These forums for Electron Dance were closed on 09 December 2014.
HM journeys through the exhibition
  • Post edited by HM at 2014-02-14 23:37:05
  • Post edited by HM at 2014-02-22 00:59:31
  • You're half right, Joel! Or maybe a quarter. I'm not sure. I have some jerking off to do.
  • I was about to comment but I realized I need to save my analysis of everything for that exhibition guide I need to finish.
    Post edited by rgoodness at 2014-02-22 13:27:32
  • It's very interesting that people read The Matter of the Great Red Dragon as allegorical. I'm not sure I would categorize it as an allegory, since to me, there isn't really a one-to-one correspondence between the individual elements of the story and the real world. If I had to characterize it, I wouldn't say allegory. I'd say collision.

    Is the voice at the end gleeful? I think it's despairing. Almost all the Lands of Dream games are as much about loss and defeat as they are about triumph, hope, or a sense of wonder. The fact that the ending is uncomfortable, ugly, unsubtle - that's exactly how it's meant to be. It's not meant to be smart or witty. It's exactly what the world out there is like.
  • Again, not to give too much away, but I think rather than "allegory" Lands of Dream stuff is more Applicable To Life. Like Sea Will Claim Everything is a series of zoom outs showing (immoral) capitalism affecting every aspect of life--it starts with the very personal, showing how one family is affected, then moves to the town, the region, the country--the puzzles are there to show off a series of locations which have all been affected by these issues, and the ending basically states that after a while, solving puzzles is just sticking on bandaids and eventually you need to strike at the root--and that that's something you need to determine for yourself.

    It's very interesting having a lot of writer friends right now and having a pile of games that a lot of them made. It gives a lot different of a context--even simple as talking to the girl who did Duck Ted Bundy and chatting a little bout what she wanted to do with the game, it's interesting to get that kinda perspective.
  • Post edited by JonasKyratzes at 2014-02-22 21:59:21
  • Well, hey, if the Lands of Dream weren't whimsical, its problems wouldn't be so horrific. If it's characters weren't funny and charming, we wouldn't give a shit about saving them.

    Anyway I will probably have similar receptions. The one review anyone's given about TWEEZER, which takes place in a clusterfuck shithole that hates the protagonist, enjoyed it as a humorous spoof. I know we've talked about people disliking works unless you're told exactly how to feel about them. Well, frankly, I'd rather write complex works than ones that any schmuck can understand.
  • You guys make smart stuff for people who won’t dedicate a fraction of the attention in playing as you put in making it. That’s why I prefer to make silly things that smarter folk than me can analyze beyond what I had envisioned.
  • I was thinking we could start a separate thread about the Matter of the Great Red Dragon but I may be too late now!
  • We could start a separate thread about your FACE.

    Yeah, I went there.
  • There's a thread on Twitter about that already.
  • It's moved onto your shoulder pads.
  • Huh. I've gotten round to playing through the exhibition a bit later than I'd originally hoped, but now that I have (and will be playing EVERYTHING this weekend) I finally read this thread, intending to pitch in, and... HM has already said pretty much everything I would have said.


    So I've only played Room 1 so far. I may also play Room 2 if I get time, but I should really be writing an article right now. Anyway. Debt was a fantastic start, extremely slick, but entirely linear and could have just been a video were it not for the occasional wait-to-click. It reminded me of Robocop, more than anything else, with its automation of violence, the heavy-handed satire and the grimdark corporate future.

    I do think there's a little more to it than a metaphor around how companies handle the economics of debt collection, though I've going to mull it over a little longer before I commit to anything. There's certainly something to the extralegal nature of what's going on, especially in conjunction with how grudgingly accepting of it the diners you encounter are.

    And then there's what it's trying to say with how incarcerated prisoners are being used as a sort of human judgement checking point in this process of corporate machine vengeance (because this is not RoboRepoman, this is punitive excess, this is revenge for reneging on debt, for 'econonic betrayal') despite no alternative options being open to the player character.

    I find myself wondering about the bit at the end where the player is told that their character's criminal record has been wiped clean. Okay, I thought, so that combined with the drone's self-destruction combined with the approaching police response suggests that this debt assassination agency is keeping its hands clean by outsourcing drone oversight to the 'correctional industry'. What does that *mean*?

    And yeah, it's not *convincing*, but nor is Robocop. I mean, it's satire, man. :)
  • I really like the writing of Duck Ted Bundy; the tone, the dark comedy, the smothering introspection. And the repetition... well, it could've been interesting if the game had featured memory of past actions and events branched as a result. I imagine the real constraint here was time or technical proficiency? Anyway, I think this flaw has been built into the game. The pile of dead ducks stuffed into the back of the rotten couch. The broken dreams and ceaselessly repeating life of Duck Ted Bundy. Players can return again and again to the same victims, just as the real Bundy did, although he didn't kill them again, and the player... well, the player doesn't engage in necrophilia, at least so far as I've seen!

