Fear of Twine: A Curated Collection of Text-Based Games
The release of Twine rocked the gaming world. As a gaming engine, it lowered the bar, allowing anyone capable of writing a sentence to program a text game. Intended for nonlinear, Choose-Your-Own-Adventure type stories, Twine quickly took off–and in its wake, discussions about whether or not these games truly counted as games began to ignite. Richard Goodness, who Twines in his free time, decided to address the reticence he saw holding people back from getting involved or playing.
Fear of Twine isn’t a game but rather a collection of sixteen games that showcases what Twine can do. Debt sweeps the player up by removing all gameplay options in order to tell a story about free will and humanity; Zombies and Elephants manages to overcome my fatigue towards anything zombie-related with its lush, pulpy writing; and Abstract State-warp Machines, told entirely through blank verse, is just plain weird. My favorite has to be The Matter of the Great Red Dragon, a quiet, philosophical story about the choices you make and the lives you do and don’t lead.
Each game is kept purposefully short. Fast readers may be able to get through the entire exhibit under an hour. Does Fear of Twine accomplish what it set out to do? Well–that’s up to you. But one thing is clear: Twine certainly isn’t as limited an engine as it seems.