Porpentine Charity Heartscape (US)


Howling Dogs, 2012
Playable game (duration variable)


Porpentine’s name is synonymous with the ‘twine revolution’ - the proliferation of small-scale interactive fiction created by nontraditional game designers.

In Howling Dogs, you appear to be imprisoned, but the reason for your confinement isn’t clear. This twine-based ‘Create Your Own Adventure’ gives the player options to progress, allowing you to make dialogue choices and click on different words to advance the story. Complex memories, intricate dreamscapes and spaces of virtual reality meld with the idea of being trapped in an endlessly repeating cycle. As the experience unfolds you don’t find escape, revenge or closure but are continually caught in different restrictive scenarios, ultimately tied to a room you are unable to leave.


This simple, poetically evocative text game recalls the feeling of being trapped in the dungeons of early adventure games, surrounded by monstrous enemies. Porpentine plays with this nostalgia and twists it, showing that not all prisoners are evil, and not all prisons are physical.

Porpentine Charity Heartscape (b. 1987) is a writer and game designer based in Oakland, USA. Her practice spans interactive fiction, games, writing, and net art.


Courtesy of the artist.