Porpentine  Tagged Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Porpentine  RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network What is Twine? The Game Development Tool You Should Know About https://www.gameskinny.com/7br42/what-is-twine-the-game-development-tool-you-should-know-about https://www.gameskinny.com/7br42/what-is-twine-the-game-development-tool-you-should-know-about Thu, 30 Jan 2014 19:52:30 -0500 Amanda Wallace

With Twine game Depression Quest making its way to Steam and more people discovering the medium you may be asking yourself -- "wait, what is Twine?" 

Twine is a system for making interactive fiction. Because Twine is so simple to use, it has attracted a myriad of users and designers. Its relative simplicity invites modification, while its basic user interface attracts those who find engines like Unity complex or unmanageable. 

Quickly adopted by the queer gaming scene, Twine is a home for experimentation. It can be a haven for amateurs as well as seasoned game developers, and it is only growing. The games range from more traditional interactive fiction to oddities such as Anne Hathaway's Erotic Mouthscape

Here are some excellent examples of Twine games:

queers in love at the end of the world 

Anna Anthropy is probably best known for her work on games like Lesbian Spider Queen of Mars and Mighty Jill Off, as well as her autobiographical game dys4ia, however for me one of her best games is queers in love at the end of the world. A game based off of the Ludum Dare theme "10 seconds" though not made for the jam itself, queers in love is a fantastic exploration of what the media is capable of. 

The premise is simple, but devastatingly so. The world is ending, and you have ten seconds with your partner. What do you do? Do you hold them. Do you try to feel as much as possible before the end? There are many different permutations, all of them a different path. It's an excellent game, and playable at the Auntie Pixelante website.

Cry$tal Warrior Ke$ha 

While Porpentine has created some other phenomenal works (mutant heat comes to mind), Cry$tal Warrior Ke$ha is one of her more accessible works and one that I keep coming back to. A game about glitter and slutwave transformations where you play as pop-star Ke$ha, Cry$tal Warrior Ke$ha is a transformative experience and an excellent example of the medium.

Playable on Porpentine's website

a kiss  


A game by Dan Waber, a kiss showcases the mediums ability to focus in on a single moment in time. In this game, you explore the intricacies of a kiss. Just a kiss, but it goes into such a great amount of detail it's hard not to be swept away. 

While deceptively simple, there is so much choice in a kiss that you can explore the simple text world for a very long time without repeating scenarios. 

You can play the game at Dan Waber's website.

If you're interested in Twine, you can check out the official page for Twine, as well as Anna Anthropy's introductory guide to making Twine games

IndieCade Announces Finalists For 2013 Show https://www.gameskinny.com/pnc2o/indiecade-announces-finalists-for-2013-show https://www.gameskinny.com/pnc2o/indiecade-announces-finalists-for-2013-show Thu, 12 Sep 2013 17:27:23 -0400 Amanda Wallace


Word Realms 


A combination word-puzzle game with RPG elements, World Realms combines humor and creative play to craft a unique experience. 


Developer Asymmetric says; "Combined with thousands and thousands of lines of written banter, gameplay is challenging and funny in equal proportions." 


Valdis Story: Abyssal City 


A 2D side scrolling exploration platformer from Endless Fluff, Valdis Story: Abyssal City is game that promises complicated and rewarding combat and customization. 


You can play as one of 4 characters in the war against demons and angels in an attempt to uncover the truth. 


Tenya Wanya Teens 


A game about rocking out, Tenya Wanya Teens is about that "awkward transition from childhood to adulthood." 


The game is a party game with two players with 16 buttons each and a custom LED controller. 


Tower No Tumble 


A game that combines tabletop shuffleboard and Jenga, Tower No Tumble is a party game meant to be played with 1-4 people. The game gives you points for jostling the precarious tower, but knock it down and you gain no points. 


The game has three modes, including Cooperative, Competitive and Silly. 




