Twine games have started to blow up among the indie gaming scene, with people using the homegrown dev tool to create their own text-based adventure games. Is This A Game isn’t like other Twine games, necessarily – rather than giving you the structure of an interactive choose your own adventure, it simply asks you right off the bat if what you’re playing is, in fact, a game.

“You stare at a web page. It looks like it was created in 'Twine.' Perhaps you've seen it before, heard of it, or even used it,” the first screen tells you. “ this a game?” it asks.

Meta nature aside, you’re given the option of either agreeing or disagreeing – very black and white. Say no and the program ends, but if you continue things quickly escalate. The game starts to make you question your decision. (“You hesistate” it tells you.)

It tells you it can’t be a game because there’s a kind of unwritten ordinance within the confines of this world that makes calling things games when they might not be illegal. What’s worse, if you continue insisting that it is a game, something bad might happen – not just in the world ending sense, but on a fundamental level that could affect the very experience you’re trying to justify.

Meanwhile, you can choose to change your mind, rescinding your decision to call this thing a game. It creates an interesting food-for-thought Catch-22: if you opt out, then you haven’t just played a game. If you don’t, you may not have the “game” experience you thought you would (though you can confusingly find an inherent design).

Echoing Pippin Barr’s equally excellent and ambiguous Let’s Play: Ancient Greek Punishment, Is This A Game forces you to contemplate the rules and designs of games, and may end up making your head spin. Enjoy, philosophy nerds.

Via Is This A Game?