My First Game: The Tightrope Walker

After announcing that I was going to participate in the Pulse Pounding Heart Stopping Dating Sim Jam last week, I’m extremely proud to report that I did it! In just two days, I completed my very first game. Granted, it’s only a very short Twine game and ultimately isn’t really a “dating sim” by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a great feeling to have completed something.

The early stages of The Tightrope Walker (that typo was fixed before publishing)

What I ended up with was a Twine game I decided to call The Tightrope Walker, and without giving too much away, I’d describe it as a meditation on balancing different kinds of relationships in one’s life. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to incorporate the “gay planet” theme of the MIT Game Lab QUITBAG jam into the game, but I purposefully left the genders of the characters ambiguous in order to make it as universally relatable as possible. I implore you all to head here, download the html file, and give it a whirl! It should only take 5 minutes to play through, maybe a little more if you have trouble finding the ending.

I’d like to give a huge thanks to Jake Lawrence, who provided the illustrations, and my husband Shaun for composing a short musical piece to accompany it. Unfortunately we only had access to a free music program that he had to learn how to use as he was composing, but I think the end result is quite sweet and fits the mood of the game very well.

But before I forget, I’d also like to say that though I’ve only played a few of the 70+ (!) submissions to the jam, I’ve loved every one so far. You can view the full list over at jam organizer Madam Luna’s Tumblr! I’ve especially enjoyed Rowan’s game about the online gay dating community, anna anthropy’s emotional piece about an Xbox Live date and a whole lot more, Jurassic Heart, which, as a dating sim about dinosaurs effectively combines two of my favorite things (dating sims and dinosaurs), and J.J. Cappa’s silly Javascript Persona 4 dating sim appropriately titled P4D: Persona 4 Ultimate Dating in Javascript Arena. There are so many other great games I’ve played and even more I haven’t gotten a chance to yet, so hopefully I can do a roundup post detailing my favorites and why you should check them out sometime in the future.

If you give The Tightrope Walker a go, please leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it! And for anyone who’s ever wanted to make a game but feels like they don’t know how, I highly recommend downloading Twine and just jumping right in. It’s not at all daunting to use, so it’s a great place to start. I guarantee you’ll feel great being able to say, “Hey, look, I made a game!”

About Anne Lee

Also known as apricotsushi. Anne can be written with the kanji for apricot (杏), and sushi was the most quintessentially Japanese thing I could think of when I was 13, resulting in my goofy, albeit memorable, nickname.