Miscellaneous Twine + VG Resources

Hi gang,

Per our discussion in class today, here are some Twine resources to check out (games, links, etc.). There’s also some Stanley Parable stuff as well as a summary of our notes from our in-class discussion today (11.1).

Interactive Fiction Database: Much like IMDB, this is an interactive fiction game catalog + recommendation engine. Lots o’ games here (maybe not all of them are Twine-based, but they’re similar)

Terror Aboard the Speedwell: A particularly interesting, sci-fi horror game that features a lot of branching paths and storylines (more akin to TWD). It’s downloadable for a cost (name your own price), but if you have a dollar or two, it might be worth checking out.

What is Twine? (For Developers): This Gamasutra piece talks about—and provides examples of—different genres of Twine games, some of which we’ve not played or experienced in class.

More on The Stanley ParableThis video, featuring TSP’s developers, explains the central tensions and questions animating the game.


In-Class Notes (11.1):

Similarities and Patterns across Twine games?:

—Attempts to tell a story and immerse the player in that story (this usually takes time, like in a book)

—There seem to be general attempts to establish empathy, but this is difficult because players are shoehorned into existing narratives

—Exploration is encouraged, but there are (narrative) limitations. Sometimes you get to the same outcome regardless of what you select.

—Oftentimes, players get to a dead end in the game. There’s usually an option to reset things, so it seems like replay value is something that’s common among Twine games or valued by developers.

—Some Twine games seem to have a psychological component; they want to “mess with your head.”

What sorts of video game conventions do we NOT see in Twine games?:

—There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of non-binary choice options / branching paths. That is to say, most Twine games seem to say “Pick (a) or (b)” as opposed to “Pick (a) through (z)”

—Time doesn’t seem to be a factor in these games. You don’t have to make decisions quickly or in accordance with a timer that counts down like many other video games.

—Twine games don’t seem to focus on players building their skill or proficiency over the course of the game. You don’t appear to have to get “better” at something to advance.

—Twine games don’t feature complex interfaces. There mostly seem to be point and click mechanics as opposed to multiple inputs (buttons) or ways to interact with the game.

What are the affordances of Twine as VG platform? Or, put differently, why do developers seem to prioritize certain VG conventions and omit others, as listed above?

—Twine games seem to value accessibility, both in terms of mechanics (they’re easy to play) and time investment (they’re relatively short)

—Oftentimes, they’re free or low-cost in nature. This is also an access issue (barriers to entry / participate are low)

—A lot of these games seem to emphasize an argument or message as opposed to realistic visuals (or visuals at all). This is especially apparent in contrast to contemporary, industry-produced console and PC video games (maybe there’s a tie in with Bogost’s idea of proceduralist style games?)

—There’s a focus on teaching or critical thinking about an issue (sometimes) as opposed to the advancement or “leveling up” of skills


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