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Martin C.K. Shade: An Interactive Twine Narrative

Student: Dylan Kistler                                                                          Faculty: Mark Wollaeger                                                                      Course: Special Topics in English and American Literature –                                          Games and Literature


Martin C.K. Shade is an interactive narrative (IF) built in the free program known as Twine. It seeks to blend narratorial and procedural rhetoric to develop empathy for a cantankerous protagonist residing in an assisted living home. Known spaces within the narrative are blocked to convey Martin’s physical limitations and dependence on Trisha, his caretaker. The story includes allusions to inspirations including the IF Firewatch and the novel Pale Fire.

What knowledge or skills did you learn?

Besides developing expertise Twine, this project challenged me to balance my writing instinct (to include only essential elements in narrative) and my desire as a game designer to give player’s agency. I learned to balance narrative priorities with modular scenes crucial to replayability. Furthermore, I combined my knowledge of pacing in games and novels to strive for an experience mirroring the lifestyle of assisted living while maintaining an engaging experience.

What made this project interesting for you?

This project was a marriage of my two most dear crafts: creative writing and game design. Moreover, I completed the beginnings of the project while visiting my grandmother’s assisted living home. Lastly, this project was my self-driven advocacy on behalf humans with limited agency. There are so many untold stories and undesigned games about long-term inmates, for example, yet many focusing on the few who break out of prison.