Inspired by an experience taking acid (LSD) at Burning Man, Robin Arnott created a game about the sensual exploration of sound and image. 


The game is designed to sort of lull you into a trance, and is about the "pleasure of playing instead of the rewards of winning." 


Sim Cell


An interactive look inside cells, SimCell asks you to play the part of a nanobot, manipulating organelles and cell structures to help save the cell from a virus attack. 


With multiple levels of zoom, SimCell creates a diverse array of options and interactions. 




A first person reality manipulation game, SCALE is all about manipulation of size. In a fresh take on size. 


Make a flower large enough to stand on. Forget think in Portals. Think in terms of SCALE. 




Project Holodeck 


A embodies VR gaming platform, Project Holodeck seeks to combine the Oculus Rift with "motion tracking hardware" with the goal of creating a "playspace for two players." 


Potatoman Seeks the Troof


A PC/Mac/Linux advneture game, Potatoman Seeks the Troof promises to be a surreal experience in short form. 


The 'Troof" is always out of grasp as you help Potatoman search for the riddle across a myriad of environments. 




"A thrilling game of strategic avoidance," you can find Pivvot in the iOS app store as well as on Steam Greenlight. 


A two button game, Pivvot promises to test your reflexes and reaction times. 


Outer Wilds


An atmospheric space exploration game, Outer Wilds allows you to embark on a comic expedition. 


The game allows you to experience an alien world for 20 minutes. During that time, you get to see the world through a first person perspective as it evolves and grows. After those 20 minutes, however, the sun goes supernova. And the universe ends. 




An experiment by the artist and designer Mattie Brice, Mainichi is about sharing a personal experience through a game system. 


Mattie Brice is a multi-racial transgender woman, and the game explores a day in her life. It's a study in mechanics and in empathy through action. 




An interactive game set inside a journal about exploring a world through character interaction and dialogue rather than puzzles. The game has you decide the fate of a lone girl character, with her decisions in the past shaping her life in the future. 


Created by Richard Perrin, the game is meditative and grounded. 


Gravity Ghost 


Correctly called the indie Super Mario GalaxyGravity Ghost is about a 12-year old ghost girl searching for her lost friend. 


The game is anti-penalty, and features a beautiful watercolor like backdrop, music from the composer of FTL, and a mechanic that will have you exploring for hours. 




An audio-adventure game set in the future, FREEQ's premise is that your mobile device is an antenna, which allows you tap in and eavesdrop on signals from the future. 


FREEQ operates with a "unique storytelling engine," which allows you experience a wide variety of situations and controls who speaks to whom. With a nod back to classic radio dramas, and an eye towards the distant future, FREEQ 
promises to be a unique experience. 


Dominique Pamplemousse


Some games defy simple explanation. Dominique Pamplemousse is one of those games. From Deirdra Kiai, it is an innovative interactive, stop-motion musical comedy. It's also a noir. About a woman detective trying to locate a missing pop-star. 


It's a one of a kind game. 


Color Zen


A puzzle game by Large Animal Games, it is another game that features no points and no penalties for failure. In Color Zen, you are taught a simple mechanic which then morphs into puzzle challenges. 


With a meditative soundtrack and distinctive design, you are meant to simply melt into the Color Zen




Intended to be played in a large public space, BUDLR is controlled by text-message. A "four player bomb blasting bonanza," anyone can participate if they text to the phone number associated with their character.  


7 Grand Steps


"An intimate, board-like game, just for you," 7 Grand Steps promises to allow you to experience your own successive generations. 


Melded into this games DNA is a narrative, board-game like structure, and elements of historical simulation games. 


Movers and Shakers


A "serious" two person tablet game that intends to create conflict outside of the scope of the tablet it's being played on, Movers and Shakers involves two people controlling the movement of lava through the center of the Earth to get the Earth back on track after a disaster. The game involves real time strategy, individual goals, and a boardgame-like interface. 


