A Few Notes on Twine’s Howling Texts

I have approximately 20 minutes before the thing I put in my mouth kicks in and sends me into some spiral. I’m here to write fast (I have Charli Xcx to keep me feeling energized, American, both masculine and feminine, with a dash of “cool” on top) and live young and die free, which is the utmost my privilege can carry me.

Let’s see. Rauan Klassnik had never heard of Twine before so I’m your sneak preview. Rather than write about something worse than’s been written before, how about I just talk about my own experience with games, hog the spotlight as it is, for a few minutes. Or more like howl, like dogs do.

First of all, I’ve created the simplest Twine “game” known to me, and it’s dedicated to Rauan Klassnik, because he told me quite directly, quite sober, not to ever mess with his dog, and I believed him. So I wrote a little story about it. Right over here near Sanctuary, Washington. It gives the public, the masses, the capability to enter the realm of the interactive fiction, or nonfiction. Please do not do what is done in the game. Or not done. If you choose to not do it. Trigger warning: there is looking, gazing, and a binary system of belief. Entwine this. It takes about two minutes if you are a slow reader. And by slow, I mean your rate is not mine, which I believe is average.

I think it was originally Donald Dunbar (another author of the Rat Queen) who turned me via drunken bar chat onto the concept of TiddlyWikiand the platform for creating (through Javascript and HTML5) fantastic multi-dimensional narratives. A new kind of hypertext. An accessible, less elitist hypertext. With Twine, we’ve essentially moved from Hypertext to contemporary gaming. And though the technology imitates text games from those bygone days of DOS and LucasArts and so on, this is a platform, a realm for the potential masses, and it’s already happened. Smart people of all walks of life, from the most minimal, ghastly poets to the pulsating projections of radical feminists, to those awe-inducing strangers who believe gaming should necessitate psychological progress, heads have been turned, and the nods are indicated by the clicks of architects of vast spaces of beautiful language. Breaks. Shifts. The cognoscente stick.

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Is this some millennial twitch? Will Twine be what NewHive was yesterday, or Dump.FM was a decade ago? The cursed American SMS? Or is this the some new flicker in an oasis of darkness we’ve kept ourselves content with since DOOM, since the hazards of gore emerged from the pixels of Pong?

I like the idea of reading games and impacting them subtly. I like the idea of enjoying something that’s lightweight, heavy hearted, and ready to cause as much emotional disruption as reading The Constitution four times in a row. What do you like? Do you like telling stories? Do you find the “choose your own adventure” of a social media website unfortunately bulldozing anti-matter into a gap in your personal mythology? Maybe you should take a look at Twine. Take a look? Why not take a click! Click through your fantasies, and make them your realities.


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If “A” – the player will be exposed to the assault of Greg Bem, a menacing phantom wielding beams of light with slightly soggy handles made damp from the crow-echoing skies of the Pacific Northwest.

If “B” – the player will be challenged by a bombastic stretch of biographical information recited via text to speech, describing Greg Bem, the author, as librarian and writer living in Columbia City, Seattle, who has a moment of brown hair and a slightly decaying set of teeth.

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