GameSetWatch columnist and Interactive Fiction author/maven Emily Short announced the release of her latest work -- Alabster, a "conversation-based re-imagining of the Snow White story." She introduces the "fractured fairy tale" with this curious text:

""The Queen has told you to return with her heart in a box. Snow White has made you promise to make other arrangements. Now that you're alone in the forest, it's hard to know which of the two women to trust. The Queen is certainly a witch — but her stepdaughter may be something even more horrible...

There are some eighteen possible endings to this fairy tale.

Some of them are even almost happy.""

Short didn't write the entire story, however. The game is a collaborative writing experiment, in that eleven authors contributed its dialogue with the help of a coding system with which participants could play through the beginning of the game, inserting new conversation whenever they wanted to be able to say something different.

Alabaster was recompiled and rereleased every day or two with new text, enabling authors to draw on one another's contributions. The resulting work extensively edited for continuity and conversation flow, then illustrated. Completed, their work incorporates some 415 snippets of conversation, many of which have "further alternate versions depending on just when the player encounters them."

The graphics are also an experiment in procedural illustration, displaying abstract sketches that indicate the current state of play, sometimes hinting at future possibilities. Alabaster's site describes the game's presentation of the illustrations as such: "Considered singly, the resulting images might be considered found art — or perhaps the work of the game itself."

You can download Alabaster for Mac or PC, with its corresponding (and required) interpreter on its official site, which also includes more technical details on the game's development, as well as walkthroughs for all of its endings, cover art, and more.