Upgrade Soul


An "immersive digital graphic novel," Uprgrade Soul tells the story of a couple of wealthy science buffs that decide to spend their money creating a cure for their old age. As long as they are the first in line. 






The Ouya exclusive (for now), is a couch fighting game for up to four players. With archery based combat, it evokes a retro Super Smash Brothers.


Developed by Matt Makes Games, Towerfall was also featured in the PAX 10 this year at PAX Prime. 


That Dragon, Cancer 


A biographical journey, this game follows the story of Joel as he endures his sons three year battle with cancer. The game takes place inside a Children's Hospital. 


Having seen the game being played at PAX, it's incredibly moving experience. "With poetry, spoken word, light puzzle solving, and immersive sound design with a sparse orchestral score, we aim to create a poem the player can get lost in emotionally." 


Super T.I.M.E. Force 


With the original concept created in a brief amount of time, Super Time Force is a fascinating game that will "melt hearts and minds." 


An XBLA shooter, it utilizes a unique mechanic of movement through time. When you die, you can go back and try again, but your previous self will still be there. In this way, you can create a great deal of insane action. 


starseed pilgrim


A game about exploration and "tending a symphonic garden," Starseed Pilgrim involves learning your surrounding and escaping an encroaching blackness, while building up to create a larger and larger garden. 


Created by Droqen and Ryan Roth, the game is incredibly melodic and calls upon the idea of embracing fate. 


Spin The Bottle: Bumpie's Party 


A party game for 2-8 people, the game has all participants sit around the Wii  U Gamepad to "spin the bottle" before two players are selected to participate in physical challenges involving the Wiimote. 




If you've ever looked at a room of people all on their cell phones and thought, "hey, they could be playing a game together," than Spaceteam is for you. 


Created by Henry Smith, it's a cooperative party game for 2-4 players where each player needs to be on a mobile or tablet device. 




A game about bullets and music from Studio Bean.  "Each level features hand-crafted choreography of bullet patterns that must be dodged in order to perform for the entirety of a song." 




"Crafted with love and science," Alan Hazelden & Harry Lee created a game that combines chemistry and thoughtful puzzles. 


Sokobond is available now on Mac/PC/Linuxs. 




From developer vested interest, simian.interface is a game that "has no time limits, no way to lose, and no controls besides the mouse." 


The game promises to be fun for all ages, and combines a lot of things traditionally found in tabletop puzzles, but also in other forms of gaming. 


Save The Date


An experimental meta-narrative game from Paper Dino, featuring unconventional storytelling techniques and a just having dinner with friends. 


Rollers of the Realm 


From developer Phantom Compass, Rollers of the Realm features an innovative take on the RPG, combining it with pinball. 




Rogue Legacy


A 2D rogue-"LITE" from Cellar Door Games, Rogue Legacy operates on a innovative concept where every time your character dies you get to replace them with an heir. 


The game features several interesting quirks, including characters that are colorblind or suffer from vertigo, which affects the way you play them. 




A 2D PC God game, Reus recently gained a great deal of popularity during the Steam Summer Sale. 


In this game by Abbey Games, you play as 4 giants that affect the ecosystems and surface or your world. 


Quadrilateral Cowboy


Blendo is one of the more distinctive game companies out now, with games like Atom Zombie Smasher and 30 Flights of Loving. Their IndieCade submission is Quadrilateral Cowboy, about navigating security systems in a cyberpunk world. 


As they put it, "Armed with a 56.6k modem and a staggering 256k RAM, it means only one thing: you answer to the highest bidder." 


Porpentines Twine Compilation 


Porpentine is a queer game creator who predominately utilizes the tool Twine. Her IndieCade submission included a couple of 10-25 minute experimental hypertext games. 


They are as follows: 

  • Howling dogs
  • \n
  • \n
  • Cry$tal Warrior Ke$ha
  • \n
  • Naked Shades
  • \n
  • \n
  • Parasite
  • \n
  • Ultra Business Tycoon III
  • \n



In Pico you play as the title character, trying to track down Father. 


