The Uncle Who Works For Nintendo
The Uncle Who Works For Nintendo (hosted here with kind permission... visit the official site of the author!) is the newest piece of creepy interactive horror fiction from Michael Lutz, creator of the stellar My Father's Long, Long Legs. Taking more of a Choose Your Own Adventure route this time around, in the game you're spending the night at your best friend's house, something you do all the time. Tonight, though, things are a little different. A little strange, even. And when midnight rolls around, you're going to be getting a very special visitor. See, your friend's uncle works for Nintendo, and while many a playground kid may make claims like that to get attention, this time there's actually some truth to it. So you should be excited when he shows up... right? Just click the bolded red text to make your choices, and once the game moves to the den in your friend's house, the things you do will have an impact on time as it passes. There are five different endings to unlock, and make sure to play with your sound on for the full effect. Occasionally you may need to wait a little for text to appear, and... things... might happen to your browser, but all of this is perfectly normal. Ish.
The basic premise behind The Uncle Who Works For Nintendo is likely a familiar one, since kids have been claiming to have secret inside information for schoolyard popularity for years. When I was in junior high, there was the kid who insisted his uncle worked for Squaresoft (which it was, y'know, back in the day) and there was a sneaky, overly complicated way to revive a certain Final Fantasy character. Michael Lutz's tale is decidedly a lot more out there than a kid looking for attention, but that grounding in reality gives it a wonderful urban legend flair. The increased interactivity over his other work allows for more exploration, keeping you coming back again and again to see what's different this time, what other things you could try, what secrets you may uncover. Little touches are buried here and there in the narrative, growing in frequency and weirdness as you play, that begin to fill you in on just what's going on, rather than being spoonfed a pile of backstory. As in My Father's Long, Long Legs, the use of sound here crafts a fantastic environment, and the story unsettles and unnerves rather than relying on jumpscares or the grotesque. The Uncle Who Works For Nintendo wouldn't have been out of place on an episode of The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits, and is engrossing, scary, compelling, and even a little bittersweet in all the right ways.