Amidst the ongoing popularity of hundred-hour, epic-length stories or neverending, procedurally-generated games, where is the place of short games with defined endings? anna anthropy’s Queers in Love at the End of the World (2013) rejects the importance of having a lengthy game, and introduces a tension between the player and their player-character. In this text-based Twine game, players assume the role of an unnamed, unknown “you” as you spend a final moment with your lover. It was made for the prompt ‘Ten Seconds’, and its most notable feature is a ten-second timer that is always present. When the ten seconds are over, the game ends, no matter how far the player has progressed.
By examining the tension between the player, their character, and the ever-present countdown in the game, this presentation looks at the ways in which we can achieve a queerness in a game without relying on on-screen representation. Drawing on analyses of queer temporality and slow cinema, as well as Muñoz’s call towards queer futurity and the yearning to be lost, Queers in Love at the End of the World provides an excellent opportunity to look at the anxiety of seeking success and the joy of accepting loss, in contrast to the search for a fairytale ending.
Claudia Lo is a senior studying Gender and Digital Culture at Swarthmore College. She is currently working on her thesis, looking at how controls and control schemes produce bodies in gaming, particularly as it relates to injury and disability.