Fear of Twine

The Matter of the Great Red Dragon

Fear of Twine is an online exhibition of text-based games made by a highly diverse group of people from all around the world. It’s not just diverse in its list of authors, though: it has everything from fantasy to horror to science fiction to deeply personal explorations of kink to abstract political fiction about working-class politics. The site’s a little minimalistic, but the content is fantastically rich.

Fear of Twine features my new Lands of Dream game, The Matter of the Great Red Dragon. I know I’m supposed to be either insincerely humble or ridiculously boastful for the purposes of marketing, but the truth is that I’m just really happy that I got to make this game. It turned out exactly as I wanted it to and thinking about it gives me the warm, fuzzy feeling of having met some old friends and found that we still get along. So there you go. I hope you enjoy it.

Fear of Twine also includes Verena’s first solo game, Zombies and Elephants. Personally, I think it’s pretty awesome, with a lot more layers to it than the title might suggest (as is true of a lot of pulp fiction), but then again I may be biased. (I’m not. I’m a very harsh critic.) I know there are still a couple of things that Verena would like to change, but you know what they say about art. It’s full of the undead.

There’s a lot more to Fear of Twine, though I can’t figure out how to start another sentence with it. I haven’t played all the games yet, but I should definitely mention Abstract State-warp Machines by my dear friend and accomplished, original poet Ivaylo Shmilev. Interactive science fiction poetry! You’re in for a challenge and a treat. (And then there’s Workers in Progress by Konstantinos Dimopoulos and Truth is Ghost by Joel Goodwin and and and…)

I hope this exhibition will gain some traction with the press. I don’t think there’s ever been anything quite like it, and it deserves some attention.

(The site was recently updated, by the way, and is now more accessible.)


  1. bachi


    I liked it, but this bit in the epilogue “Later there was a war, and hunger, and a bit of genocide, but since everything was subjective now, that didn’t matter very much.” I don’t think makes a whole lot of sense to people who don’t read your blog/don’t share your interest in and opinions on postmodernism. It’s not that I had a problem with the allegory throughout the story, but that one part I think got to the point of just not making any sense to an outsider.

  2. I don’t think the issue of subjectivity is specific to my blog in any sense, though it certainly does touch on postmodernism. But there’s a lot in my games that requires people to be willing to engage, and that particular phrasing is quite intentional. It’s integral to the game’s themes. (One could argue that, on one level, this is a game *about* literature and storytelling.)

    I wouldn’t say the game is allegorical, however. I don’t think there’s a simple A/B correspondence between things in the game and in the real world. A connection, yes, but not in that way. I couldn’t and wouldn’t reduce the game to a “message.”

  3. Rodge

    I’m so happy I got to play this the day it was released! Having played the rest of the Lands of Dream games, this was both an entirely new experience and a delightful reunion with some of the places and characters I love. As it was implied I should, I have only played through it once. I may play through it again in the future, when I no longer remember, but for now this is enough.

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