After skipping two weeks I’m back to continue this look at Interactive Fiction at PopMatters. Lesson learned: never dive into an entire subculture and expect to be finished in a week.
The fact of the matter is there are tons of twine games on the internet and more being dumped into cyberspace everyday. There is a lot of creativity and lot of junk being spewed out. The fact that there is so much being dumped on the net and no central hub or curatorial site to point at the noteworthy ones is a bit difficult for the so called movement. Though int he eyes of some I’m sure that is a feature, but it does have the concequence that everything made in twine is very ephemeral and thus easily dismissed.
Honestly, I think movement might be too big of a word to apply to twine. I tough on some of the debate surrounding them and the rhetoric is the problem once you actually get to playing the games. Both those hyperbolically condemning and praising them are framing twine games as something they frankly aren’t. And the rhetoric, whichever stance you take, makes them sound rather dull.
Twine games go where other, more traditional games don’t and that seems to be the main selling point to them. That isn’t a good thing. to paraphrase Roger Ebert, video games are not about what they are about, but how they are about it. Talking about subject matter other games don’t or won’t isn’t interesting if it doesn’t matter the subject matter interesting itself.
I touch on more than a handful of twine games that I think are interesting. Some I think are good, others ok and others not really. The point is that they are interesting and display something that twine is capable of. They aren’t even all the games I think are interesting or good, just merely a smorgasbord. Curiously the game that seems to get left out of the debate on both sides is Depression Quest which I think is frankly the best one of the bunch and will probably end up on my year end list.
I don’t know how to put links into PopMatter’s back end so here are all the games I talk about in the post: