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(based on 118 ratings)
About the Story
A weird tale. Some parts make use of sound, so this game is best played with headphones. One ending.
"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 digÖand digÖand dig. And he wonít 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. Itís well-told and very, very sharp. I canít convey that strongly enough."
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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 Fatherís Long, Long Legs
"My Fatherís 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 thereís the strongest sense that you wonít like what youíre going to find. Thereís no chance that youíre going to be able to control what that something is."
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Number of Reviews: 11
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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.
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.
As a story, my father's long, long legs is original, weird (in the Lovecraftian sense of the term), and excellently scary. It is the kind of story I will need to mull over for a while, (Spoiler - click to show)especially given the lack of a conclusive ending. The writing occasionally feels a bit lacklustre, but when it is good, it is very good. The concept is excellent and uncanny.
As a Twine creation, I'm in two minds about it. Visually, it's very good. The grayscale background is a subtle, superb touch: representing the dwindling light falling into the father's basement; brightening or darkening depending on the events of the story. However, once the novelty wore off, I ended up feeling that the Twine format was a gimmick. The story is static; the vast majority of segments only have one link to click to get to the next one. The narration didn't even use the simple trick of second person to give the reader a sense of agency. I enjoyed the story, but I felt I would have enjoyed it equally if I'd read it in print or on a static web page.
(Spoiler - click to show)Then I got to the final section, and the story unleashed all Twine's possibilities: a more game-like structure with several possible actions, sound, and a spotlight effect I've never seen in Twine before. All these factors do an excellent job building atmosphere and creating claustrophobia. The music at the end is perfect.
I give my father's long, long legs four stars on account of the story, mood, and some excellent use of Twine's possibilities. However, players who prefer some agency in their IF might want to look elsewhere.
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