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my father's long, long legs

by michael lutz

Horror
2013

Web Site

(based on 135 ratings)
11 reviews

About the Story

A weird tale. Some parts make use of sound, so this game is best played with headphones. One ending.


Game Details

Editorial Reviews

Book Riot
"Two Pieces of Interactive Fiction Which I Love"
"This first piece is very recent and is basically a short story about a family in which the father, one day, goes down into the dirt-floor basement with a brand-new shovel and he begins to dig…and dig…and dig. And he won’t stop digging. The story goes on from there in a brilliant piece of creepy, riveting writing that I would have adored had I come across it in a book. It’s well-told and very, very sharp. I can’t convey that strongly enough."
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jayisgames
My Father's Long, Long Legs
"Michael Lutz's piece of Twine-crafted interactive fiction horror piece My Father's Long, Long Legs might just be one of the finest, most cleverly executed pieces of freaky fiction I've ever read. Best enjoyed with the lights out and the sound up (and headphones on, if you're rockin' 'em), it tells the story of a girl whose father one day suddenly comes home from work and begins digging a hole in the dirt-floored basement of their house. Day after day he spends every free moment down there, coming up only to eat, use the bathroom, and work... and once his factory closes, he stops coming up at all."
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Emily Short's Interactive Storytelling
My Father’s Long, Long Legs
"My Father’s Long, Long Legs is a deeply creepy Twine game, a horror story centered on an unusual and startling premise. The structure seems linear at first: often in the early stages there is only one link forward, or there are multiple links but they control only the order in which you will read the same text. Later, things branch more, but in a way that still never gives the player a sense of strong agency. The experience is instead always of being drawn onward to explore even though there’s the strongest sense that you won’t like what you’re going to find. There’s no chance that you’re going to be able to control what that something is."
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Member Reviews

5 star:
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Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 11
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Most Helpful Member Reviews


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Creepy, evocative, and very well-written, November 11, 2013
by streever (America)

Despite being an essentially linear game with one ending, this twine suggests the experiences of agency and exploration beautifully and with meaning.

The narrative is strong, and very creepy, and the technical capabilities of Twine are well-used here to give a sense of exploration and terror. Through text, sound, and limited sight, fear slowly creeps up on the player, and you may find yourself more in the perspective of the narrator than in a graphical video game.

The side stories and anecdotes shared throughout are well-done and plotted well. Although the story has only one ending, the possibilities suggested by that ending are complex, provoking speculation as to deeper meaning and intent.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Unsettling game about the deforming power of belief, May 8, 2023
by ccpost (Greensboro, North Carolina)

This is a short work of interactive fiction that functions in the way of a good short horror story: the game strongly establishes its premise, gets the player invested quickly, and concludes with a swerve into an artful and unsettling ambiguity that asks the player to mull over the brief piece of fiction.

I started my playthrough with a general idea of the gist of the story -- (Spoiler - click to show)the protagonist witnesses the slow deformation of their father, who obsessively digs a network of tunnels beneath the house -- and found the execution very well done, achieving a deeply felt sense of unease as the protagonist progresses through their story. The player has some sense that the protagonist has survived, as they have lived to tell the tale, but the player also has a sense that the protagonist has been altered -- haunted -- in some essential way. Rather than totally subverting the player's expectations, the game works by slowly unraveling the full scope of the final weird and traumatic encounter with the father.

What I found myself going back to and mulling over after finishing the game was the motivation for the father's digging. This, never fully explained but suggestively characterized, was the really disturbing part of the story. What would cause someone to abandon their life and commit to a toilsome, endless digging? Lutz introduces just enough of the father's perspective to give players insight into his twisted mind while keeping the father still essentially obscured, unknowable.

As a more or less linear story, the game achieves this unsettling experience through subtle atmospheric effects and gripping writing. The linear structure of the game makes the draw toward the encounter with the father feel dreadfully inevitable; but the conclusion, in its ambiguity, makes any consequence, from damnation to salvation, feel possible...but we know in our core that whatever happens after the game ends can't be good.

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Some great potential that it didn't quite meet, March 24, 2020

I'm kind of torn on this one. For most of the game, I was thinking "Why is this not just a short story?" It would stand on its own pretty well- there are a few notable grammatical errors, and I think it could have been cut down a little, but if I'd read it on r/nosleep or the like, I would have upvoted it. But as a game- or even as interactive fiction- it seemed to fall a little short. Most of the interactivity consisted of clicking on a word to read the next paragraph, which, ehhhhnnn. There were some points where you had to wait for words to appear, which worked okay.

But then! The end! The end was great! A really effective use of sound and there was one effect that I'd never seen before and worked really really well! Excellent job on that! I just wish there had been more- maybe different sounds based on the options you chose in the dark? And because the lead-up was so long, it felt a little unbalanced. I think it would have worked better if the story had been a bit punchier, and/or if there were some other ways that it took advantage of the medium throughout. I think using the final mechanism only at the end makes a lot of sense, but I think some subtler effects- sound, or even something as simple as changing the background color for some sections- just anything so I don't spend the majority of the story wondering why it wasn't just a regular short story. The ending answered that for me, but the fact that I spent so much time thinking about that at all undermined the experience for me.

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my father's long, long legs on IFDB

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