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About the Story
A short game made for the Neo-Twiny game jam following a paper mache puppet cursed to dance.
Entrant - Neo-Twiny Jam
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Number of Reviews: 3
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This was an entry in Neo Twiny Jam but would clearly also have fit in the Single Choice Jam conducted by the same organizers as well. It's pretty simple--you are a papier-mache puppet among a bunch of wooden ones. You fall apart more quickly, and while you'll be put back together after dancing like the wooden puppets, there's a worry your creator won't do this if you go your own way.
Given that PPP advertises itself as queer horror there are obvious parallels e.g. "come on, you have more rights than you would've had in the 60s. Turn that frown upside-down!" or some such nonsense. You're doing ... well enough, right? But you want more.
This is hardly a new theme but it's always nice to see it expressed in new ways, and here, it is.
Maybe it's that I don't like to talk about the same sorts of things most people do, or read the same things. Or maybe it was in high school that I wasn't excited by fast cars, or I didn't crave a management position, or I (no, this doesn't make me a Marty Stu) wasn't as eager to bash people not in Honors courses. Or maybe I enjoyed certain odd math problems instead of the ones that made chemistry or physics clear to you. Or, like the puppet, I tended to have less endurance for conversations.
This sort of thing persisted into adulthood, with the constant "well, you can make compromises, can't you?" But of course the benevolent (as the author says) hand also restricts you. Perhaps you are in a company where the pay is good enough and it's not as conformist as the next place--really, you could do worse--but you want more, and you're not willing to go home and play MMORPGs with the same crowd you work with. Or you might find an Internet community where you fit pretty well but they can't satisfy a certain part of you, and perhaps you could be more convival or popular if you said certain things, but you couldn't and didn't. (I am thinking about past communities, maybe where others enjoyed retro games, but some people were just annoying. Not the current one! I mean, to the extent that no one community should be enough for us, yes. But this review isn't a manifesto.)
So this sort of thing is appreciated, and if people really shouldn't appropriate it all for ourselves, we can definitely go back to the well and get more inspiration from it. We should have many such sources, and they should go beyond arguments like "you're too good for those bums" or "you're not totally weird, so you deserve something, I guess."
This Neo Twiny Jam game reminded me of the Magnus Archives in a good way.
You are a puppet made of the shell of a cyperus (which I think is a tigernut? after looking it up). You are forced to dance and dance, but unlike the other puppets, it brings you no joy.
This is framed in the art for the game as a trans story, which it makes sense as, but it also could extend to many things where the reader differs from others around them.
Overall, I found the writing evocative and poetic, which pulled the whole thing together for me.
You are a doll, held by strings, forced to dance, even if it break you apart. Let your strings take you and the dance will start again. Resits and… I liked the creepy setting, and the writing around the doll’s yearning for freedom and control over its body.
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