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Porpentine skates the bleeding edge of Twine, September 4, 2013
Porpentine is one of the most prolific authors in Twine, having won acclaim and awards for Howling Dogs and turning out viscerally surreal avant-garde performance art tone poems on a regular basis. These aren't so much games or stories as they are fever-dreams of imagery and text experimentation filled with gore and alien sexuality that can make the reader feel they are intruding on the secret thoughts and imagery that most people keep locked deep in their heads.
I can't say I really engage with most of these stories. (The exception being CYBERQUEEN, which was fan-fiction of a universe I really like) They are filled with demented imagery and ideas presented in broken phrases that slash across the screen, utilizing HTML and Twine in ways that nobody else does. But there's imagination on display in spades, and even if you have no idea what's going on, and you are revulsed by the imagery, it's difficult not to appreciate these short...ejaculatory rushes of raw feeling and artistic typography.
And the tricks that Porpentine does! Words slide around and move, and on occasion pause coyly, making you wait for them, performing their meanings almost in almost children's book literal fashion. At one point you must click on one of two words that alternate positions rapidly, taunting you (suggesting how a unique combat or spell system could be accomplished in a more mainstream story done in Twine). At one point the same text is displayed, rapidly changing back and forth like lightning flashes between futuristic and rough organic fonts that suggest the same thoughts are being shared by two different personas(Spoiler - click to show) who have just battled, torn each other apart, and copulated with the metal and intestinal wounds to their mutual satisfaction.
It's heady, imaginative stuff, even if it's not your thing. Porpentine will probably go down as a pioneer of ways to break interactive fiction out of the prison of rigid, prosaic paragraphs of standard text and hyperlinks, and inspire new ways to create emotion and poetry through the timing and manipulation of the words themselves. I myself have avoided Twine since the default output is boringly plain. But this type of game inspires the imagination of what might be possible if someone sat down to do a more cohesive narrative with all the tricks and methods Porpentine plays with effortlessly.