    I'd guess that what Duck Ted Bundy does, aside from being amusing in its own sinister way, is mirroring aspects of Bundy's fractured psyche. Parts of it are obvious, but in terms of the repetition and apparent lack of memory in the game: from what little I know the number of victims Bundy killed never became clear. He never committed to a single number and some believe that he didn't remember or know how many he had killed. So the game's repetition kind of becomes this self-occlusion of responsibility and history and memory?

    I'm not 100% on this interpretation, as I think the score mechanic actually kind of undermines it, and there are plenty of bits of writing that I don't think really fit the way Bundy was supposed to be. Perhaps the game was just intended to go as far as it could with that without compromising the black comedy. Or perhaps I've got this stick at the wrong end and am vigorously shaking it at the wrong kind of duck.
  • I have less to say about The Conversation I Can't Have. I think everything you've said, HM, is spot on, and I don't really have much to add. Kink isn't my thing, but I've got friends who enjoy it and have read a bit about it, so this Twine didn't tell me very much I didn't already know.

    I did however enjoy the memories it presented, the little personal touch - and that it never became fully about the author. I like that it's intended and presented as an overture to someone grappling with their sexual preferences; an invitation to try something new that might be what you want. Most of my friends who've told me how they got into this stuff were brought in by a friend or sexual partner.
  • And finally, the Matter of the Great Red Dragon!

    I've still not played TSWCE bar a five minute post-install check that it worked okay, so this is really my first proper encounter with Jonas's The Land of Dream setting. And I enjoyed it!

    A problem I have with a lot of fantasy writing is that it hurls itself full-pelt into worldbuilding, presenting something that has great breadth in terms of the volume of people, places, creatures and events, but on closer inspection is revealed to have little to no depth. I was reminded of this early on in TMotGRD when I clicked on the flavour text about the Great Darkness, that fellow who lives in his mother's basement in the mountains. Reading the different names he's known by I thought, "so what are the cultures that produced these names? From what events or histories did they emerge?"

    But actually, I wonder if thoughts like this are irrelevant to the mythic quality of the writing here. This isn't epic fantasy, to me; it reads more like a modern take on children's fables and presented in the foggy language of dream logic. And whilst there are plenty of Potions of Proper Noun and Great Weapons of Yore and other portentous titles, it's the sort of thing that fits rather better in a style of writing that would've emerged from an oral tradition, of storytelling passed down generation to generation, adult to child, full of bold images and strong themes and striking names.

    It is certainly a step apart from most modern trends and I'm keen to read more and put these thoughts to the test.

    As for the story, well, I played it through the once and I'm not sure if I should again. My quest was a failure, both in terms of the quest and my - haha - 'personal journey'. But I wonder if they all end up like that, one way or another. Perhaps I should've become a bard and written that epic about horses after all.

    I do agree that the ending is a rather sharp inversion, and one that didn't feel foreshadowed earlier in the story, although I suppose such foreshadowing might conflict with the literary approach I've already outlined. I think it is a rather savage critique of the cultural philosophy of the societies everyone reading this (I would wager) is living in, and whilst it wasn't unwelcome, like HM I slightly question either its presence or its implementation as such a sharp about-face.

    But once I'm done with Out There and EDF 2025 and the rest of these Twines, I think TSWCE will be next on the list.
  • Anyone care what I think about the other three rooms, or shall I save my bullshit for elsewhere?

    Do kinda want to talk about them but discussion seems to have gone a bit one-sided.
  • I don't see why you shouldn't start a separate thread. I was intending to use this for all of my small summaries. I'm desperately short of time right now so I'm not commenting much here or on the main site.
  • I'm enjoying the bullshit no matter where it is. I still have to finish my own bullshit on the exhibiton...

    Do you think we'd be better served by having different threads for the games--or perhaps the different rooms?
    Post edited by rgoodness at 2014-03-05 18:04:06
  • I VOTE FOR A NEW THREAD FOR SHAUN, IT’S *HM* journeys through the exhibition NOT ADAM AND STEVE. Oh wait.

    (That's a Star Trek: the next generation reference)
  • Shaun you can make your own via "start new discussion" on the right (I think). On mobile its the speech bubble icon top-right. Make sure to choose Fear of Twine as the category.
  • Joel all I'm saying is if we could put photos in here I would have put in a funny one. It was not of a penis, duck or otherwise.
  • I was making a Star Trek joke, I know how to forum xxx
  • Thanks Joel!
    I guess I feel very differently about branches than The Great Red Dragon feels about branches. I assume people will explore more than one and write to that expectation. Therefore any one branch is a bit unsatisfying. Then again every horror I write often is deliberately unsatisfying.
  • I liked it very much, but I’ll admit I had to download it and set the font to Arial in order to play it.
  • Post edited by HM at 2014-03-26 21:52:27
  • Post edited by HM at 2014-04-04 01:00:45
  • Aw, you guys spoil me too much :) Some thoughts about your thoughts about my game:

    All of it was unintentionally inspired by Richard’s praise of my Úrquel. He liked the bits where the links tell a part of the story you don’t get anywhere else, so I thought for his project I would take what he liked in Úrquel and make an entire game out of it.

