Friday, October 18, 2013

All Hallows' Eve Countdown: Interactive Horror Fiction


The Apparition on the Streckelberg (Illustration for Meinhold's The Amber Witch) aka Spirit of the Mountain (1895) by Sir Philip Burne-Jones (1861-1926). Image Source: ArtMagick.

Today's post features some hypertext horror fiction games written with Twine software. You can download Twine for free here and write your own Millennial choose-your-own adventures. Because Twine is easy to use, it is accessible to amateur artists. Twine's hyperlinks promise to have a big cultural impact; the interactive form may possibly one day shake the novel from its preeminent position in the world of literature. The hyperlinked form of fiction is currently changing conventions around narrative, characterization, voice, plot, the sense of reality, genre, and other aspects of creative writing.

Twine game designers take an independent and innovative stance, which gives voice to marginalized communities. For example, on the 11th to 13th of October 2013, a 48-hour horror game jam took place with the purpose of writing stories which challenge the scary asylum and mental-illness-as-horror tropes: "The primary rule is 'You should not use asylums, psychiatric institutes, medical professionals or violent/antipathic/’insane’ patients as settings or triggers.'" From the main page, Asylum Jam:
WHO states that mental illness or disorders affect one in four people. It is something a great deal of the world live and cope with, yet are increasingly hesitant to reveal due to negative stigmatization in media, compounded by lack of general awareness about the variance and truth of suffering from a mental illness.
Horror is usually derived from the unknown and what we do not understand— and mental illness is one of these subjects where the general public lacks knowledge and insight. Many horror games use the negative portrayal of those who suffer from mental illness as extremely violent or sadistic, usually as the villain or antagonist, as an easy crutch to rest their story, characters and motivations on.
Asylum Jam is here to prove that we do not have to utilize a negative portrayal of mental health, medical professionals or medical institutes to create a good horror experience for a gamer!
Read more »