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Have You Played... My Father's Long, Long Legs?

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Free Twine game My Father’s Long, Long Legs manages to capture some of the uncanny horror of Junji Ito’s Uzumaki using nothing more than a fine selection of words and some cleverly applied sound effects. There are no jump scares here, just a gradual build toward…something. The story gains much of its power through the distorted vagueness of the threat – if it is truly a threat at all – and the obscure reasons for the changes that are occurring.

Although it’s the story of a family, with the player firmly planted within that family, I think Michael Lutz’ writing is suggestive of overheard rumours and neighbourhood legends. With both this game and the later The Uncle Who Works At Nintendo, I’m reminded of stories about neighbours, and about the one creepy house on the next block. They feel like part of the larger, weirder tapestry that is suburban horror.

Lutz looks behind the twitching curtains and the closed doors of seemingly ordinary homes, and finds things that crawl and shriek. Despite the eventual excess of the events in Long, Long Legs, it is, at heart, a family portrait with a single feature out of place. Something – someone – is weirdly and impossibly out of proportion, but the devil in the detail is only seen in passing, at the corner of the eye.

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Adam Smith

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