I will be doing a 20 minute current/post mortem on my Twine game, Dusk Mansions. Dusk Mansions is a modular narrative about searching a highrise for someone – a friend, a lover or a stranger – and meeting some of the odd residents of the Dusk Mansions. One of the goals I set myself for the game is that a large portion of the characters being sought by the player be gender ambiguous.
Challenges I’ve encountered range from working around the limitations of English as a gendered language, avoiding tokenism in the narrative while maintaining diversity and in general working to put theory into practice in a story. I’ve learned about things like international trends in gender neutral names, my personal limitations when it comes to coding– even in Twine, the way my own prejudices affect my work and figuring out how to self-correct in a story driven and compelling way. I’ve also been looking at how awareness changes the process of storytelling. Over-attention to diversity can paralyze a creative process, when it becomes packing a story with diversity as a checklist rather than letting an organic narrative develop with natural diversity.
My choice to build a modular narrative also came from a wish to create a more queer story design and avoid a standard linear structure. Inherent in that choice has been struggling with the fact that humans experience the world in a linear way — forcing even a modular narrative into a linear lens — and that I wanted a narrative rhythm, even if it was an unconventional one.
I’ve learned a lot working on Dusk Mansions, about myself, stories, language and theory vs. practice. I would love to present my game and something of the work that has gone into it at the Queerness and Games Conference.
Hanna is a writer and an editor, sometimes for games. She has written for TinyCo’s Tiny Castle and Spellstorm and the indie game, Alone in the Lights. She’s won two competitions run by gameful.org and writes about fantasy lit and board games at www.hannabrady.com. After writing for her day job she likes to curl up with her computer and write some more. She also enjoys drinking chocolate, kittens, fencing and playing the harp, but not all at the same time.