Kid-friendly non-spatial Twine games?

As part of my job*, I’m planning a pair of weekend-afternoon workshops on interactive narrative for middle-schoolers (approximately 11- to 13-year-olds). The first one will focus on Twine, and we’ll be talking about branching narratives and variables. I intend to send out a pre-workshop email with some examples of stories the kids can play in advance to get an idea of the kind of thing we’ll be talking about. I’ll definitely include Town, because it’s very approachable and open-source. But ideally, I’d like to include some stories that are not primarily about spatial exploration, since I’m trying to set up one possible contrast between choice-based games and world-modeled games – the workshops are titled “Creating Choice-Based Stories with Twine” vs “Creating Text-Based Worlds with Inform 7,” and I’ll be emphasizing setting-as-story in the Inform one. (The workshops are only about three hours long, so definitely not long enough to talk about coding NPCs or much in the way of generative text.)

Ambifortunately, many of the excellent Twine games I know of are not particularly PG**. So I’d like some suggestions for non-spatially-oriented Twine games that would not be super likely to rile potentially conservative parents. So far, I’m liking Talentless Hack and maybe The Message (which I suspect kids would love but they might also get really fixated on it?). I’m also considering including Choice of the Dragon as an example of the medium, if not the tool.

**This is not a thread for arguing about the morality or intelligence of keeping “adult” things from children. It’s not about my opinion, here, it’s about getting to keep running these workshops, and thus avoiding angry phone calls from parents as much as possible.

To be fair, “Choice of the Dragon” has a lot of (non-explicit) violence; I’d classify it as PG-13 if it were a movie. “Choice of the Star Captain” or “Choice of Kung Fu” might be better examples; they’re non-free, but I’d be happy to provide you with free copies for educational purposes.

Ah, I admit to not playing it all the way through. (I played through the setup phase and a few turns of the game proper.) I guess I’m also not very attuned to noticing violence (insert standard rant about American culturization here) and/or tended to pick the least violent path for my dragon.

How long is the average playthrough of “Choice of the Dragon”? I kind of imagine the kids playing for like ten to twenty minutes before getting bored, which is fine for my purposes, since I just want them to get into the choice-based mindset.

Hm, intriguing. However, since this is for the pre-workshop email, it’s best if the things I’m directing them to are easy to access online. How do non-free ChoiceScript games work? Are they a download or a log-in?

I doubt that will be the case for your 11 - 13 year olds! It must be hard to be sure there’s NO explicit content anywhere in a game. Good luck though, I wish I’d had something like this at school.

More or less impossible, I’d say. :slight_smile: I’m really just aiming for plausible deniability.

Thanks! I get pretty jealous of the kids, myself. We have groups of 5- to 7-year-olds that come in every week during the school day from the school across the street. They spend the time noodling around with building things out of scrap and recycled materials, and learning about how to attach things together. I would have loved it.

If you’re reading aloud, I think finishing the game could take an hour. To be clear, the violence is mostly of the form of battling and eating knights and royalty. The most gruesome parts I think are in the wounds you take, e.g. losing an eye.

I can provide you with a login. Email me at for details.

If you’re looking for kid-friendly twine games, the You Will Select a Decision series might do in a pinch. They’re CYOA parodies that supposedly come from the Soviet Union. The second game has an extended scene with some prostitutes and oodles of gun violence besides (plus one of the endings hinges on somebody saying “fuck”), but the first game is fairly PG. Although most of the USSR jokes might fly over their heads.

Edit:: Ooh, and before I forget, someone made a game in twine they call Castle of Worm Legends. It’s dark and pretty creepy, but if they can handle ghost stories they can handle this game.