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CYOW #4: Blackout Kay Slater Projects

Ending Bravery 2.0

Twine Narrative Experiment (continues), Blackout: An Interactive Adventure Salon, May 2021

Creator: Kay Slater
Exhibition: CYOW 4: Blackout
Published: May 2021
Format: Twine (Harlowe 3.2.0)
Access: itch.io , Written English, requires a browser
Content Warning: Swearing, Hangovers, Incompletion


The title refers, not only to liquid courage, but also to that last blast of bravery that often comes as one approaches an ending. From confessing to summer crushes, to confronting a colleague on the final day on a job – leaving things to the last minute and then being bolstered by a blast of “it’s now or never” always made for a high octane ending – even if it wasn’t particularly satisfying or fruitful. Since I tend to struggle with writing endings in any project, I thought that focusing on my endings would help me complete this ambitious project within our month-long jam. Alas, I bit off more than I could chew and got lost in the code and my desire to add illustrations which resulted in an incomplete presentation. This year’s offering provides a more complete picture, albeit still not quite 100% complete.

Description of the Work

My story begins with a hangover. As you play through, you learn that you’re in university during the final days of your spring semester, and you’ve made a mess of your cluster dorm…and your relationships with your dorm mates. Early in the story, you’re given a time limit. I think I can say all of that without spoiling anything.

The work is a continuation of my submission from our 2020 CYOW event with the theme Apocalypse. The genesis of the project came from my interest in the original greek meaning of the word Apocalypse which means “revelation” or “an unveiling or unfolding of things not previously known and which could not be known apart from the unveiling”. I wanted the reader to unveil what had happened at the same time as the character.

How the Work Relates to the Theme

I have only a few “black out” drinking experiences from my youth, and while I am lucky that not much happened beyond loud and sloppy dancing and groping, uncovering the pieces as I put together my evening was never a fun experience. I personally struggle with kicking back and relaxing (or as some folks say “letting go”) and so binge drinking was a socially acceptable way to force myself to let loose. However, I never really got the hang of it, either going too far or not enough to relax (but I would still be stuck with a hangover regardless) and so by the time I started my first career, I had given up drinking altogether beyond the rarest occasions and only with very close friends.

I also wanted to explore the themes of time and ableism in this story; how time is even more of an enemy to those with any kind of quotidian physical challenge within colonial and able bodied systems and structures. A hangover, to an able bodied human, is usually the result of a (or a series of) bad choice(s) that can be shaken off in a day or two and the time lost is negligible. But to someone restricted to a mobility device, where their ability to do or accomplish tasks during the day are already restricted by access, their energy and wellness, and the behaviour of those around them – what does it mean to be on a time-limit when your body is further impaired by self-inflicted indulgence?

The title refers, not only to liquid courage, but also to that last blast of bravery that often comes as one approaches an ending. From confessing to summer crushes, to confronting a colleague on the final day on a job – leaving things to the last minute and then being bolstered by a blast of “it’s now or never” always made for a high octane ending – even if it wasn’t particularly satisfying or fruitful. Since I tend to struggle with writing endings in any project, I thought that focusing on my endings would help me complete this ambitious project within our month-long jam. Alas, I bit off more than I could chew and got lost in the code and my desire to add illustrations which resulted in an incomplete presentation. This year’s offering provides a more complete picture, albeit still not quite 100% complete.

Process & Project Photos

Project Files

  • Ending Bravery, itch.io (live Salon)

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