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About the Story
THIS GAME IS CANON
Number of Reviews: 4
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Play it if: you're a fan of Ke$ha and all performers possessed of such unabashed pride in themselves and their identities, and the idea of a glitter-soaked confidence rampage makes your blood fizz.
Don't play it if: you want story, structure, elegance or audacity to support a rather messy near-stream-of-consciousness experience.
howling dogs invites endless speculation. CYBERQUEEN is its own kind of masterpiece. CRYSTAL WARRIOR KE$HA, on the other hand, reads like one of a thousand Tumblr blogposts. Though it plays with words a little, it lacks a distinctive personality. It has weirdness by the bucketload, but doesn't really channel it in an interesting way. CYBERQUEEN was a chainsaw, but it was a chainsaw wielded by a surgeon. This is a firehose of glitter aimed at a paper cup.
I'm starting to get swallowed by questionable analogies here, but my deal here is that the language and the content of CYBERQUEEN come across as fresh. They demand attention and create visceral impressions. By comparison, when CRYSTAL WARRIOR KE$HA presents a vehicle called Vagina Jungle and a choice to drain my boyslave's virile energy to fuel my slutwave mantis transformation, the foremost thought in my head is "this sort of thing has been said seven million times before and it's old already". Perhaps my own lengthy Tumblr experience affects me in that regard, but I think there's more to it than that.
Let me just mention that I have no issues with Ke$ha. I happen to think she's a very talented singer-songwriter, and though her album work tends to disguise this rather well, her music is generally not something I listen to by choice and as such I don't really care enough to offer an opinion. Judging her on her presented persona alone is equally pointless to me.
That being said, the championing of Ke$ha is not done particularly well here, as far as I'm concerned. I got the impression that bits of the writing were references to actual lyrics or quotes, and confirmed it by Googling the first phrase to arouse that suspicion in me: "If you don't like my song, then turn off the radio."
Why did that phrase stick out? Because as a sentiment it comes across as too lazy for an author as smart as Porpentine to have come up with. (Though she did endorse it, so maybe I'm not all that perceptive.)
Yes, I'm aware of the vested interest inherent in being a guy who writes his opinions about things. Nevertheless, a sentiment like "turn off the radio" or "change the channel" strikes me as an admission of defeat. It says I'm only comfortable in a world where everyone compliments me, which is sort of at odds with this game's overriding sense of confidence and assertiveness, of the never-ending battle against the haters. I find it rather ironic that a game which attacks haters with the statement "I pity your attempts to justify your insecurity with analysis. It is false analysis with no substance" would then follow it up with a statement decrying all analysis!
Not every work has to be a masterpiece, and not every work has to be particularly ambitious. This is after all something of a glorified music video. But even with the relatively novel software of Twine this already feels like it offers nothing new or interesting.
I actually turned on the music as the game said to, and the game lasted exactly as long as the song. At the beginning the lyrics onscreen went right along with the audio. This was a neat little sort of textual music-video experience of a game, though ultimately forgettable unless you are a huge Ke$ha fan.
I actually like the idea of using Twine and screen effects as a parallel experience/multimedia to a song. There might even be somewhat of a gameplay element/rhythm game in keeping up with the lyrics. Interesting idea.
This is one of Porpentine's games that highlights one fact of her games (especially her early games) more than any other work of hers: intense, destructive femininity. This is explored in other works, especially Cyberqueen and With Those we Love Alive, and, well, all of the other works, but it is the lifeblood of the game.
This game centers on being Kesha, infused with powerful glitter and mascara, driving vehicles named after genitals and destroying hater-men in a techno-cyber-surreal-sephora mashup.
It's more gruesome and sexual than I like, and Porpentine herself seems more toned down now. But the production values are really excellent. Few people, perhaps none, have managed to extract as much presentation value out of Twine's basic features.