Sturdy, Calloused, Windblown: HORSE MASTER

By Alec Meer on December 9th, 2013 at 11:00 am.

I am fairly sure HORSE MASTER has graced these pages before, in Porpentine’s most splendid column, but I am entirely certain that it warrants its own post. It is a primarily textual game about raising the ultimate competition horse, nurturing it to greatness from the very moment that it is freshly stuck from the egg sac of its queen’s papal dome.

To write much would be to spoil HORSE MASTER, but it is a game of marvellous, terrifying writing which no two of you will experience quite the same events in. Choices are made, with sharp, strange, impossible consequences.

I, with my monstrous gene-addled horse Tarnal Ragecup (who I would need a ladder to reach the top of were I to ride it, but NEVER ride a horse), wound up arrested for shoplifting on the day before the competition. I will play it again and make different decisions in the training of my horse, in order that I compete and experience the wonders/horrors of completed horse mastery.

But for now, I rest in jail, evicted, agonisingly withdrawing from the mad drugs which kept me sane, knowing that Tarnal Ragecup is still out there somewhere. The world is in such peril.

HORSE MASTER.

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19 Comments »

  1. LionsPhil says:

    I heard it about from this review being linked here somewhere, and it always seems such a shame the game exists. How can it possibly live up to the level of expectation it establishes?

  2. Devenger says:

    By the end of the game I was just rocking back and forth in disbelief and horror. 11/10, would never play again.

  3. JB says:

    Malfolio, my glorious Europa Trotter, won easily. This despite being evicted from our apartment partway through his/her growth cycle.

    I feel a bit sick.

    • Snidesworth says:

      Alec’s words about shoplifting ensured that I never attempted it. I starved for three days as a result, but Whisperfish took the gold. I too am a Horse Master now.

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        No shoplifting? I figured I had to feed my horse (did it frequently, too) but I wasn’t going for scraps of refuse. Shoplifting a couple of times didn’t work against me (or not sufficiently, I suppose). The people were too frightened to do anything. A horsemaster (and a wreck) is me.

        But yeah, creepy game.

  4. LTK says:

    The first time I played it I made it all the way to the finals, when in a cruel twist of fate, the horse’s internal neuroanatomy dashed my hopes on the rocks.

    Just thinking back to this game gives me the heebie-jeebies.

    • Bluerps says:

      That happened to me too. It is the single most bizarre part of the game, and that’s saying something.

      I played again after that, and this time my horse was up to the challenge.

  5. Universal Quitter says:

    Okay, what the fuck did I just play? I won, or I should say Facefucker won, but I was kind of hoping to get a bad ending.

    Like with a DF or CKII, succeeding feels kind of like losing out on what the game has to offer.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I wish Twine was just links between pages rather than a ball of hateful JavaScript, because then you could just go backwards.

  6. rightyeauhuh says:

    If this doesn’t appear on the advent calendar, I am going to be a bit peeved. Best Twine thing I have ever played with.

  7. lautalocos says:

    i was about to say that someone should make a drawing of how these horses look, but thinking about it a second time, i ratter sleep again, some day.

  8. Rane2k says:

    I am the one true Horse Master and Doom my fine stallion.

    I am also deathly tired, and must lie down to rest…

  9. LionsPhil says:

    “You gather together almost two garbage bags of hair puffs while Gelatinous Throbulation watches.”

    OHHHHH, I get it. This is a game about producing purebred cats, except they replaced every instance of the word “cat” with “horse”.

    Name: Gelatinous Throbulation
    Breed: Furioso-Hellfist
    Age: 21
    Growth Phase: Adult
    Glamour: 99
    Uncanny: 92
    Pep: 98
    Realness: 100
    Discrection: 95

    Overall Rating: 96.8

    Who’s a good abomination? Who’s a good abomination? Is it you? Is it?

  10. Rane2k says:

    Spoiler: his half-roommate sister is NOT the Horse Master

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  12. soliduck says:

    This game reminds me of Welcome to Nightvale, oddly enough.

  13. Drakedude says:

    More of this sort of thing! And a uncracked flagon with a side of table!