[-empyre-] empyre Digest, Vol 112, Issue 23

Sandra Danilovic s.danilovic at mail.utoronto.ca
Sun Mar 30 05:06:00 EST 2014

Felan -I wholeheartedly agree with your posts… 

You say: 
"Sure, there are plenty of Twine games that operate in familiar IF genres (The Matter of the Great Red Dragon for example: http://fearoftwine.com/14.html), but the games that have become most strongly associated with the platform are weird, queer, honest, and experimental. In the broadest terms, these games may share the "forms" of earlier IF and hypertext, but their content is distinct and they have a specific aesthetic sensibility and political orientation."

Your point above is very much in line with my own personal vision of Twine games and experimental games in general. I specifically chose the metaphor of 'honest and experimental games' to address the recent emergence of games, such as Twine (but not limited to Twine) that are raw, courageous and compelling expressions of artistic soul and vision. But also equally important, something I may have failed to mention, I chose this idea of 'honest and experimental games' to represent the great generosity, kindness, support and love that has blossomed from these emergent gamemaking communities, both online (ex: Anna Anthropy's and Porpentine's websites, TwineHub and others) and offline (ex: Dames Making Games) in reimagining digital game design practice as a shared and shareable creative and collaborative practice that, perhaps, I am not sure, intervenes in the competitive model of indie games development and other inequitable forces. Now, this model of "open access" or share-ability is not new and not without its flaws and assumptions, of course. 

To trump a little on the positive side of things, I am really committed to this idea of sharing with others, non-judgmentally, non-competitively, compassionately, to help foster strong and inclusive communities of creative practice, which is how I see the trajectory of these communities...And as a scholar in training, I want to do anything I can to enable this process, even if it is flawed (it will be flawed no matter how hard any of us try). 

So what about "recapitulation"?  As Kara also rightly pointed out in this direction, the personal, social and subjective *pleasures* of game making trump any concerns of recapitulation or aesthetic judgment (at least for myself). So, here we have these experimental game communities and individuals that are boldly disregarding games criticism from a variety of sources for their right to make games on their own terms or on their own community's terms, regardless of how they are perceived or judged. In these processes, originality emerges, and I feel that it has emerged, no matter how cynical we are (I am guilty as charged in this regard, being cynical of originality in my first post). ;-) 
My point is: as game scholars, artists, designers, curators, we need to first and foremost support each other given the social, creative, affective and technical affordances of these nascent tools (Twine and others). And I think in many respects this has been happening. 

I am placing special emphasis on how these games are representative of values that inspire us, connect us, give us meaning and bring joy to our lives. As authors and producers of creative content, we have not much control over the multiple meanings and readings they will engender in the context of aesthetic judgment and criticism. 


Sandra Danilovic, BFA, MA, SSHRC Doctoral Fellow
Faculty of Information, University of Toronto

From: empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au <empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au> on behalf of Rob Myers <rob at robmyers.org>
Sent: March 29, 2014 12:00 AM
To: empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] empyre Digest, Vol 112, Issue 23

----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
On 28/03/14 07:48 AM, Felan Parker wrote:
> Twine is a very different beast from Game Maker or Unity.

It is. It is however not a very different beast from Storyscape. And its
users recapitulating the forms of 80s interactive fiction and 90s
interactive multimedia using it is a good example of my argument.

- Rob.

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