in the Memorial, or none that I have found anyway. Five hundred is a very large number, it is a very large number of endings. I can only manage ten entries at a time. I come back to the memorial every few weeks and grasp at another ten. I have never seen the same entry twice. If I were to read one of them a day, make a ritual out of it, I would finish in the April of 2018. Perhaps it would be getting a little warmer as I read the final entries. I would have seen worlds end five hundred times.
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The Breakfast Review
The stories are all whole and discrete, with no choices to be made or parts to be moved. It's exactly like simply picking up an anthology and reading random stories out of it, even if the presentation disguises it....
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Number of Reviews: 2
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Having previously read Summit, I was hoping for something good from Phantom Williams, and got it - not a story, but hundreds of fragments of stories, from hundreds of ruined civilisations.
There is something reminiscent of Jorge Luis Borges here, or Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities: instead of telling the entire story of a single world, why not take that idea to its logical conclusion and present only the fragments that would survive from such an event?
Many of the fragments are eerie, some are beautiful, others are a little disturbing. Some don't quite seem to qualify as apocalypses. But all leave you wondering: what happened here?
This is best read in bits and pieces, over a long period of time, and without any strategy, but simply by wandering from one passage to another.
(If you were wondering, the title quote comes from Apocalypse 189)
This game was really talked about a lot in the 2016 IFComp. It is unusual; it consists of many (< 500) short stories about apocalypses, many of them grim or with body horror, but with good writing. The player was invited to add to the total number of apocalypses.
I found a lot of the apocalypses very enjoyable. The format was hard for me to navigate, though; I couldn't find new stories at the pace that I wanted to. They are linked by keywords, sometimes, and sometimes not (i.e. there are dead-end links).
I enjoyed it.
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