Using Twitter to make a Choose Your Own Adventure game is not without precedent. Neither, for that matter, is reviving the 8-bit aesthetic to make one. But Twitter user Leon Chang, a.k.a. @leyawn, just upped the ante by doing both—and all without the cynical pop culture angle usually required to get the internet to perk up for this sort of thing.
Chang, a media analyst and spare-time pixel artist, may be best known for illustrating PCKWCK, the novel that writer Joshua Cohen wrote in real time on the Internet over the course of a week earlier this month; or for riffing on new media brand culture with a fake ad campaign for a non-existent app; or for convincing an Atlanta newscaster that a gigantic Waluigi was behind a minor plane crash at New York’s LaGuardia airport. Now, however, he’s cementing his legacy by making “Leon,” an 8-bit, animated Choose Your Own Adventure game that plays out entirely over a sprawling network of linked Twitter accounts.
You play a “heroic bird, fat and round,” who bears more than a passing resemblance to the fat and round Huffin’ Puffin from Yoshi’s Island. Like all good Choose Your Own Adventure experiences, it’s full of twists, dead ends, and hidden hints. As in life, you can also fall over while peeing and die. Chang told The Washington Post that he used an app to generate all the burner phone numbers required to register the dozens of Twitter accounts needed to make the game work; he said in the Kotaku comment section that he’s working on backing the whole thing up to the interactive fiction platform Twine in case any of the accounts get suspended.