"Professor of Magical Studies"—Will you save the world just to get tenure?

Professor of Magical Studies
We’re proud to announce that Professor of Magical Studies, the latest in our popular “Choice of Games” line of multiple-choice interactive-fiction games, is now available for Steam, Android, and on iOS in the “Choice of Games” app.

It’s 33% off until December 15th!

Research magic that probably won’t destroy the world! Plus, if you do have to save the world, that’ll look great when you’re up for tenure.

Professor of Magical Studies is a 500,000-word interactive fantasy novel by Stephen Granade (@Sargent). Your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

You are a practitioner of pattern magic: an arcane art that allows you to reshape the very nature of reality, with an extra advantage thanks to your synesthesia, which enables you to see patterns more clearly. With a few strokes of a pen on paper, you can draw magical energy from the space between universes to do everything from levitating objects to preserving memories that you can walk through later to creating pocket dimensions.

You’ve just been hired for your first faculty position at Winfield Phillips, the seemingly normal New England college that happens to have a secret magic department. It’s a great first job, or would be except for Darcy Bozeman. Your former school friend used magic to cheat you out of a coveted fellowship, almost derailing your academic career before it began. Now Darcy’s a fellow professor at Winfield Phillips, and is still working to undermine you.

Armed with a cutting-edge knowledge of magic and untried political skills, you’ll have to juggle your work and navigate the demands of being a new faculty member. You have to get your magical research started with the help of a not-very-skilled student. You’ve got classes to teach to students who are supremely uninterested in what you’re trying to teach them. The college president assigned you a mathematician as a faculty peer, which will only take time away from your actual work. The town council is angry at the college, and you’ve been volunteered to be the liaison between the college and the council. And don’t even get started over the arguments about who’s going to clean the stockroom.

And those mysterious issues plaguing magic? The ones growing worse? Those are a sign of something ominous, threatening reality as we know it. You can handle that, too, can’t you?

  • Play as male, female, or nonbinary; gay, straight, asexual, aromantic, or poly.
  • Create new and irresponsibly dangerous magical patterns.
  • Improve your student advisee’s skills and confidence, or terrorize them to boost your own research.
  • Deal with petty university politics, if you want to have any hope of getting tenure.
  • Romance a brilliant algebraic geometrist who doesn’t know about magic, the city councilperson assigned to work with Winfield Phillips, the CEO of a magical company, the friend who betrayed you, or even the extra-dimensional being who comes to live in your head.
  • Uncover what really happened to the professor who vanished, leading to you being hired.
  • Save the world from an extra-dimensional threat—or use the threat to become leader of the survivors.

If only someone had warned you before you applied to grad school that you’ll have to stop an otherworldly threat from ending the universe!

We hope you enjoy playing Professor of Magical Studies. We encourage you to tell your friends about it, and recommend the game on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other sites. Don’t forget: our initial download rate determines our ranking on the App Store. The more times you download in the first week, the better our games will rank.

41 Likes

I’m so ready for people to take the Date Darcy emotional speed run challenge.

31 Likes

Just in case I didn’t emphasize enough in my comment on Monday how great this game is: in a year full of games I’ve wanted to shout about from the rooftops, this one might be the shoutiest. It deserves the broadest possible audience, because there is truly something for almost everyone. One of the things I have always loved about CoG was that, from their very earliest days, they made games that were both richly intelligent and compulsively enjoyable, and this is a consummate exemplar. It’s consistently surprising, frequently hilarious, full of college hijinks and insufferable colleagues and inedible luncheons and the most entertainingly tedious workload since Social Services of the Doomed, and then all of a sudden you’re making decisions about whom and what you’re willing to sacrifice, in what quantity, to save the world (and/or yourself). I don’t know if the author intended any real-world parallels, but I can’t play it without thinking about the Manhattan Project: creation and destruction intertwined, horror in the service of hope …

Also, you can cheat on your frenemy-with-benefits with the extradimensional being who lives in your head.

32 Likes

I’m so excited! Congratulations @Sargent!

4 Likes

Seriously, this path is SO EMOTIONALLY MESSY and SO WORTH IT. I had a blast testing it out.

8 Likes

500K words? I’m in whenever someone says ‘emotional speed run.’ (This is the first time.)

Congrats, @Sargent!

5 Likes

Congratulations on the release @Sargent, been waiting for this.

2 Likes

I just gotta say the magic system here is great. I love it so much because A it’s not just stuck in place they do research to you know actually advance it keep improving. And B it’s just so well made, you can think of multiple solutions to problems, the classifications are good and allow for fun combinations, it’s a really well used narrative tool and fluff to add together.

Congrats on the release man!

5 Likes

Congratulations, @Sargent!

1 Like

Gonna need a bit of time to gather my thoughts for my review, but wow, this is a stellar game, both in terms of the crunch and fluff! Also, both Kayla and Gabriel are adorable.

2 Likes

Kayla was probably my favorite character. My favorite human character, anyway. She brought more thoughtful discussion and less drama than some of the others, which isn’t always a good thing (I too enjoy seeking out the less backstabby side of Darcy), but sometimes it really is. And then, when she learns magic is real, her reaction goes from “Huh, okay” to “Wow, that’s awesome!” in the space of about five minutes.

3 Likes

I’ve been looking forward to this, congratulations on the release!

1 Like

oh, as soon as I knew she was a math nerd with a subject that dovetailed amazingly with pattern magic, I went for her. Fell for her even more over time due to how dorky she is and when she started showing her tabletop/fantasy side. Also, her “muggle” status led to some nice character moments late game and a bit of a save due to the spell immunity that muggleness brings. Love the gal.

3 Likes

I was going to say that Kayla was my favorite, but I have a soft spot for all of them, yes, even Darcy. I tried to have characters where I could understand why they were like they were and made the decisions they did, even if I personally would have been “bestie don’t do that” in many cases.

I had a special bonus goal for Darcy. Big whole-game spoilers ahead: I wanted them to be involved with the end game even if you don’t spend time with them so that they potentially get better, because even people who aren’t great to you personally can still work in community to make a better world.

10 Likes

Excellent game, and very neatly put together. I enjoyed serving up revenge on Darcy all game long. My only regret was that she still had a job at the end.

My only criticism, and it’s one I have across multiple games, is that I absolutely cannot stand when a game grinds to a halt to break the fourth wall and put content warnings in front of me. It’s the game equivalent of a theater usher during a movie or play shining a flashlight in my face, leaning into my field of vision, and giving me a heads up that a jump scare was forthcoming. It does nothing but undercut the narrative, immersion, and play experience. I am not a fan of trigger warnings in art generally, but if you are going to have them, I strongly suggest finding some way to front load that awareness and any moderation decisions before the game even starts.

Apart from that, it’s definitely one of the strongest releases that I’ve played in 2022, a year which had quite a few excellent titles.

4 Likes

Thank you!

Fun behind-the-scenes fact: the content warning had to be placed later in the game because, if the warning was before the game started, then platforms could flag the demo as being “adult” and thus strictly limit who could see it.

11 Likes

Oof. That is an onerous burden that you had to take on to avoid that.

I hope someone is investigating alternative solutions there.

1 Like

Dealing with platform quirks and idiosyncrasies is a tedious endeavor.

My sympathies.

6 Likes

Still can’t see it on Android yet…

Alas, walled gardens are capricious in what gets called a weed.

5 Likes