The game incorporates pop-ups and a multi-window experience that is quite innovative, and involves moving multiple windows to solve puzzles. 


Perfect Woman 


A strategic dancing game for the Kinect. The game, created by Peter Lu and Lea Schonfelder, incorporates making life decisions as well as dancing. The difficulty of your performance will be based off of the decisions made. 




Made with a partnership between Quartic Llama and the National Theater of Scotland, Other is an alternate reality sound game. 


You pick up sounds through your phone while traveling through the real city of Dundee, and combines the commonly loved elements of an ARG with an engaging soundscape. 




Messhoff, the creator of NIDHOGG is perhaps best known for his part in creating last years indie smash hit Hotline Miami


NIDHOGG is a fencing game that involves battling back and forth across multiple screens. It's acrobatic, and elusive. 


Luxuria Superbia 


A predominately mobile game from Tale of Tales, Luxuria Superbia is about the playful exploration of pleasure.  Utilizing music and pleasurable themes, Luxuria Superbia invites you to "bring color to the temple of love." 




From Indiecade; "We often take fairness and equality in games for granted, but Kulak introduces an asymmetric game mechanic that forces players to make difficult decisions about betrayal and self-sacrifice, competition versus cooperation."


In Kulak, you play as either the Baron or a member of the proletariat and much decide whether to band together with your fellow man to end your economic hardship or join with the Baron.  


Kentucky Route Zero


Created by Cardboard Computer, Kentucky Route Zero is a magical realist exploration into the caves of Kentucky. 


Kentucky Route Zero is an episodic point and click adventure featuring a incredibly unique art style and soundtrack. 


Hermit Crab in Space 


You must fight your way through the galaxy in this story about a hermit crab that warped its way to the wrong part of space. Made by Golden Ruby Games, Hermit Crab in Space puts you in an improvised spaceship that is always just shy of falling completely apart. 


A modular shooter, you can find Hermit Crab in Space on Playstation Mobile. 




A 2-D stealth game about "rewiring things and punching people," Gunpoint also features a level editor and a three hour story mission. 


A sidescrolling game with a unique concept, Gunpoint has been called "the most exciting piece of game design in a long, long time." 


Gone Home


 Unfortunately best known for backing out of PAX Prime after what the developers, the Fullbright Company, perceived as transphobic comments, Gone Home is a snapshot of the nineties through the eyes of a teenage girl and her older sister. 


Played out through the exploration of an empty house, you must discover what happened to the people who lived there. 




A game about plants, insects and music, Ephemerid is a game about helping a Mayfly discover its destiny. 


Ephemerid was made by Super Chop Games and features an original soundtrack and paper cut details. 




A game that intentionally blurs the line between fact and fiction, Extrasolar allows you to control one of the first probes to land on a planet outside of our solar system. Utilizing realistic graphics and images, Extrasolar also builds a story back on Earth and invokes a conspiratorial feel that will slowly grow as you continue to play. 


Edgar Rice Soiree 


An installation game played with 20 hanging Playstation Move controllers. Each player has a color, and need to activate their colored controllers. When you get down to one activated controller, your health slowly drains, so you have to have at least two controllers. 


This incorporates a real world competitive nature to the game, and you can physically move to block other people activating their controller. 


Dog Eat Dog


Subtitled "A game of imperialism and assimilation in the Pacific Islands," Dog Eat Dog is an RPG from Liwanag Press. 


In a group, you create an describe one of the Pacific Islands. Then one member of the team breaks off to assume the roll of the occupying force, from military to tourists. Liam Burke, the games designer, is a half-Filipino living in Hawaii and used his history to inform several decisions about the game. 


Dog Eat Dog is designed with novice and advanced RPG makers alike. 




A pen and paper game, Deadbolt is a in person game that has been played three times (as far as I can tell) and only at conventions. 


