Genre | Interactive Fiction
Developer | JP LeBreton
Platforms | Browser (PC, Linux, OSX)
Website | vectorpoem.com/if/arrow.html
»——-?——-> is an interactive fiction Twine game in which the player encounters a skeleton with an arrow in its skull and chooses what to do with the arrow. The player’s choices result in varied occurrances which are described to the player through written text. The game features an examination of memory and of violence, including violence on a large scale in a battle, violence on a smaller scale at the site of an individual’s body, and violence generally in terms of turmoil in the world and in spatially unspecified sites which the game describes metaphorically.
»——-?——-> features twelve screens, eighteen links, two endings, a rewind button, a restart button, and descriptions. The player interacts with the game by clicking on links to advance to the next screen and to reveal additional information on the current screen. Some text descriptions are entire sentences which end with a period while other text descriptions are sentence fragments that do not end with a period. Some descriptions stretch over multiple screens. Actions, feelings, and memories are described in the second person.
Some situations in »——-?——-> are described to the player as happening in various time periods, including time periods before and after the time the player begins the game at. At one point the game says that “eons pass,” and then says “determined, you push on.” The game uses a limited number of sentences to describe what the player sees, does, and feels, leaving some of what occurs in the plot of the game unspecified beyond what the player wishes to attribute to it. This is particularly the case for actions that occurred in the past in the context of the game.
The graphics in »——-?——-> depict white text on a black background and bold blue text for the links the player can click on. There is no sound in »——-?——->. There is no music in »——-?——->.
The player can choose to push or pull the arrow they encounter. Once this decision has been made, the player is then committed to continuing to push or pull the arrow until the arrow has been completely pushed or pulled. As the player pushes or pulls the arrow events like the passage of time or alterations in the fabric of reality occur. Throughout these changes the player is presented with no option to stop pushing or pulling the arrow. Additionally, the links the player can click on do not indicate that the player has been rendered unable to push or pull the arrow. Simultaneously the game describes situations which might be thought to diminish one’s ability to interact with an arrow. The title of »——-?——-> resembles an arrow.