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About the Story
branching outcomes of a fetid day. 115 nodes. suited for treaders, meat-eaters, plant-eaters, students, arthropods, starvers, and victims.
>TILT AT WINDMILLS
What I'm Playing: Myriad
Besides having evocative, darkly beautiful writing, I found Myriad's play with structure really intriguing.
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Number of Reviews: 6
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Related reviews: nodal narratives, scarcely warranted enthusiasm, early morning reviews, late night reviews, run on sentences
Myriad steps towards the kind of branching story I always wanted to read: to hell with merging nodes, I want full bifurcation, 24/7; and Porpentine obviously also heard the sirens of unreasonable work-load calling and dove into the pools of unending possibilities and dragged out this strangle-weeded narrative, a pocket of infinities. The quality is high, mostly consistently so; for most of it I was thinking 'Yeah, this is pretty good, I can see what she's doing here, blah blah, blah,' but then I played the scorpion queen section, which borders on being a puzzle, and it was okay; BUT THEN, then afterwards the denouement hit me like the well crafted metaphor that it was and I felt compelled to give it a write up pronto-like.
[So uh, don't waste time not reading Myriad when you could be reading Myriad. For me, (and I love-hate star ratings) this would have been a five star experience if my jaw hadn't taken four play-throughs to drop.]
This is CYOA where you click on keywords. Usually there are two or three choices per page, and there are lots of branches, and lots of endings that happen unexpectedly. There's not a whole lot of through line to the plot as it meanders on a trippy, poetic tangent. I played about four times, and was surprised that what I thought would be the length of the story branched out somewhere totally new and continued. You won't be engaging any sort of problem solving or rational progression muscle. What happens next is usually random and is based little on the wisdom of your choices, but this is definitely worth a read or two if you like some fervently written prose in a psychedelic fantasy-horror vein.
Myriad is classic Porpentine, though overshadowed by her later work. Bizarre, surreal scenes filled with bodily fluids, strong profanity, gender references, and insectoids.
The game is clever and daring. However, playing it right after IFComp 2015 gave me a new perspective on Porpentine. I had thought that the emotional effectiveness of many of her pieces DEPENDED on the disgusting, gritty, profaneness of it all.
But I feel like Summit achieved a similar effect with a more subdued approach. Birdland gives a compelling portrait of LGBTQ life. I feel like the Twine world is developing in new directions now.
(Note that Howling Dogs, while it's a few years old now, also manages to be incredibly compelling while differing strongly from her ealier work).
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