Façade just released
At long last Façade has just been released. Designer/programmers Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern's baby is part game, part research project. More than anything it is an exploration into using cutting edge A.I. to explore interactivity and human involvement and responses in games. Their goal is to foster investigations and advancements which can be used primarily in games.
Façade casts the player as friend and dinner guest of Grace and Trip, an A.I. controlled married couple whose partnership is rocky at best. It is up to the player to decide how their relationship will play out. This involvement is achieved through real time conversations with the characters as well as the player's actions and behavior during the course of the evening.
Façade can be downloaded for free using the Bittorrent client at the game's site, interactivestory.net. Be warned, the file is a whopping 800MB, so if you're on dialup connection, consider ordering a cd version instead ($14 USD covers material and shipping costs). Also note that you will need at least a 1.6GHz system and 256MB RAM to run the game.