My Father's Long, Long Legs
Michael Lutz's piece of Twine-crafted interactive fiction horror piece My Father's Long, Long Legs (hosted here with generous permission) might just be one of the finest, most cleverly executed pieces of freaky fiction I've ever read. Best enjoyed with the lights out and the sound up (and headphones on, if you're rockin' 'em), it tells the story of a girl whose father one day suddenly comes home from work and begins digging a hole in the dirt-floored basement of their house. Day after day he spends every free moment down there, coming up only to eat, use the bathroom, and work... and once his factory closes, he stops coming up at all. But maybe that's for the best, since as the years drag by, he begins to resemble less and less the man she once knew... and something less than human. Just click the bolded text to choose how you want to advance through the story. Note that in some cases, the game may appear to stop without giving you a choice, but this is just for effect... just wait a moment for the next bit of text to appear.
This is the sort of thing that typically starts internet slap-fights over what is and isn't a game (yawn), so as much as I loved it, it was initially bound for Link Dump Friday. Then I remembered it's my job to bring you guys interesting, clever, fun things. Then I also remembered I get to do whatever I want, and once I had gone mad with power and refused everyone access to the water cooler and ordered John Bardinelli to work under his desk, I got to work on this. Because through the use of some genuinely brilliant tricks with lighting and sound, Michael Lutz has crafted one of the most elegantly creepy experiences on the internet. The end sequence, the game's only "puzzle", is tense and nightmarish. It's well written, intensely atmospheric, even claustrophobic at times, and frightening without ever resorting to cheap scares and gore. It has the feel of the sort of horror story best read in the midnight hours during wintertime, and while some players won't like the relative ambiguity of the ending, the wonderful way it's executed makes this a chilling, bite-sized example of unknowable horror. Hopefully we see a lot more from Lutz in the future.