Review: 20Something: A Story about Loneliness, Dating, and the Big City

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20Something is a new Twine game from Jake Tucker and artist Ivan Ulyanov. Jake writes for Pocket Gamer and Bit-Tech, along with starting VideoBrains, a monthly event that hosts a multitude of different speakers to talk about video games. Here’s what it’s about:

20Something is a candid and honest look at dating, relationships, and navigating life as a man in his twenties, for whom interactions can provoke a little extra soul-searching. An emotive piece of interactive fiction featuring multiple paths, numerous choices and illustrations by Ivan Ulyanov.”

The game begins with a courtship, followed quickly by a breakup. The writing is honest, moving, and quite believable. It also does some really cool things with the format, such as having you fill out an OKCupid profile and inserting a countdown. There are multiple decision points (do you go on the date or continue to binge-watch Netflix? How soon after a date do you text back? The eternal dilemmas). Even though the game is written from the perspective of a man, the anxieties around dating and relationships are universal. Everyone has overthought potential signals; everyone has thought about texting etiquette. I’ve been the girl who sent twenty-plus messages to a guy I was seeing when he was unresponsive. It’s incredibly embarrassing to think about that now, of course, but it was also interesting to see it from the other side. Overall, this Twine is well worth your time, because of the writing and the universality of the subject matter.

You can play 20Something on itch.io here in browser, and download it for PWYW.

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