The game is based off of of  "this thing that happens on Twitter sometimes where people play games that involve emotional honesty and connection over the distance of the internet, both through directed private conversations..and in public." Deadbolt is the in-person version of that experience. 


Cube & Star: A Love Story 
The game is about a monochrome world that you begin to stain or populate with color. As game designers Doppler Interactive puts it, "Fill your heart with joy, and leave the world a more colorful place than when you entered it." 


You can communicate with other similar squares, and the environment is very much alive and interactive. 




The game is an interactive gallery experience, intended to be communal and to invoke the experience of our ancestors looking into the night sky. 


You create stories through constellations through abstract shapes, akin to a connect the dots. The game delves into a form of myth creation, as well as a shared experience. 


99 Tiny Games 


Created by Hide&Seek, 99 Tiny Games is a collection of location specific games played in the real world utilizing digital networks. 


The games were featured on large posters around London, "three in each of the 33 boroughs," and were utilized using an app. The games were also featured in the 2013 Brighton Digital Festival. 




An incredibly unique game, [code] is a single player experience where you play as a "@." 


The player goes through the game manipulating codes and gaining clues from the commented out sections to solve puzzles, learn computer science principals, and "eventually call the "NextLevel()" function. 


IndieCade is a jury nominated indie games festival that celebrates the best indie games from the year. Nominated games (which have gone through a four-juror selection process) are then eligible to win top awards, including Audience Choice during the Closing Awards. 


The following games have been selected as being the best of the best. 

Real Indie: the Queer Game Scene https://www.gameskinny.com/pzhbj/real-indie-the-queer-game-scene https://www.gameskinny.com/pzhbj/real-indie-the-queer-game-scene Sun, 18 Aug 2013 17:34:41 -0400 Amanda Wallace

Traditionally, indie gaming has been the home of the fringe. Much in the way that art house cinema delves into different topics than traditional mainstream film, independent games can explore different themes than most big budget games. Sometimes this is done in a less than serious way, like the white-knuckle fun of games like Super Meat Boy, other times it is used for more serious topics. 

This isn't to say that AAA titles can't talk about serious or controversial topics, but oftentimes they don't. When so much money is on the line, it's really no surprise that major studios would want to bet on something that doesn't offend a subset of the population or alienate some players. This is the gap that independent games often fill. 

An emerging, or more recently recognized, subset of independent games is the queer gaming scene. Queer gaming is an amorphous term, much like the usage of the word "queer" in general, but queer developer Zoë Quinn defines it really well in that , "A queer game is usually, like, a game where it's not a straight, white male doing things." 

So what does it mean to be "queer?" 

The term queer is an ever-expanding one. For starters, it used to be used pejoratively to describe homosexuals. Today, it is used more as an umbrella term to describe any gender identity or sexual attitude that delineates from the mainstream. People who identify as queer can be lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, gay, and depending on your definition, heterosexual identifying people who do not ascribe to traditional gender roles.

It's important to recognize that the term has only fairly recently been "taken back, " and for some it's still considered a hateful epithet. As such, some people are not comfortable using the term. 

What does a queer game do that traditional games do not? 

There are exceptions to this, but you could make the argument that many mainstream games are monolithic. Maybe it's because a great deal of developers are straight white men, maybe it's because we haven't accepted that we can do other things than craft stories that most closely resemble action movies. 

Take two examples from the past year that have been lauded for their ability to tell stories; Bioshock Infinite  and the Last of Us. Now, I enjoyed playing both of these games. But both feature characters that are relatively similar -- straight, white, older father-figure men who escort young women, with the young women having varying degrees of game play helpfulness. In fact, both characters are voiced by the same voice actor. 

Anna Anthropy, a major figure in the queer games scene, said,

if mainstream games culture has no place for these perspectives, where do they go? Mainstream games having no space for them, marginalized people have to CREATE a space for themselves in videogames. And that's exactly what they've done, by inventing new communities and repurposing existing tools.

