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(based on 91 ratings)
About the Story
You are 11 years old. You are sleeping over at your best friend's house. You and your friend like videogames. Your friend has a lot of cool games. And, believe it or not, an uncle who works for Nintendo. And he's coming to visit at midnight.
Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: October 15, 2014
Current Version: Unknown
Development System: Twine
Forgiveness Rating: Cruel
Nominee, Best Story; Winner, Best Individual PC; Nominee, Best Use of Multimedia - 2014 XYZZY Awards
Emily Short's Interactive Storytelling
The Uncle Who Works For Nintendo (Michael Lutz)
"Like Legs, Uncle tells a horror story from a child’s point of view, building up a gradual sense that things are very wrong that reaches a point of strong suspense. It does not have quite Legs‘s singular focus and linearity, though: this one is lightly puzzly and is structured a bit more like a visual novel, in that there are several endings to unlock, including a master ending. If you play, don’t consider it done until you’ve unlocked the final end. You’ll know when that’s happened, and the endgame screen can even furnish some hints about the endings you haven’t unlocked yet, in order to help you get there. It’s worth a try, and worth not being spoiled about first."
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The Uncle Who Works for Nintendo
"The basic premise behind The Uncle Who Works For Nintendo is likely a familiar one, since kids have been claiming to have secret inside information for schoolyard popularity for years. When I was in junior high, there was the kid who insisted his uncle worked for Squaresoft (which it was, y'know, back in the day) and there was a sneaky, overly complicated way to revive a certain Final Fantasy character. Michael Lutz's tale is decidedly a lot more out there than a kid looking for attention, but that grounding in reality gives it a wonderful urban legend flair. The increased interactivity over his other work allows for more exploration, keeping you coming back again and again to see what's different this time, what other things you could try, what secrets you may uncover. Little touches are buried here and there in the narrative, growing in frequency and weirdness as you play, that begin to fill you in on just what's going on, rather than being spoonfed a pile of backstory. As in My Father's Long, Long Legs, the use of sound here crafts a fantastic environment, and the story unsettles and unnerves rather than relying on jumpscares or the grotesque. The Uncle Who Works For Nintendo wouldn't have been out of place on an episode of The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits, and is engrossing, scary, compelling, and even a little bittersweet in all the right ways."
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Games That Exist
Games That Exist The Uncle Who Works for Nintendo (Michael Lutz)
"Recent events have spotlighted this emptiness underneath the placeholder that advertising has long referred to as a “culture.” For decades, an idea of culture has been peddled, a new culture, different from those produced by books or film. This ‘culture’ continues to reveal itself as nothing more than consumption, and a vicious willingness to defend and justify the hobby of consuming for its own sake.
UWWFN, without blinking, looks into this emptiness that continues to occupy the space where more human impulses, empathy and conversation, should have been."
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Number of Reviews: 6
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I was a big fan of My Father's Long Long Legs, so when I saw this game by the same author, I was intrigued. However, I found the name off-putting, thinking it would be a video game fan work or something similar.
It' s not; it's much more like Shade with conversations and in Twine (which would be an effective format for Shade, in my opinion). You are at a sleepover with a friend, who has a mysterious uncle that works for Nintendo. As the night progresses, strange incongruities arise.
Michael Lutz is an excellent storyteller. The author's notes at the end of the game are fascinating, and include a discussion of how the game accidentally relates to GamerGate, the controversy surrounding a group of mostly male gamers who attacked female journalists over trumped-up charges.
This game is among the very best Twine games, and in the end, is uplifting.
Growing up in school, we all had classmates who would lie to sound cool. Each person's dad was not only the strongest guy in the universe but would also beat up 7 year olds for fun and famous celebrities just happened to live next door "before they moved". But for us gamers, one of the most common lies was the relative who worked at a game company and was feeding all sorts of confidential information and cool secrets to them. They'd tell you all about upcoming, unreleased games or unbelievable secrets hidden in games that no one knew about and, if you're like me and grew up in the pre-internet days, no one really had the means to disprove them unless the latest game magazine debunked it though we all knew deep down that it was too good to be true.
The Uncle Who Works for Nintendo stars you as you go over to a friend's hosue, who consequently is one of the gamers who has a relative working for a game company (in this case Nintendo). The game itself is played in a web browser which offers additional graphics and background sounds, which add to the atmosphere. It's pretty cool hearing Mario jump around as your friend played Nintendo 64 or hear the pitter patter of rain as you look at a picture of your surroundings. The fact that you can choose your friend's name is also a big plus, though it would have been much nicer to be able to input their name rather than choose from a list.
The game itself is pretty linear and practically devoid of puzzles, opting instead to focus on the narrative which I felt was pretty good, though takes a major surprise twist near the end of the story. While this usually spells doom for an IF, in this particular case the story is enough to carry the weight and the numerous endings make you want to keep coming back to experience the full story, especially with the sudden way it ends. In fact, to even grasp the tiniest details of what's happening, you practically have to sit down and replay through the alternate endings (though luckily, there are hints as to how to obtain them after beating them). Once you get five endings, you can unlock the final ending which explains everything.
(Spoiler - click to show)I didn't care much for the surprise twist, which involved his uncle being a supernatural entity living in a Game Boy who eats children so your friend can get new systems and games. The sleepover story was really drawing me in and was something many people could connect with. The details were a little off here and there but it was a story most gamers would immerse themselves into. I felt that the mystical entity twist really killed the immersion I had with the game and ultimately left me confused, even after experiencing all six endings. The 'anti-gamer' approach was also unnecessary and, though preaching moderation is good, to advice people to quit cold turkey and have nothing to do with them is unnecessary and unwarranted.
The game itself is pretty short as well, primarily due to the lack of choices. While there are major choices, there are relatively few options and many of them are meaningless (saying goodbye to your mom is an example, as none of the choices have consequence and you can pick any that you like with practically no change in dialogue). The lack of a parser also contributes to this, as all of your options appear as hyperlinks, removing much of the interactivity that are characteristic of IF games.
Still, the piece is well written and the story is mostly good so it certainly warrants a playthrough. Since the game takes about 5 minutes to complete and there's no puzzles to solve, there's not much to lose and a lot to gain. Check it out on the hyperlink below.
One of the first Twine games I played. Interesting to play several times, genuinely atmospheric, very original in both its approach to horror and the themes it choose. Ambiguous the right way, minimalism done right. Excellent experience.
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