I’M THE GAMER I AM YOU ARE NOT I AM I AM I’VE WON DON’T YOU SEE I’M BETTER I’M THE BEST I’M THE WINNER
the uncle who works for nintendo plays on several forms of nostalgia, from the 90′s setting to urban myths to childhood fears of the unknown. It’s a horror Twine game, a genre I’m disinclined to normally play with my fear of horror but I was convinced by several friends to give it a try.
The game takes place at the late 90′s (the addition of a Sega Dreamcast in your friends collection of games points to this later date). You are a ten year old kid going over to your best friends house, the kind of friend who’s always a bit more wealthy than you, who has all of the games systems you want to play, and who has an uncle who works for nintendo. This is the kind of authority often ascribed to that one kid in your schoolyard who insisted that he knew all the secrets, all of the Easter eggs that would point to his having a familial connection to the large company.
The game is quietly strange, at least on my first playthrough (and this is the kind of game that promises more secrets if you play through multiple times.) Some people point to a creepy pasta feel, but it doesn’t build dread the same way (at least not on the first playthrough). Instead it lulls you into a false sense of security — you’re just playing games with your friend, eating popcorn and old pizza, the kind of classic sleepover that you remember. Inherently safe. As time progresses, the situation gets stranger until it becomes untenable, until that sense of safety snaps like an old rubber band. This is the strongest part of the uncle who works for nintendo.
For fans and users of Twine, however, there is an added layer of weird and additional play on expectations. You can go back and look at passages you’ve already read (usually a sign of a weak story) but in this case it’s utilized as a method of showing you slight differences. Subtle changes are expressed in seemingly identical text, exploration intensifies pushing you closer towards the end. It’s a great way of playing with expectations. Additionally, the uncle who works for nintendo utilizes a great deal of error messages. I played this game with a few friends and one thought we had broken the game when we encountered the error messages.
The game is relatively short, around 5 to 10 minutes depending on your reading speed. While it falls into the horror genre, it’s not as deeply creepy as I was led to believe and while I found the ending mildly unsettling, it was not nightmare inducing (if you are specifically prone to those when engaging in horror media). The game encourages exploration and completionist behaviors with five endings, and a variety of ways to explore and engage with the environment.