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That Sinister Self

by Astrid Dalmady profile

Horror
2015

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Number of Reviews: 4
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Sinister reflections, June 10, 2015
That Sinister Self is a short horror Twine that dramatizes the ways our own minds and self-critical impulses can turn against us. It focuses particularly on the kinds of body-shaming thoughts and social concerns that are common among high school girls, but it's presenting a kind of distorted thinking that can affect other groups too.

It does this with a neat trick of typography: the main text appears right-side up, but underneath is a reflection layer, upside down mirror text that sometimes reads differently, indicating the alternative perspectives of the second, mirror self. As time passes, the mirror text differs more often, more aggressively, demonstrating the warping of the inner monologue. The mirror text makes fun of the protagonist, emphasizes her flaws, rejoices in her mistakes and embarrassments. There's no way to interact with this text, to erase or refute it; we can only take actions in the real world and hope for the best.

There are several endings; I reached only one ((Spoiler - click to show)The Contagion Ending), but it felt sufficiently fitting that I didn't really want to try for others, so left it there.

Speaking purely personally (and this is why I haven't assigned a rating), the emotional impact wasn't as powerful for me as that of some other pieces that delve into inner monologue. (Cis Gaze comes to mind here.) I think this was because the protagonist didn't seem to me quite as uniquely imagined and individual, but more like a representation of a general type of problem, and those usually don't work quite as well for me.

Your mileage may vary, however -- and there was plenty of formally interesting content to make this well worth playing.