    I understand I deliberately suppressed non-link text from the formula, yet it still surprises me that you feel the text is there to be extrapolated from the links, instead of the more realistic “the links ARE the whole text.”

    There is indeed no branching. There was, originally. My first concept started from the moment you either signed or refused to sign the law and branched quite a lot. I began to write longer and longer introductions to that initial decision, and eventually that intro became the game (the dream sequences are what’s left of the consequences of singing or not).

    The story is detailed enough that I was amazed by the review that compared it to Drosophilia as an incomprehensible experimental piece. I didn’t think of the law in terms of its content though, but I did assume the game gave enough clues about it being morally wrong. An email from Richard tells me he got the exact opposite impression: he didn’t think the law was described as good or bad, but felt the content might have something to do with gay marriage (or maybe he just used marriage as an example, don’t remember).

    The attention it got has been quite a lot in terms of the exhibition. I’m very very glad this is my second appearance in HM’s Favourite Twines list, and I bragged several days with friends and family about Emily Short picking it among the 3 most interesting ones from the bunch.
  • Well I guess saying the law is "morally wrong" puts a bit more of an absolutist stance on it than I think the game feels, or should feel: It's very clear the law is seen on moral terms, as most laws are, and that the exact content of the law is almost irrelevant. I put in "gay marriage" simply cause it's one of those that concerns me that my country is dealing with, but it could really be anything--abortion, drug reform, abolishment of corporate donation limits on political campaigns, whatever. We want to think about the protagonist as being on the side of the angels, but it's possible to recast the protag as being a villain without any rewriting as far as I can remember.

    Anyway fear of twine has taught me one thing: People really DO fucking hate ambiguity or works which don't announce their intention from the first sentence. I have always thought that was a stereotype but apparently it's true. Deep reading is not really a Thing is it? But either way, your piece is deservedly lauded. I love that terseness to it.
  • @DavidMarchand: Don't take me too literally. Indeed, the links are the whole text, but the links do not tell you what is happening, they imply it. So the whole game is about extrapolating that information - as if you were working out "the missing text".

    I assumed the law was a bad thing and the dreams were about the protagonist wrestling with conscience. I assumed the shooting attempt was about the law itself and not about, say, anarchy in the country.

    Incomprehensible experimental piece? Really?
  • Joel, why do you assume that March is lying to you? That's what he claims the reception of his work was and if he feels oppressed by it, you have to just let him follow his bliss. #peaceman
  • In response to Harbour Master's thoughts:

    Unfortunate?! That bastard stole my concept! It's alright, though, because I snuck into his house and stole his wallet in revenge, and then I bit his arm off while he was sleeping.

    The whole point of the choice was that nobody was going to know how things would turn out. You got a single tidbit of foreshadowing that didn't help the decision, and off you went. I was going to have a checklist system, but time was short (I had the idea for this work so late in the game, I wasn't sure I could develop it properly, and I even started writing two twines alongside each other to see which idea stuck), and the only thing it would have added was the illusion of choice, so fuck it, it was unnecessary.

    Funnily enough, the other twine is where the movie opening came from. It was going to have a B-movie feel to it, so I thought it fitting that it have a cinematic opening, but I liked the idea so much, I added it to The Scientific Method, partly because I didn't even know if I was ever going to finish the other one. Sadly, I still don't know if I'm going to make it. It's such a good concept, too. ;~;

    The actual reason I had lesbians in the story is because I feel like the best way to stick it to the Tumblr social justice assholes is to have characters they think of as oppressed, and then make it so that the identity is irrelevant. Oh, you want some more queer characters in stories? Here's some, and their queerness has no real effect on the story because fuck you and your identity bullshit. And yeah, the characters are a little weak. I was rushed, and I'm not too good with characters, anyway. I can do mannerisms and dialogue really well, but character traits are lost on me.

    Thanks for your feedback, though. I thought you'd never get to mine! ;w;
  • Post edited by HM at 2014-04-06 02:03:37
  • Post edited by HM at 2014-04-06 01:59:10
  • Also a Fear of Twine Counterweight podcast is on its way!!!
  • The Fear of Twine Counterweight was going to feature a hidden bonus of Joel singing, but I messed it up so it doesn't include that.
  • @HM: Thanks for taking the time for a write-up dear Joel. Agree with many of the points you make, but will be coming back to discuss objectivity as soon as I manage to relax even a bit.

    For the record: I do consider Fate Of The World to be deeply subjective, scientifically wrong on many aspects and infuriatingly presented as objective.

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