- Videogames for Humans

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edited by
merritt kopas

Behind the fluorescent veil of modern big-business video games, a quiet revolution is happening, and it’s centered on a tool called Twine. Taken up by nontraditional game authors to describe distinctly nontraditional subjects—from struggles with depression, explorations of queer identity, and analyses of the world of modern sex and dating to visions of breeding crustacean horses in a dystopian future—the Twine movement to date has created space for those who have previously been voiceless within games culture to tell their own stories, as well as to invent new visions outside of traditional channels of commerce.

Videogames for Humans, curated and introduced by Twine author and games theorist merritt kopas, puts Twine authors, literary writers, and games critics into conversation with one another’s work, reacting to, elaborating on, and being affected by the same. The result is an unprecedented kind of book about video games, one that will jump-start the discussions that will define the games culture of tomorrow.

VICE Motherboard:

“With each chapter in Videogames for Humans I immediately felt a specific kind of affectation I often associate with Twine games—contemplative, slow, mysterious and exciting. These are games that often beg for reflection and context, and it’s apt that artists working in a medium as seemingly antiquated as interactive fiction are developing works of digital play and storytelling with such depth.”

The Guardian:

Videogames for Humans contains fascinating conversations with Twine creators curated by Merritt Kopas. And if it sells enough copies, a Twine version is, of course, to be constructed.”

Penguin Random House / Hazlitt:

“[Kopas’s] new book Videogames for Humans . . . documents a movement with women at the front, as ‘friends, lovers, or something in between’ . . . the anthology displays the mottled breadth of its contributors.”


“Game developer, speaker, and writer, Merritt Kopas has concentrated on how games can explore the relationships between people...if you can write, you can use Twine. Because of this, Twine is known for experimental and diverse games, often from people who have traditionally been voiceless.”

Paste Magazine:

Videogames for Humans contains invaluable criticism presented by thoughtful voices. . . Those who are at least somewhat familiar with Twine shouldn’t pass up this massive, engaging tome.”

Boing Boing:

“[Kopas has] gathered Twine game creators and critics to annotate and discuss one another's works—the result isn't just a unique angle on games criticism; it's a gathering of many of the most prominent creators in that unique space.”

Neon Magazine:

“There are a great many stories sandwiched between the covers of Videogames For Humans—too many to list in detail here. If you’re remotely curious, then I suggest you get a copy of the book and try them out for yourself...a showcase of just what Twine can do...”


Winter Lake
Benji Bright
Maddox Pratt
Eva Problems
Tom McHenry
Elizabeth Sampat
Michael Brough
Aevee Bee
Bryan Reid
Mira Simon
Mary Hamilton
Jeremy Penner
Olivia Vitolo
Soha Kareem
Nina Freeman
Cara Ellison
Anna Anthropy
Jeremy Lonien & Dominik Johann
Zoe Quinn
Christine Love
Kayla Unknown
Gaming Pixie
Mike Joffe
Leon Arnott
Rokashi Edwards
Lydia Neon


Eva Problems
Riley MacLeod
Emily Short
Imogen Binnie
Naomi Clark
Patricia Hernandez
Anna Anthropy
Lydia Neon
Avery Mcdaldno
Bryan Reid
Auriea Harvey
Austin Walker
Katherine Cross
Mattie Brice
Lana Polansky
Soha Kareem
Cat Fitzpatrick
Aevee Bee
Toni Pizza
Leigh Alexander
Cara Ellison
Alex Roberts
Pippin Barr
Matthew S. Burns
John Brindle
Elizabeth Sampat

"Thanks to tools like Twine and to a vigorous creative scene, alternative creators have seized control of that creaky word, hypertext, hybridized it with the videogames they grew up loving, and have turned it into a powerful, in-your-face, diverse, exciting field. Voices we have never heard before. Experiences we have never had before. Art that, well, hasn’t been arted before. And here it is, reflected back at you through playthroughs by some of the most interesting writers in games. There is no better snapshot of the scene as it stands than this book."

—Raph Koster,
author of A Theory of Fun for Game Design and designer of Ultima Online

“For ages we've been hearing calls for diversity in game making and criticism. Most of these calls only echoed in the windowless, neon-lit conference rooms of academia. As mutant practitioner-theorist, merritt manages to contaminate the living gaming discourse, emerging as a powerful and yet nuanced voice in the indie movement.”

—Paolo Pedercini,

“I’m a total Twine neophyte and I don’t like nerds, but I love this book. The games—as played by authors—turn tangential, nostalgic, and thinky, but never boring, and the reader is filled with surprises and vicarious aches. merritt is wickedly wise, and it’s a pleasure to gain from her gamesmanship.”

