Hypertext and Destiny: This Twine Could be Your Life

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Screen shot from Closky's Do you want love or lust?

Your lover wants to move in, and you have a choice: you can say, "ok, I'll try it for a weekend and then we'll see" or you can "threaten to break up right now."

Then, your boss gives you a compliment. You can either: "say ironically, 'soon you won't be able to afford me,'" or "mentally calculate how much more you will ask him for."

You choose, you choose again, then you choose again. Each time, you are presented with another choice, an either/or. It's impossible to predict the outcomes that either decision might yield, but you choose carefully, expecting that each choice will shape your future path.

This is the sprawling question set of Claude Closky's 1997 Do you want love or lust?, an early web-based hypertext work that draws the user/viewer/player into what seems like a CYOA (choose your own adventure narrative). By making a choice—clicking love or lust—you enter a fictional, and emotional, space where you are the protagonist of this story.

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Better Sexual Politics Through Noselicking: A report from Different Games

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Realistic Kissing Simulator (2013) James Andrews and Loren Schmidt

Dueling tongues protrude from simplified profiles. They worm through swinging-door lips, taking an unpredictable course as they collide; they push upwards and into a nose, flopping limply past the chin, or prodding one of the eyes, forcing it to blink. Sometimes, a lucky tongue finds its way to its counterpart's mouth, but that’s not really the goal.

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Ten Seconds to Hypertext Oblivion

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Before reading this, you may as well play the game. It's only ten seconds long. But, I recommend that you do it late at night, and all by yourself. OK, here's the link. 

Begin.

Blue helvetica typeface displayed on a black background. You click, and a timer appears on screen, counting off ten seconds. 

In the end, like you always said, it's just the two of you together. You have ten seconds, but there's so much you want to do: kiss her, hold her, take her hand, tell her.

This is game designer Anna Anthropy's queers in love at the end of the world (2013), a work made using the Twine interactive storytelling platform that is as much video game as it is hypertext fiction. In keeping with hypertext tradition, one navigates the work by clicking on highlighted words to choose among narrative threads, playing out one of several imagined end-of-the-world interactions as quickly as possible, from biting to fucking to handholding, before time runs out. 

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