Amid the ongoing popularity of hundred-hour, epic-length stories or never-ending, procedurally generated games, where is the place for short games with defined endings? Anna Anthropy's Queers in Love at the End of the World (2013) rejects the importance of having a lengthy game and flips the usual flow of information between the player and their player-character. In this text-based Twine game, players assume the role of an unnamed, unknown “you” as you spend a final moment with your lover. Made for the prompt “Ten Seconds,” its most notable feature is an omnipresent ten-second timer. When the ten seconds are over, the game ends regardless of how far the player has progressed.
The tension between player, character, and the ever-present countdown in the game constitutes the queer mechanic at the heart of the game. It also provides a way of evincing queerness in a game without relying upon on-screen representation. Engaging analyses of queer temporality and slow cinema, as well as José Esteban Muñoz's call toward queer futurity and the yearning to be lost, Queers in Love at the End of the World provides an excellent opportunity to look at the anxiety of seeking success and the joy of accepting loss in contrast to the search for a fairy-tale ending.