—Sarah Nicole Prickett,
founding editor of Adult Magazine

you are standing in a field of [[red glass roses->Red Glass Roses]]. your eyes are full of [[saltless chemical tears->Saltless Chemical Tears]] and there are [[blood-encrusted wires->Blood-Encrusted Wires]] coming from the back of your head, hanging down your back. There is a [[yellow book->Yellow Book]] in your hands.you break off one of the roses and hold it up to the 'sun,' which burns with a cold computer light. the 'sun' shines through the red glass rose and you can feel warmth refracted onto your face. the red glass rose shatters after a few moments and you feel as if you have done [[something wrong->someone is coming]].the twin streams from your eyeholes flow down the runnels in your cheeks and you keep tasting the warm fluid. the 'tears' taste like flouride, the same chemical that dental hygienists use when they clean teeth. swallowing the tears, you feel a little better and less anxious. the [[Yellow Book]] in your hand seems to glow.You tug the wires where they jut out of your skull. The pain is so severe that you nearly fall over forward. You drop the yellow book, but you pick it up. You remain standing. your mouth fills with [[saltless chemical tears->Saltless Chemical Tears]].the title of the book is "videogames for humans" and there is a picture on the front of myriad cartoon characters all connected by various strands of fabric, tears, and streams of magic. in the distance, you hear shattering, snapping, and groans. [[someone is coming]].a massive many-mouthed ball of fur twice as tall as you rolls across the infinite field of red glass roses. the ball of fur and sharp teeth and hungry mouths is bleeding from all the cuts it has recieved and it stops right in front of you, quivering, bleeding, gnashing its teeth. [[soon it will die.]]you could [[ignore]] the ball of teeth, fur, and blood. you could try to [[pick glass from its cuts]]. you could [[read to it]] from the yellow book. you pretend like the giant ball of bleeding fur and hungry mouths is not hovering over you, breathing heavy, moaning. you light a cigarette and smoke the entire thing. you are certain the dying ball of fur and madness thinks you are 'pretty cool.' you could read to it or try to help or [[keep ignoring it]].you carefully pick the glass from the thousands of cuts in the skin and fur. the monster snaps at you a few times in its hurt and confusion, but it does not catch your nimble fingers. it lies there, blind, but no longer bleeding, breathing heavy. it seems [[drawn to the yellow book]]. as you begin reading from "videogames for humas," the yellow book in your hands, you are consumed with a healing, holy light and your face begins to glow and the roses begin to vibrate. the monster sings along with the words from every mouth, a [[song of dying]].you keep ignoring the dying monster in front of you. eventually it vomits up an unholy torrent of blood and black bile, covering you from head to toe, and then it dies, groaning, the death-noise of flatulence and despair wringing from every orifice. you are [[alone]] in an infinite field of red glass roses with the corpse of a monster.you are [[alone]] in a field of infinite red glass roses with the corpse of a monster. the yellow book in your hands haunts you. is it filled with secret power?You are [[all alone]] in a field of infinite singing red glass roses beside the corpse of a monster whose soul surrounds you and you are reading "videomages for humans" and you are happy.You are [[all alone]] in a field of infinite singing red glass roses beside the corpse of a monster whose soul surrounds you and you are reading "videogames for humans" and you are happy.you begin reading from the yellow book, "videogames for humans." your entire soul fills with a healing yellow light and the monster perks up and listens, singing along in harmony with the words from every mouth. the glass roses in the field begin to glow. the harmony is deafening, the most [[beautiful thing you have ever heard or been a part of]]. you are in a field of infinite red glass roses and you are reading "videogames for humans" out loud to a monster made of a million singing mouths and blood-encrusted fur and the creature is levitating and the roses are glowing and you are happier than you have ever been in your entire life and you understand [[EVERYTHING]].you are in a field of infinite red glass roses and you are reading "videogames for humans" out loud to a monster made of a million singing mouths and blood-encrusted fur and the creature is levitating and the roses are glowing and you are happier than you have ever been in your entire life and you understand [[EVERYTHING]].

paperback edition
+ ebook edition
(.epub, .mobi, and .pdf)
including playable versions
of all the games
ISBN 978-0-9904528-4-3

ebook edition
(.epub, .mobi, and .pdf)
including playable versions
of all the games
ISBN 978-0-9904528-9-8

825 sales

@25 sales

@100 sales

@200 sales

@300 sales

@340 sales


@500 sales

@1,000 sales

merritt kopas will record and release a full album of music, with a song for each game in Videogames for Humans

@10,000 sales

The 1st Annual International Twine Conference is planned and announced

@25,000 sales

Robert Caro's The Path to Power, in its entirety, will be turned into a Twine game

@50,000 sales

A double-seeded competition will be held to determine the most queer-friendly rural town with a population under 5,000, and the winning town will receive a dedicated, freestanding "Twine Machine" to serve as a permanent local curiosity and art installation

@75,000 sales

Videogames for Humans will be produced and sold as a playable NES cartridge

@100,000 sales

merritt will legally change her middle name to twine

@666,666 sales

All contributors will be summoned to the Crystal Cave in Spring Valley, Wisconsin to perform a mystic binding ritual (in the cave, obviously) culminating in a massive public party and festival to celebrate the spirit that has been summoned and harnessed for eternity via Twine (spirit TBD)