Anna is perhaps known best for game Dys4ia, an abstract, autobiographical game about Anna's (also known as Auntie Pixelante) gender transition and hormone replacement. 

Anna's perspective is her own, and it's an important contribution to video games as a whole. She will probably not make games about straight, white men, because she isn't one. But without perspectives like hers, the gaming industry would become more homogenous. 

Sure, games like Mass Effect allow you to choose your sexuality, but there are very few games that allow you to experience the world from the perspective of someone who is queer. While allowing the player to customize the characters sexuality is a good step, it doesn't go into the experience of being LGBTQ. 

For example, 1 in 5 transgender youth are homeless, and as many as 20-40% of homeless youth identify along the LGBTQ spectrum. Their experience is a part of the human experience, and is being left out of one of the most interactive media known to man. 

Queer game developer and writer Mattie Brice, put it well in an article she wrote for ctrl+alt+defeat

Queer games also critique the typical heterosexual narrative ignoring its own issues: with divorce being so prevalent, why aren't there situations surrounding that? In a world that denies cultural partnering rituals to certain groups of people, why aren't there games that address heterosexual couples' conflict with keeping sacred with that they keep from others? it sounds like romance in games needs to get a little more queer. 

What she brings to video games is her perspective, one unique to her population. Her reality and experience can even be used to help put others experiences in contrast, and that's the importance of queer gaming and other off-the-beaten-path scenes.



Indie Games, including Queer Games, Help the Industry Experiment

If you are a big budget studio, chances are you aren't going going to go too far out on a limb. If you do, people's jobs are at stake. You can leave that for the developers who don't even do this as a full time job, the smaller studios, or the one person operations. 

Fringe developers, like queer game developers, also often work with more experimental forms and software. 

Take, for example, Twine. Twine is a free, open-source software originally created by Chris Klimas as a tool to help writers of interactive fiction (text adventures). The software was not intended to make games on, but it has been embraced by the queer gaming industry. 

Twine can be seen as being a part of the democratization of the video game industry. For one, it allows people who have little to no experience in computers to create games. Twine games don't require a long background in CS--just the ability to use html. 

As video game developer Porpentine puts it, "Twine is easy for spreading. You don't need a console. You don't need a high-end PC. You don't need to spend money. The browser is the lowest common denominator thing, and that is what Twine is on." 

This experimentation is a part of the contribution that queer game makers make to the scene. With little overhead, you can use programs like GameMaker, RPG Maker, or Twine and craft a story. Anna Anthropy writes in her presentation to Indiecade; "communities like this exist becasue of the inventiveness of marginalized people and their will to be heard even when the system is committed to silencing them." It both allows them to bring their unique perspective to the industry as a whole, and allows them to experiment with the form as well. 

Take any one of Porpentine's Twine games; she's a master of the form. Her games can be a powerful form of expression, and for the most part, they rarely go further than hypertext. She has turned her limitations into a strength. 

 So I'm not Queer. Why should I care about these games? 

Anna Anthropy has a great line in her presentation to Indiecade. "For lack of voices, all we would have is silence." Queer gaming brings new perspective, new voices, to the conversation. By it's existence, the industry is made richer. 

Take Merritt Kopas' fantastic game Lim. Lim is not the flashiest game you'll ever play, but it demonstrates violence in one of the most spine tingling ways I've ever experienced. Even if you are not queer or trans, even if you just have an experience being considered "different," you know the violence she's describing. These games can speak to you because they are a part of the human experience. 

Not only are they games that bring another perspective to the industry. but they can also be fun. I've played Porpentine's Crystal Ke$ha Warrior probably three times, and shared it with everyone I can. And it's amazing. 

If games are to be someday considered art, we don't need more Bioshock Infinite or the Last of Us, no matter how fun those games are. What the industry needs is the perspective of people like Anna Anthropy, Mattie Brice, Merritt Kopas, Porpentine and many more. 

Because for lack of voices, all we have is silence.