the uncle who works for nintendo

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My new Twine game, the uncle who works for nintendo, is now available for all to play.  It will take some time to get through one game, maybe 15 to 20 minutes at its shortest.  It has five possible endings.

The original commissioned artwork (some glimpsed in the above thumbnail) was made by the talented Kimberly Parker, who was absolutely amazing to work with.

The abstract artwork was made in the program Icosa by Andi McClure.

My inspirations are listed in the credits game itself, but I think it is appropriate to repeat them here:

Lights Out, Please by Porpentine, Vicky He, John R., Meghan, Jericho Bull, Ashley, Carli Velocci, Kitty Horroshow, Stephen Wilds, Aisley, Cathleen Macdonald, Sarah, and Kira, and the original story by Kaitlin Tremblay that preceded the collated anthology

Her Pound of Flesh by Liz England

You Were Made for Loneliness by Tsukareta

The Yahwg by Emily Carroll and Damian Sommer

History Lesson by withoutpillow

“Glitches: A Kind of History” in Arcade Review #3 by Alex Pieschel

My game uses a horror framework to think about misogyny and emotional abuse and manipulation, as it was (is) fostered particularly among children in the broader culture of videogames.  If you follow games culture at all, there are some resonances with current events here, and given that, I think it would be remiss not also to point you toward Liz Ryerson’s blog, which hosts not only excellent games writing, but some of the most incisive commentary on our recent troubles.

Special thanks goes, as always, to my beta-testers: Spam, Matt, Jeremy, Dan, Ivy, Alex, Harrison, and Victor.

28 thoughts on “the uncle who works for nintendo”

  1. Have you made a guide for this game? I’m enjoying it so far but I haven’t figured out how to get the last two endings yet…

    1. I haven’t made a guide, since it just went live this morning, but the last two endings (4 and 5) involve poking some holes in your friend’s story, getting them to admit something about their uncle and then getting the hell out of there.

      You’ll have a choice, and either choice gives you one of the remaining endings. Cheers!

        1. i’m sure a guide will show up online at some point, but my general hint will be: both endings 4 and 5 result from a late branch in the same path. it involves you being able to press your friend on some issues. so looks for gaps in the story. ask about siblings, find things that seem off. it may get a little heated, but don’t get violent. then go home. then, make a choice.

          then, all of that. but make another choice.

  2. Is there a sixth ending?

    After getting the five endings there is something else on the list but I haven’t figured out any other possible variation.

  3. Seems as though the kitchen was the key to the secret 6th ending, though i dont know what else was… Yup thats right, all 6 endings cleared! took me 3 hours… 2.5 of it was trying to get 4 and 5…

  4. This game is extremely good. I spent a lot of time playing it and a lot of time thinking about it. My name was on the list, so my original playthrough was with my friend “Andrew”. But I started from the beginning in most subsequent plays and chose a new name each time. I don’t know whether the girls’ extra conversation is relevant to the final completion of the game, but I was glad to see it. Not exactly glad, I wish it didn’t ring so true, but I agree with the decision to include that bit of dialogue, whether or not it was relevant to gameplay completion.

    I was horrified on my first playthrough, and even more so the first time I went back into the kitchen before the popcorn. In fact, each ending became more and more horrifying as I progressed. By the time I had reached the last ending, I was on the edge of my seat, worried that I would make the wrong choice and send the whole scenario crashing down onto me and my friend.

    A very, very well done game.

  5. this is a nifty ass game but i’m kind of disappointed that getting the “bad” ending forces you to reload the page? is that supposed to happen or am i doing something wrong? also can all the endings be unlocked from the get-go or do you need to go through them in order? ok, whining over. congratulations to everyone who made this thing! i especially liked the sound design. hopefully a guide’ll be out soon! :)

    1. hey Isabella — thanks for playing! one quick note: the bad endings shouldn’t force you to reload the page. all endings should take you to a hub screen with credits and an option to restart. if you see this, would you mind telling me what was happening for you, what browser you’re using, etc?

      1. hello! i’m using google chrome on a windows 8.1 laptop. what happens is for example, when the uncle finds you in the bathroom, i get the screen with i am hungry child yadda yadda, then when the words have filled the box nothing happens, the sounds keep playing but i’m not taken to any credits screen (whereas the ending where you get the sitter to pick you up does take me to the credits). there is also a line at the bottom of the dialogue box saying something like “cannot set endtime”, is that meant to be there?

        1. Isabella — thanks! With your comment and the help of someone on twitter I found out the issue was the way Chrome (with certain plugins, eg, Chromoji) renders characters into emoji. It breaks the timing code, meaning you can’t progress. However, I’ve updated the game to take care of (hopefully) all instances of that. You should be able to play it normally now! Sorry for the trouble.

  6. I really did like this game. To be frank, I didn’t really get that there was any commentary on misogyny in the game at first, although your notes at the end were a very good reflection on what’s been going on. I’m not saying you didn’t make it obvious enough, I just wasn’t aware that it was supposed to be about misogyny in gamer culture, or really gamer culture in general, during the play session. The game, however, did a good job of creeping me out! I praise your background audio, especially the eerie mix of videogame sounds that do not go together, if such a clunky phrase may be used. How the climax is led up to is excellent too, gradually figuring out all the weird stuff going on was really compelling. If i had to criticize in any way, it would probably just be technical difficulties; breaks in the looping of the uncle’s… speech break the feel and having to start all the way back at 7:00 and click through all the text boxes again each time you want to unlock a new option is very dull. But heck, you make a twine game for free on the internet. Whaddyagonnado. Thank you so much for making this, I really enjoyed it!

  7. Thank you. I really enjoyed this game, it was quite creepy and really well made. I wasn’t aware that this could be done in Twine. Kudos!

  8. Thank you. I’ve immediately immersed myself into the story, remembering myself as a little kid 20 years ago, even though I’ve never been into the “gamer culture” after that.
    I’ve just been through one of these stories, but I’ll continue right after I’ve written this.

    Kimberly’s artwork nails the atmosphere.

    1. That shouldn’t be happening — disable any browser plug-ins or add-ons to make sure it’s not interfering with the way the HTML loads.

  9. i just played through each ending of this game with several different characters each time. when i started i wasn’t really expecting it to scare me (it did) and i was expecting to be sort of beaten down by the association with the topic of misogyny in gaming culture (a thing i’ve dealt with personally a whole lot and am very sore over). in the end i ended up feeling kind of uplifted and hopeful, a nice feeling after having recently been freaked the hell out, and i even teared up a little bit. this was really well done, thank you

  10. I actually shut my laptop and threw it across the room when I got a bad ending. I wasn’t even playing with sound. I want to try for a good ending, but I’m honestly terrified right now. Great atmosphere, the abstract backgrounds really make this game so much creepier.

  11. I really enjoyed this (if enjoyed is the right word), especially the author notes, so thank you for making it. I suspect I will be thinking about this for a while now.

  12. The game doesn’t work from all the article/blurb links that point to it. Just an empty page at jayisgames.com/games/the-uncle/.
    Turned off Ghostery and AdBlock and nothing but a blank page still under Iron Chromium 53 with recent Flash 22.
    Windows 8.1.
    Under settings no site is allowed to track physical location, protected content identifiers not allowed, microphone and camera access denied, plugin access to computer denied, no multiple file d/ls and no MIDI access, are the non-standard settings which I doubt would matter but must be shown.

    I will not allow plugin access, protected content ID or location knowledge for any reason including playing a cool game. Hopefully these are not the issue.

    A Dark Fire works fine so some game works from my machine at that site.

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