Pippin Barr
Based in M░░t░░░l, Canada

Release date:
November, 2016



Regular Price:



Snow, but made of text! Rooms, but made of text! Stairs, but made of text! An elevator, but made of text! You'll probably die, but made of text! These fragments I have shored against my ruins!


"Burnt Matches" was begun as part of the Deep Time Jam conducted by the (FRQSC Team Research-Creation supported) Speculative Play project run by Rilla Khaled, Chris Moore, Brian Greenspan, and myself. The jam itself was based around an opening activity of watching the (excellent) documentary Into Eternity by Michael Madsen. The documentary focuses on a nuclear waste disposal facility in Finland called Onkalo, and the planning and construction devoted to making a building that is meant to last for about 100,000 years. A key idea that we all latched onto was the idea of people in the "deep" future encountering the facility and how you would help them to understand what it was and in particular that it is a dangerous place they should not enter. * * * * * I ended up wanting to make a representation of the facility itself with the idea of incomprehensible computer interfaces in a language that has been lost by the time the player encounters them. I spent most of the jam working on learning enough about integrating JavaScript and Twine to create randomly-generated alien UIs with the unicode character set and CSS animations. They looked pretty cool, but that's all I got done. * * * * * Post jam I found myself wanting to continue with the actual building of the facility itself. But I got very stuck on how to do the writing involved, because I haven't been much of a writer of fiction for a long time, and I was unsure of things like the tone of the language, how descriptive to be, how to address the player, and so on. I was eventually rescued by the idea of using text to represent the space itself, rather than to describe the space, so "Burnt Matches" is partly about representing spaces "directly" in Twine/HTML rather than representing through narrative text. This allows for very "blank" actual text, but expressiveness through spatial structures, animation and small amount of link-based interactivity. * * * * * The second piece of the puzzle was that I did still want poetic language to be a part of the project, so it wasn't an entirely blank spatial representation of the facility. My mind found its way to T. S. Eliot's poem "The Wasteland" (something I've been obsessed with in the past), and I ended up using both the thematic/language aspects of the poem (e.g. imagery of rock, thunder, water, hyacinths, etc.) along with the actual structure of the poem itself, which is in five parts themed around particular "elements" in a way (water, thunder earth, etc.). In fact I even took text directly from the poem itself in the later parts of the Twine. In some ways I might almost view "Burnt Matches" as a form of adaptation of the poem into a new form, though only loosely. * * * * * And that's about it. Once I had the core idea of representing this space through "spatial text" along with The Wasteland to give me some language to hold onto, it was mostly a matter of doing battle with JavaScript and HTML/CSS to make the Twine look and feel (and sound) the way I wanted as much as possible. It's probably one of those Twines that might almost have been better off being built from the ground up in straight HTML/CSS/JavaScript, but I do also like it being "a Twine" with the various aesthetic implications that can have.


  • Snow, but made of text!
  • Rooms, but made of text!
  • Stairs, but made of text!
  • An elevator, but made of text!
  • You'll probably die, but made of text!


Burnt Matches trailer YouTube


Room 2.png
Chess UI.png

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Speculative Play
You can find more information about the Speculative Play research project here: speculativeplay.com.

Into Eternity, directed by Michael Madsen
This is a very interesting documentary! imdb.com.

The Wasteland, by T. S. Eliot
The original poem is available in lots of places, including: bartleby.com.

Developer blog posts
Blog posts relevant to "Burnt Matches" are available under its tag on my website: pippinbarr.com.

About Pippin Barr

Pippin Barr ░░░░░ games.

More information
More information on Pippin Barr, our logo & relevant media are available here.

Burnt Matches Credits

Pippin Barr

presskit() by Rami Ismail (Vlambeer) - also thanks to these fine folks