The Cycle (Twine)

the cycle

Role: Writer / Designer

Engine: Twine

Skills shown: Twine, using game structure to enhance mood

Play: The Cycle

The first Twine game I created, this very simple looping “narrative” seeks to convey a writer’s inner struggle with guilt and depression about their own procrastination and lack of discipline. You pick an explanation for why you’re not writing, but the more you make excuses for yourself, the louder, shriller, and more abusive your inner voice becomes, until the only way to end the cycle is to quit (the obvious alternative – to actually write something – is deliberately left out).

This game was made partly in response to some very common “tough love” writing advice, that a “real” writer will make time to write and that anything else is just an excuse. I wanted both to explore and emphasize the truth behind that sentiment and to acknowledge the downside of offering that advice: while some writers are energized and motivated by this bluntness, others end up feeling even worse about themselves. Rather than breaking the endless cycle of procrastination, it just adds a layer of self-loathing and guilt, and the obvious answer to breaking the cycle (just write something) isn’t always clear, particularly to those struggling with depression or self-esteem issues. While the game is simple and short, I tried to use the endless restrictive loops and subtle shifts in text to convey what it’s like to be trapped in the routine of procrastination and self-blame.

Needless to say, this is quite a personal work.

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