What We Do
We write stories that you can play and we create games that tell a story.
People routinely use their mobile devices to read. We want to use the power of the platform to make those stories more immersive and engaging than ever.
Games and novels have the power to transport us to a historical period or an imaginary world. We want to combine stories and games to deliver the best of each. When you play one of our games, you direct the action as the story develops around you.
Who We Are
We are an independent game company in Austin, TX dedicated to developing a new generation of interactive fiction games for mobile devices.
4th Wall Games consists of two guys: Mark Baumann and Jeremy Johnson.
Mark is a Ph.D. physicist who also has degrees in computer science and applied mathematics. His research in astrophysics involves throwing things at black holes to see what happens—okay, not literally, but via computer simulation. Mark is a lifelong gamer, role-player, and history buff and has combined those passions with his experience in computer simulation to fill the role of the chief architect of 4th Wall Games.
Jeremy has a Ph.D. in physics, an undergraduate degree in classical studies, and a background in art. His research involves shooting antimatter at stuff to see what happens—literally. Fortunately he has avoided annihilating himself with his anti-self. Jeremy has been designing computer games as long as there have been microprocessors, hacking together games on calculators and even credit card terminals. With his combination of creative, technical, and analytical skills, Jeremy fills the role as the chief designer of 4th Wall Games.
Why "4th Wall Games"?
In theater, cinema, and television, actors use a set or stage that has three walls. The fourth wall is the empty space through which the audience watches the production unfold. An actor "breaks the fourth wall" by directly engaging the audience.
In our story, we intentionally break the fourth wall, but in the other direction. We pull you, the audience, through it and onto the stage to decide the course of the action.
In his childhood, Jeremy programmed games for the Commodore 64 and devoured RPG books. Later he played and built MUDs, and eventually settled into building levels and mods for games like Duke Nukem 3D, Half-life, and Strange Adventures in Infinite Space.
Within a year of learning to read, Mark discovered his first Choose Your Own Adventure story and then promptly wrote one of his own, the first of many. He later discovered the works of Joe Dever, creator of Lone Wolf and Freeway Warrior. Those truly inspired and cemented his interest in the union of gaming and storytelling. Mark's first computer games were Zork and Akalabeth. He then began his lifelong career as the Gamemaster when he became fascinated with the mixture of simulation and storytelling found in his first RPGs: Star Trek by FASA, Darksword Adventures, and later Middle Earth Role Playing and Rolemaster.
How We Got Started
Jeremy and Mark met as graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin. They would regularly sit down at a coffee shop and exchange game ideas, encouraging each other to pursue their separate game projects. On the weekends they played a lot of games, especially those by Fantasy Flight Games and Steve Jackson Games. In 2015, they put their ideas together began planning Harrowing Adventures and in 2016 they founded 4th Wall Games.
History of Harrowing Adventures
Harrowing Adventures was created by Mark in 2005 as a pencil-and-paper RPG for which he was the GM. Mark and the players created a wiki site to share their adventures with their friends. Eventually, Mark developed the site into an interactive web game, which received unanimous positive reviews from its visitors. Years later, Mark revived the pencil-and-paper RPG, this time with Jeremy as one of the players. Soon after, they decided to collaborate on bringing the game to an exciting new interactive platform: mobile devices.
Our Debut Game Is In the Works
Harrowing Adventures is on track to launch in 2018. You can stay informed by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or signing up for the mailing list. We're gearing up to launch on Kickstarter in late spring.