- Part of...States of Play: Roleplay Reality
Howling Dogs, 2012
Porpentine (US) and Neotenomie (US)
This World is Not My Home, 2015
Porpentine Charity Heartscape is a writer and game designer in Oakland, California. Her work includes “xenofemme scifi/fantasy, cursed video games, and globe-spanning sentient slime moulds” and spans interactive fiction, games, writing, and net art.
Her name is synonymous with the ‘twine revolution’—the proliferation of small-scale interactive fiction created by nontraditional game designers. Her stories focus on troubled and alienated people, communicated through vibrant and inscrutable aesthetics.
In Howling Dogs, you appear to be imprisoned, but the nature of your confinement isn’t clear. This twine-based ‘Create Your Own Adventure’ (CYOA) gives the player options to progress, allowing you to make dialogue choices and click on different words to advance the story. It is a game which refuses clear classification but plays with the confusing experience of relying on words alone as a source of clarity and escape. Porpentine plays with the concepts of memory, dreamscapes and virtual reality melded with the inescapable idea of being trapped- either physically or otherwise.
THIS WORLD IS NOT MY HOME is a ‘gospel corporate guided relaxation programme’, developed in collaboration with Brenda Neotenomie, a composer, graphic artist and games designer also based in the US. Floating along a blue river surrounded by pink mountains, geometric shapes rise from the water as you travel towards the horizon. Pressing the spacebar offers different cues: from recognisable meditations of “close your eyes and open them in a new place” and “I have the right to feel my feelings”; to the more obscure “washing your feet in a basin of cool wifi” and “falling asleep in a warehouse of warm vending machines”. The game lifts the interactive fiction of her twine games into a surreal, hypnotising journey, offering a relaxed setting in which to explore the strange, sprawling world of corporate PR and its language.
Courtesy of the artists.