Hanon's Short Spring Thing Thoughts (in progress)

Among the Seasons , by Kieran Green - Twine
freeee eee as a biiirrrrd
  • Feels a bit like a ChoiceScript - you choose how something happens instead of what happens.
  • I like the perspective descriptions - like “mass of metal” for a car, but I wish this had gone further and was perhaps a bit weirder and more obtuse so the reader had to guess what they were experiencing. Concepts like “tools” and especially “a window” would seem to be more daunting mysterious concepts as experienced by a bird. This magpie knows what a “murder of crows” and “adrenaline” are…
  • I’m not a huge fan of reliance on ... as a choice for “next/turn the page”. I don’t know if it’s better to put “continue” or highlight the last word of the text. I’m probably used to it as a Visual Novel/anime convention for hesitation or not knowing what to say.
  • (Is “scarper” a magpie/avian term I don’t know, or a typo for “scatter”?)
  • Oo! I get to name a noun! I guess my magpie knows what a paper clip is.
  • Aw, I found a friend. I wonder if we’ll mate.
Darkness, by Jeff Schomay - Elm Narrative Engine
tw-huh-hus bliiind...um blind...(scroll scroll scroll)
  • Mmn. Blurry text.
  • Oh! it fades out as I go. (Style points) I kind of like that I can re-click links to do different things…
  • But as the story continues, I’m scrolling a longer distance.
  • And…oh. I’m collecting an inventory of links Cool! …But I have to scroll to the top for it to drop down. Hmn. Nope…I scroll up a little and it drops, but if I hit the top it vanishes again. Seems there must be a better way to do this.
  • Ah, okay, the screen clears with a new scene.
  • I am all about these re-usable links…but I hate fighting the upper bar and wish it would stay onscreen.
  • I wish I could click on a repeat of the same word in the text instead of fighting the bar to use one in the list again.
  • I can’t not think of George Jefferson shouting “WHEEZY!” all the time. I’m old.
  • Mph. I died. I love the mechanics of this, and I like a horizontal bar of links to collect, but I felt like I was fighting the interface instead of playing the story.
  • Oh wait, I didn’t die, I just had to click the same link again…
  • I liked this, I just wish I didn’t spend so long fighting the interface.
Quiet , by Martyna “Lisza” Wasiluk - Twine
?? !! XD
  • Ooh! An emoji game! I know this has been tried, but this is the length of an entire conversation.
  • I am not sure about the choices I’m making…
  • Oh, that’s the joke, my friend also agrees.
  • This puts me in mind of 10pm by litrouke where you constructed symbol sentences.
  • Great dialogue. It’s pretty funny also. I like this.
  • I’m starting to get a general feel for what repeated emojis mean. I’m communicating by facial expressions which is the dream of NPC interaction :smiley:

to be continued…


I had almost all those same thoughts about Among the Seasons: it clearly wasn’t super anthropomorphic like A Wind in the Willows or E.B. White’s stuff, but the descriptions were slightly too human-like for me to be comfortable with them as a portrayal of how a bird might think, as authors like Jean George or Sterling North might write. I found that a little jarring throughout the whole piece. Which is a shame, because I thought it did a great job of providing plausible actions/choices for a magpie. Just the flavor of the text was a little off.

“scarper” means to run away or to flee. From the same root as escape, I’m guessing?

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Thanks for posting these!

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WE R THE WORLD by Dan Hoy & Mike Kleine - Twine
just reeeealize, oh that change can only coooo-HUH HUM
  • I knew “We Are the World” had an insidious purpose. Hm. Anagrams.
  • Is this random procgen?
  • Reading the first one unlocked all the rest but one.
  • I went back and read the first one after the second one, and it seems my choices don’t make a difference. This might be too weird for me, especially in my current non-intoxicated state.
Writing Program Five, by Dan Cox - Twine
it took me years to write, will you take a look?
  • Immediate mild House of Leaves vibe.
  • Aha…
  • Neat idea, but I think I’m looking for more game than there is here. I had a similar experience with CMG’s +=-
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Thanks for the play and the review of Darkness!

The interface always bothered me as well. The Elm Narrative Engine was never designed for Twine-style games, but it was designed to be very flexible, so I wanted to try a Twine-like interface as an experiment. I found out that “reusable links” don’t work that well with hypertext style interactions.

I struggled with the UI for a while, and added the top bar, which helped, but I agree that it was cumbersome. After I had finished, I realized that it could probably work better if it were presented more like 16 Ways to Kill a Vampire at McDonalds (which I really enjoyed). But instead of trying to rework it, I put it on ice. 2 years later I figured I might as well show it instead of hide it away, and that’s why I I entered it into this comp.

Nonetheless, I’m glad you enjoyed it. And I’m going to take your suggestion of keeping the upper bar onscreen, and I’ll try to update the game. Thanks again!


It sort of builds on this mythical engine I have in my brain where the story reads like a book and none of the text is highlighted. You can click on anything, and there would be a database of dictionary words the author sets up responses and contexts for. If you click on “King” anywhere it appears, you’d get a description of the king in context, and perhaps a list of choices like “Talk to”. You could also build sentences Lucasarts-style by clicking words in sequence to create a command.

It’s probably not feasible. But there was a prototype (I cannot remember the name of) that did something like this.

EDIT: Spondre

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Just noticed the edit with the link. That’s really cool! I was surprised while playing it how similar it is to my game, in initial setting/story, look, and mechanics. Thanks for sharing!

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