The Pinecone is one of the entrants in this year’s Interactive Fiction Competition. In this work of flash fiction, you’re waiting for the school bus to arrive. It’s another cold and boring morning. You’re running late but so is the bus. It’s while you’re waiting for the bus that the goats arrive. How you react to the goats will determine whether or not you make it to school. That my sound simple but there’s more to it than just standing to the side while they walk by. You never now where a goat might show up.
This is a brief but well-written and frequently funny game. Because of movies like The Witch, I was expecting the goats to act in a certain and more sinister way. While they didn’t (and this is not a horror game, despite the presence of goats), the game still did a good job of showing why you wouldn’t necessarily want to mess around with a goat. Towards the end of the game, there is a literal laugh out loud moment involving a goat and a school bus. The game’s worth playing just for that.
The Pinecone is simple but it’s also a game that rewards being replayed. Unlike a lot of Twine works, your decisions really do affect the outcome of the game. Making the correct choice early on in the game will give you more options later on. Making the wrong choice will lead to your options being limited and you missing school.
It’s not a difficult game but it probably does help to know something about goats before playing The Pinecone. After you’ve done research, The Pinecone can be played here.