howling dogs afterbirth

howling dogs won the 18th IFComp’s Golden Banana Award for the highest standard deviation, meaning the most loved and the most hated, which I expected making a feminist game, in a non-parser format.

Emily Short’s interview with me about Howling Dogs

the first half talks about intfic culture and Twine, the second half is the meat

Here are some thoughts about howling dogs that I liked:

I came away thinking howling dogs should be an assigned text of study for people considering writing link-based fictions.

thoughts on the phrase “cut off from the passion of religious women”

…something created out of love and drive and vision, and not necessarily to serve the player or to hold your hand.

it’s like that book “infinite jest” only instead of being the most entertaining film ever, it’s the most depressing and introspective game ever and it has to be outlawed cuz everyone realizes the beauty of the world and refuses to settle for this one
terrorist organizations attempt to get their hands on legendary “howling dogs” software to destroy societylilith megiddo

It has a quality of… I’ve been thinking about it lately, and I guess I would say being bigger than the computer, or bigger than the player?christopher whitman

something about art that seeks to contain vs. art that seeks to access

aquarium versus a dip in the ocean

but the most insightful comment has to be:

Porpentine’s Twine video game titles are for the secret edge in addition to everything is not any several having tasteless pets.



I’m very happy that people supported me and responded. It means a lot. For people making things on the fringes, that kind of support has nothing to do with ego, and everything to do with emotional survival and health. It is almost impossible to express the vitality others have given me.

Howling dogs began from one thing. I was visiting the east coast for a month. Before I got on the airplane I searched through my cardboard boxes (I had just moved to a new place and the few things I owned were in boxes on the floor) for a book. I was afraid of being alone with my own thoughts in the claustrophobic confines of the airplane. I needed a book. Oh, here’s one I have not read before.

The book I found was Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness by Kenzaburo Oe. One paragraph stayed with me and when I decided to enter the IF Comp, a week before the deadline, I typed that quote into the first passage of Twine.

listening to the entire SchoolTree album over and over again.

thinking about that coffin tank tweet by Leon Arnott, something about coffin tanks sealed before battle, how can you fight unless you accept death…

seeing how erin feels about joan of arc.

The black room contains many natures: a prison, a remotely piloted ship careening through space, an experimental box, a lonely rented room…

The timer is not an arbitrary number: beginning at 367 means you’ve passed the year mark very recently. Someone imprisoned for an unknown period of time and knowing the days of their imprisonment will irrationally hope that a year is when they will be released. Beginning after a year has elapsed disposes of that hope. The days are now free to stretch on because no significant number is on the horizon.

The sanity room is from a photograph I saw once of the wall of an Antarctic research base. The wall had this painting of beautiful, verdant nature–meadow, lake, forest, clouds. A lone mural in a vast, icy waste. This wall was for therapeutic value.

Interwoven text–the cell in the saint sequence corresponds to the walls of the black room (the northern door that brings confusion), the reference to the living city in the north (with an ivy-encrusted observatory, {*}), and so on.



Howling dogs was good for me because it let me get eight images out of my head, the eight scenes. Each one has lived inside me for a long time–the drop coffin, the moor room with the alcohol fire I saw in my dream, the garden, the leaves hissing in the night which I saw in real life, the passion of a martyr, the black room, the empress who is draped with red ribbons to prepare her for the blood that will one day pour from her body, and the second ending, which came not from a vision of architectural plates but an artificially illuminated lawn at night in front of a palace leading to a river and beyond, dark forest.

I am so glad the images are out of my bed, like pearls or shit that needed to be disgorged. Making things is intensely irritating.

One thought on “howling dogs afterbirth

  1. travis megill says:

    enjoyed reading this “afterbirth”. i appreciated the varied ways links were used in the story. i have a feeling i’ll be replaying many times just to examine the technical aspects! thank you.