On the occasion of the publication of a supplement to You Can Check Out Any Time You Like, I took the opportunity to re-read the basic game that closely matches my fantasy of playing in a hotel. A Firebrands hack, the game is structured in a series of mini-games to be played alone or with others, in a resolutely strange setting, like Shining with cryptids, and with players embodying guests as well as hotel employees or strangers from elsewhere. The tone of the game is done in small touches and if I regret a bit that several games are a bit too generic, all of them still participate to build a unique atmosphere. Really a nice game, maybe too much focused on creepy fantasy for my taste, as it would be a shame to reduce the "games in a hotel" sub-genre to that (even if it is sometimes very tempting).
You Can Check Out Any Time You Like, But You Can Never Leave
You Can Check Out Any Time You Like, But You Can Never Leave is a game for 3+ people, and a surreal horror-flavored hack of Mobile Frame Zero: Firebrands by Meguey & Vincent Baker. It is also a loving homage to The Shining, NanQuest, and the songs of the 70s and 80s that I grew up listening to.
Play as a Guest, Staff member, or living Anomaly at the Hotel California, the first and only hotel to exist outside of time and space! Create messy entanglements — ally with monsters, or backstab your friends! Inject the surreal and horrific into everyday life! Solve mysteries! Have strange dreams! Chase someone with a knife! Burn it all to the ground!
For additional minigames to play in the Hotel, check out the Such A Lovely Place expansion pack!
Additional questions about your stay at the Hotel California may be addressed to their official website.
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This game is really astonishingly good. I made a Hotel California-inspired game several years back for a local zine, and so was excited to check out this one. Honestly, I'm super impressed with how creatively and sensitively you hacked Firebrands to achieve this vibe. Now I just have to find a few people to play it with.
I love the atmosphere and the writing of this game so much. The only "bad" thing I can say is, I wish I'd been able to play more of the mini-games... so I guess I'll just have to play it again!
So nice I accidentally bought it twice! And I gotta say... it's well worth each time. I got it once cause it was a Record Collection entry and another time in my Firebrands research. This is one of the most effective and evocative Firebrands games I've read, the selection of games and how each one creates atmosphere, furthers creepiness, and just generally causes unease is astounding. Perfectly captures The Shining in an RPG, something I would've thought incredibly difficult to do.