Let's Talk Alex

black and white couch photo with the title of the piece in yellow

Link to Work: Link 1(work), Link 2 (video)
Age: 18 and up
Type: Hypertext-based Interactive Fiction
Language: English
Platform: Twine

Mentor: John Murray

Mentee: Stephanie Smith

Roles & Additional Authors: Writing, Development, Design - Stephanie Smith; Mentoring, Feedback, Debugging - John Murray

Short Description: Let's Talk Alex is a piece of interactive fiction intended to simulate what it's like to try and leave an emotionally and mentally abusive relationship, specifically identifying the abuse and confronting the abuser. 

Longer Description: Readers take on the role of the protagonist, who must recall details about unhealthy behavior their significant other, Alex, has exhibited. Using evidence from memories triggered by exploring the apartment the story takes place in, readers can gain insight into some of the problematic things Alex has done. After experiencing four memories, Alex arrives home and is confronted about being controlling, not accepting, taking things too personally, and not being trusting. The protagonist can use the memories experienced earlier as evidence, but note that not all memories are relevant to all behaviors. It is also not always easy to tell what part of a memory is important to the point being made. There are three possible endings. One where the Alex and the protagonist stay together and nothing changes, another where they stay together but things might change, and one where they breakup.

Mentoring Context: Stephanie Smith is an undergraduate completing an independent study with John Murray. Ms. Smith completed a series of critiques and blog posts documenting her work, and worked on both structure and stylistic edits with her mentor over the course of the semester, including how to use Twine effectively. 

Bios: Stephanie Smith is an aspiring game producer and designer. She is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Game Design at the University of Central Florida. Personal website: https://stephanie-c-smith.com/

John T. Murray is an Assistant Professor of Games and Interactive Media department at the University of Central Florida, USA. He is co-author of Flash: Building the Interactive Web (MIT Press, 2014) and Adventure Games: Playing the Outsider (Bloomsbury, 2020). His research focuses on interactive narratives and reality media (augmented, virtual and mixed reality). Personal website: https://jtm.io