IF Comp 2013 Reviews: Their angelical understanding

Their angelical understanding is an interactive poetry. It evokes visions and it does not want to explain anything. It is full of touching moments and sentences like this : “This is a place of shelter for all kinds of broken things.” Or this: “The sea took my daughter and there is nothing i can do to the sea.”

And at some point, in a psychoanalytic moment, asks the player to burn in the fire three regrets, and we can type our personal regrets.

Their angelical understanding is not a traditional parser-based game, but you can not even define it a Multiple Choice Gamebook. It can’t be enclosed in a genre. It is written in Twine , one of the most interesting tools for making hypertext games, and it is mostly an experience. We begin in a monastery, then we explore a village on the sea and – in the session I played – we end in a casino. And Music and sound effects make it more magical (don’t forget your headphones).

It seems a way of life: peace, meetings, ruin. And it is, maybe — since, I think I have figured out, we are a former alcoholic who can’t become an angel (sorry for the simplification).

On the other hand, I have to admit I’m not sure I understood what Their angelical understanding really is, and perhaps I don’t care.

One thing is certain: it is something that has to do with art.

Moreover, the author Porpentine is a visual artist, a word artist. Take a look at her website, where Porpentine describes herself as follows: queer tranarchafeminist – trash harpy – guromother – little girl shit.

Porpentine works on the power of words, he does it with passion, and her work is enhanced by the interactive fiction medium, which is based (or should be based) on the words. Porpentine brightens up the key words that lead us through the game, deep in the story. Sometimes she highlights words, sometimes she rejects them (for instance, using lowercase instead of uppercase). And sometimes she makes the words change: and so a word turns into another driving us toward a new path of the story .

Their angelical understanding offers a series of suggestions, it is an allegory. The atmosphere seems gloomy and dark, but actually it is not. Do not expect either puzzles or a plot with a traditional structure. This is not Their angelical understanding.

Their angelical understanding is the typical game you love or hate. I liked it.

(And don’t forget your headphones…).