An interactive fiction
by Jason McIntosh

Barbetween is a short, interactive “art installation” one can visit on Seltani, a multi-user (and multi-author) game world. While Seltani is themed around the Myst universe, Barbetween, which takes perhaps 15 minutes to play through, requires no particular knowledge of or familiarity with either Myst or interactive fiction.

If you don’t already have an account at Seltani, you will have the opportunity to create one upon arrival. (It costs nothing but a moment of your time.) While you can enter Seltani as an anonymous guest if you wish, the door to Barbetween opens only to registered users, due to technical requirements of this particular work.

Your visit to Seltani will probably work best through a larger screen, either a desktop or laptop computer or an iPad-sized mobile device.

After you play the game, you might like to read some design notes. I would also invite you to look at other interactive fiction I have written.

I’ve also written a short FAQ about the game, based on common questions asked by folks after playing.

Kind Words

Credits, Acknowledgments, and Copyright

Except where otherwise noted, the text and code specific to Barbetween was written by Jason McIntosh, and is copyright © 2014 by Jason McIntosh.

The lyrics to the song Between the Bars are by Elliott Smith.

The game’s playtesters include Gerardo Aerssens, Ruth Alfasso, Jason Dyer, James Firmiss, Doug Orleans, and Andrew Plotkin.

The Tworld multi-user game development server software is an open-source project created by Andrew Plotkin, who also runs the instance found at, where Barbetween is located.

The creation of this work was spurred by the first IF ShuffleComp, organized in 2014 by Sam Kabo Ashwell (even though it did not ultimately qualify for entry, with its dependence on online play in conflict with the contest’s rules). Niklas Larsson submitted the suggestion to base a game on the song Between the Bars.

The cover art is based on the photograph “beer” by Adrian Pike.

More information about this game and its origins can be found in the design notes.


I entered Barbetween into the 2014 Independent Games Festival. It won no awards or special recognition, but I did receive some helpful feedback from festival judges. The experience also left me with this half-minute-long trailer, the creation of which the entry required of me.

All content of this website is copyright © 1999-2024 by Jason McIntosh except where noted.

This particular page was last modified: Fri Oct 16 17:22:51 2015