Swan Hill, by Laura Michet
October 20, 2013 11:39 AM   Subscribe

Your brother sighs and takes his pipe out of his jacket. "It's good to be home," he says, and fills the bowl. "A light?" You put your hand out. snap your fingers. There's the sharp stab familiar prickle comfortable ache in your wrist, among the bones. A flame leaps from your fingertips.
posted by Elementary Penguin (13 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
The via link is to one of Rock Paper Shotgun's weekly columns, Live Free Play Hard. All of Live Free Play Hard is wonderful. The author, Porpentine, takes pains to present a diverse and truly interesting set of free games every week.

Rock Paper Shotgun has always felt like a specialty bookstore, with knowledgeable staff and a broad but not entirely commercial mandate, compared to IGN or Kotaku's much more mass-market approach. Different audience. And LFPH almost feels like the next step again - a Rock Paper Shotgun to RPS itself.
posted by Fraxas at 11:51 AM on October 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

Awesome reading. The post-mortem is interesting too. An impressive achievement.
posted by flotson at 12:22 PM on October 20, 2013

Vicious things, swans. Loved it.
posted by arcticseal at 12:26 PM on October 20, 2013

Warning: this is very long.
posted by bleep at 12:47 PM on October 20, 2013

Not as long as all that. I really liked it. Thanks.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:50 PM on October 20, 2013

Very cool. It has a lovely, melancholy tone.
posted by MythMaker at 1:54 PM on October 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

That was beautiful. And a lot of its beauty, for me, was inseparable from the form. Clicking the black links to replace them with different words, different thoughts, in place—that really, really worked for me, and I can't think of another medium that could have pulled it off.

Is this what we'd call hypertext fiction? Interactive fiction? I tried to leave my back button alone and commit to my choices when there appeared to be choices (which, now that I think about it, resonates with some of the themes of the story), but I imagine you get the same ending regardless. Which is fine with me.

(I have as much interest in the question "Is _____ a game?" as I do in "Is _____ art?" or "Are video games art?", which is to say none, which is to say that as much as I loved Gone Home, I found the discussions around it uniformly tedious.)

I'd love to read more like this. Anyone have a few favourites they'd like to share?
posted by Zozo at 2:46 PM on October 21, 2013

I'd love to read more like this. Anyone have a few favourites they'd like to share?

Ultra Business Tycoon

Also, by the same author, Porpentine:
Howling Dogs
Their Angelical Understanding
posted by juv3nal at 5:47 PM on October 21, 2013

Note that Porpentine is not the author of Swan Hill, but is the author of both the Rock Paper Shotgun column and the Twine story-building tool used to created Swan Hill. Which is kind of awesome.
posted by mbrubeck at 12:07 PM on October 22, 2013

She's not the programmer of Twine. She has curated a collection of neat library/js/css tricks for it though.
posted by juv3nal at 12:57 PM on October 22, 2013

Twine is programmed by Chris Klimas. The next version of Twine will be html5 based instead of a downloaded program thingy, but is only in pre-alpha state right now.
posted by juv3nal at 1:01 PM on October 22, 2013

Oh, I see! Thanks for the correction.
posted by mbrubeck at 1:03 PM on October 22, 2013

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