porpentine

One of the most prominent and critically acclaimed Twine games has been Howling Dogs, a haunting meditation about trauma and escapism produced in 2012 by a woman named Porpentine. The gameplay begins in a claustrophobic metal room bathed in fluorescent light. Although you can’t leave, you can “escape” once a day by donning a pair of virtual-­reality goggles. Each time, you’re launched into a strange and lavishly described new world where you play a different role: a doomed young empress learning the art of dying; a scribe trying to capture the beauty of a garden in words; a Joan of Arc-like figure waiting to be burned on a pyre. And each time you return to the metal room, it’s a little dirtier and a little more dilapidated — the world around you slowly decomposing as you try to disappear into a virtual one.
—  Laura Hudson’s ‘Twine, the Video-Game Technology for All’

Porpentine is a game changer, her work is so exciting. It’s been weeks and my thoughts still linger on her art, this medium. Also recommend Anna Anthropy’s ‘Queers in Love at the End of the World.’ 
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With Those We Love Alive - a text adventure written by porpentine with music by Brenda Neotenomie

honestly – I’m actually goin to say this is my new favourite text adventure. it’s really a very special game. so many emotions are communicated so clearly and personally through the use of colour, language, music and audience participation.

I say “audience participation” because WTWLA employs a truly unique feature for a game. at certain points in the story, you are asked to draw symbols on your body, and lots of people, upon completing the game, upload photos of their symbols and I just think that that is really really cool. everyone plays the same game but comes away with something unique and personal to them, which can be shared with others.

Also the use of music in this game is genius. serious kudos to brenda neotenomie for capturing and adding to the mood of each part of the story. use your god damn headphones/earbuds people.

having said all that, I really think the less said about this game the better, but I will give a hint: to progress the story, you need to sleep. I didn’t know this and was v confused for a while.

TW: violence, drugs, child abuse, self harm.

CUTE CHEER UP ONLINE INDIE GAMES

Today has been b-a-n-a-n-a-s so I figured I’d make a list of sweet upbeat games that’ll make y'all feel better.

Where is the button for love? - you are a mom in a giant robot suit trying to hug your daughter. Think Surgeon Simulatoresque controls.

Candy Ant Princess - Gosh this is super great twine game by tumblr user ratbagbat. Self-explanatory title. You’ll be dawwing throughout.

Room of 1000 Snakes - THE GREATEST GAME OF OUR TIME. Press enter to start.

Fear Less! - Gorgeous pixel art, you are a small girl dreaming and running and fighting and and jumping and generally being awesome.

Jurassic Heart - Dating. Dinosaurs. So fucking kawaii. <3

wreCK - RPG Maker game by tumblr user tvface.Playing as the healer class is really soothing. There’s a pretty strong OFF feel, but it’s not enough to overwhelm this very unique game. Music is god tier.

CRY$TAL WARRIOR KE$HA - It’s Porpentine. You have no reason not to play it.

we had our workshop today and it went great! brenda made a beautiful twine tutorial slideshow that doesn’t rely on powerpoint, just go to the page and click or use keyboard arrows to navigate (down arrows focus more deeply on a specific topic, right arrows continue to the next topic). feel free to use for your own workshop or to teach a friend!

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One day everything you swallow will come up like a stone, a game by Porpentine that is only available for 24 hours.

“I counted this high”. The numbers become a geography. Sometimes invisible. Sometimes they become staircases, and paths that you run through while holding your breath. Other times they keep you grounded, in a horrible way. Sometimes they’re the only thing that’s there.

They’re reminiscent of the counter in Howling Dogs which increments each day of solitary confinement, and the story opens sometime after 365. Hold out for arbitrary milestones only for them to pass with indifference.

“This is the game.”

Intensely personal, erotic, bizarre, and unabashedly honest are just a few words that describe the work of Porpentine, one of gaming’s most absorbing designers.

“I think trash represents this kind of lowest of the lower, this sinking point,” she said. “If you’re trash, there’s nowhere else to go, and you’re co-mingling with all these things around you. It’s a refuge. It represents finding value in something that so many other people find ugly and celebrating it, which is something that applies a lot to my life and my work.”

Porpentine’s contributions toward the maturation of the medium we love so much has been among the greatest I’ve seen in my lifetime. Games like Papo y Yo, Depression Quest and Dys4ia have done much to shake our digital foundation’s anxiety over personal, risky games as an legitimately effective - and, in some cases profitable - proposition. Porpentine’s own work has done much to cultivate this growing presence of cathartic, poetically personal work; and I look forward to seeing the space flourish. 

This article by Patrick Klepek is worth a read, trust me. 

I like when people focus on the technique and aesthetic of my games, because I feel there’s a lot of intentionality and artistry that gets erased from analyses of women’s work. Like, we need deeper analyses of women’s work than “Isn’t it great that women are making games?”

It’s like yes, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand?

For the record, porpentine is pretty much my feminist role model.

Her work completely subverts, inverts and retrofits just about every aspect of femininity in a way that’s radical, gloriously violent and supremely empowering because, not in spite of, its being feminine. She shoves her glittercoated spandex-clad postfuturistic cyborg grubmother identity down your throat, and you will love it.

Yet I’ve never seen her trying to shove what you should be down your throat, and any broadly sweeping statements she makes are presented in a deliberately playful way that allows you to co-create with her, and decide what you make of them. She’s interpretive art, not a textbook. She’s not about defining other people. She’s about defining herself, while providing a path for other people to seek joy. And she’s fucking marvellous.