With Those We Love Alive

by Porpentine profile and Brenda Neotenomie


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- Max Fog, November 25, 2023

- aluminumoxynitride, October 22, 2023

- Edo, August 16, 2023

- Drew Cook (Acadiana, USA), July 26, 2023

- Marsh (Oxfordshire, UK), July 4, 2023

- Kastel, March 29, 2023

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Life Changing, December 21, 2022

"With Those We Love Alive" was the first piece of online interactive fiction of this kind that I remember engaging with. Before it there had been webcomics, DeviantArt choose-your-own stories, Quizilla supernatural romances, online forum roleplays. But even among all of those, this was different. I got a marker and stared at the screen, sucked into this world surrounded by the darkness of my room, navigating imagination through the kind of ever-fraying sleep deprivation that is unique to schools.

I was an impressionable young creative who had a mind soaked in unreality and a longing for things as strange as I was. I played through much of the story in one sitting, within one night, and I believe I came to some conclusion after another day of play. Two nights, and even though it was eventually tucked away into some obscure corner of memory that I no longer have access to, I cannot overstate the deep emotional and inspirational impact it left on me. I have never forgotten this story-- not its name, its themes, its format, its style of worldbuilding. I was starstruck by how it constructed itself out of the mundane grotesque, how it structured the story navigation to allow for repetitive exploration while also rewarding curiosity. I had never considered before the possibility of creating a story like this, in this style, or having these kinds of themes. It was also, I believe, the first time I had ever encountered a canonically trans protagonist. I do not recall whether I was aware of my own genderfluidity at the time, but witnessing our main character apply what is explicitly an estrogen patch in the form of a glyph awakened something in my mind that would have remained neglected for years otherwise. I hadn't known that this sort of artistic expression or worldbuilding experimentation was allowed. I hadn't known it was possible.

All of that to say, now that I do have an account on this forum and have come across this game again, I did replay some of it. I have a more nuanced appreciation now that I am mature, but age and experience could never be what influence this review. No matter what my more modern experience of the game is, I would be doing everyone a grand disservice if I did not allow my younger self to finally be able to express the way this game bound itself onto a part of their soul. With each new symbol I was instructed to draw on my body, I was absorbing the game and this experience deeper and deeper into my skin, until it embedded itself upon my artistic psyche forevermore.

Thank you, Brenda and Porpentine, for being such a formative part of my growth. I hope to be able to pay homage to this gift you have given me with my own creative works in the future.

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- fakeliix, October 24, 2022

- Cerfeuil (Ectocomp 2023! Ectocomp 2023!), October 11, 2022

- Sarah Mak (Singapore), August 19, 2022

- Kinetic Mouse Car, July 28, 2022

- Bell Cyborg (Canada), July 1, 2022

- Nightmace, June 9, 2022

- cgasquid (west of house), January 31, 2022

- loopernow, December 16, 2021

- OverThinking, June 26, 2021

- Jonathan Verso, April 20, 2021

- mifga (Brooklyn, NY), October 15, 2020

- William Chet (Michigan), September 14, 2020

- Ry (Philippines), June 12, 2020

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A masterpiece, April 1, 2020

Porpentine uses the same device than in Howling Dogs : a place around all "events" (including wandering) take place, but she plays even more on time, forcing you for instance to sleep or meditate if you want to advance in the game. This apparent loss of time helps you to appreciate more the following events, until the freeing end, which the fantastic world finally appears like the shape taken by sorrow. Another brilliant Twine game (with a good sound design as well).

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- kierlani, March 26, 2020

- tempest102, February 17, 2020

- Bartlebooth, February 15, 2020

- Marc-André Goyette, December 24, 2019

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