This is stupendous
any "review" of this game need to start by saying the story may seem unoriginal and uninspired at first. the premise is very simple; scientist dude finds a weird fungi, horrifying shenanigans ensue, relating to his famly. but i assure you- this is not just any simple horror story. it may be its' presentation, how it develops, its' pacing, or the length of the formality and investment you have in these accounts; but any "expected" tropes and cliches are completely and utterly dodged, destroyed, obliterated, and more importantly, subverted. by the end, you will close the last text file and be holding back tears- i assure you. it is a powerful story that grapples with many themes revolving around family- a father that draws away from his spouse over years of marriage, the disfunctionality of the house kept for the sake of keeping a child happy, the struggles of dealing with a sick child, the effects of toxicity on a couple-- it comes with it all, and juggles these themes in a way I have rarely seen done before.
I'm no reviewer or critic nor will I pretend to be, but i found this game very curious and so decided to click from a random look around RTS, browser games in the site- and I expected it to be just like the other ones I randomly found myself looking at; simple, but fun and quick, without a lot of substance, that could be mastered very quickly. For the RTS aspect, that may have been true; but was I blown away by the story, man. . .
I do not know how you have managed to properly conduct an RTS-horror-text-based-game in this glorious mix with such grace but you really have; and the story is what really ties and glues this frankenstein together, and also what made it look so good it could pass as not just a human but a very very famous good looking model. the verbosity and lengths of description each entail such personal touches-- i almost feel like i am Anna, reading the notes left behind by my now late mad-scientist-esque husband with the way he switches up tone from personal to research-focused, always maintaining a level of formality and (seeming, I would say) level headedness that justifies the twists at the end beautifully. and, talking about the end. . .
but the focus is definitely on the story, i'd like to say; the gameplay is very simplistic, not that deep, and can get boring- principally if you suck at RTS games. I didn't struggle until level 25, where i had to restart twice, but the rest was a walk in the park, the mechanics are easy, and the game overall just needs some polish to become a fun game. the story is definetly the driving factor, and that's okay, considering it's quality.
i have to say; bravo to the creator. he's a normal-ass game-developer / ai guy apparently from what i saw by briefly scanning his twitter for 2 seconds, with a family and all; so i think this story speaks from home and his heart, the lengths he'd go to to keep his family safe (and alive)- but what really sold this idea to me was how the story was so well put-together.
This is one of the most unique games on this platform that I have seen, and, as a whole, that I have experienced. I wish you had made other games in this vain; and an expanded edition, if this gained some traction (which it sadly probably won't considering how this is) with extra features, a nicer UI (not easier to use though- love how hard it is to navigate LOL) could be a commercial hit.
bravo, detloff, bravo-- this is an absolute hell of a ride of a game and of a story; i couldn't recommend it more. it's definitely the type of stuff you'd hear about in a niche white guy youtube video with a million views that's 50 minutes long, super edited, and with a super detailed breakdown of the story LOL
Your late husband was a reclusive scientist who spent his life obsessively working on a secret project in the basement of your home. Now he's gone, and all that he's left behind is an old computer containing a cryptic note for you.
Unthinkable is a real time strategy game and science fiction horror narrative. Explore the files your husband left behind to reveal the dark secret behind his work that he's kept from you for your entire lives.
Trigger warning: Contains depictions of domestic violence.
Type help to view command line commands. Drag from one cell to another to spread infection. Drag from a cell to the 'purge' or 'mutate' icons to purge a cell or mutate a vine. Use spacebar to pause gameplay and plan your next move.
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This is stupendous
This is really nice, thanks for taking your time to write your thoughts! I haven't had time in a while to revisit this project, but it's very gratifying to read that it's having an impact. When I started this project I was most excited about the gameplay - I hadn't anticipated how narrative focused the project would be, and it kind of took me by surprise how it turned into more of an interactive short story than a game!
Ohhhhhh my god. This is amazing.
First, my thoughts on the gameplay: RTS is one of the game genres I am pretty neutral about in general. It's pretty fun to play, but it gets quite hard and personally I'd prefer if the new mechanics came in less slowly. Definitely one of the better RTS games I've played, but the difficulty was a bit much for me.
But the STORY.
Ohhh man, the STORY.
This is an amazing work of science-fiction horror, with beautiful language, amazing imagery, and truly powerful themes. It's just... Well, unthinkable how powerful this narrative is. I've read it over a few times, and it's just so powerful to read. Get's me to almost cry nearly every time. The parable of loving someone you feel you cannot relate to. The depths of obsession. The sacrifices made to ensure safety. Honestly, it's one of the best horror stories I've ever read (and that's saying something -- I read quite a lot)! This will definitely impact my writing styles, how I look at stories and storytelling, and possibly how I look at life. I congratulate you on writing something so amazing.
Thanks, I'm so glad you enjoyed it! It's been a few years since I built this and I keep thinking I should come back to it and tune the difficulty and iron out some wrinkles, or maybe edit the narrative into a standalone short story. Perhaps this fall!
Bruh... I was already going to comment on how great this game and storyline were, every time I thought it was nearing the end, there was another twist, but now that I've reached the end, I'm legit tearing up. This was so well written and engaging. There were several times I had to remind myself to stop and get some homework done because I just wanted to keep going. To be honest, although the puzzle aspect was good, the story was so good that I just wanted to skip the puzzles to find out what happened next.
Difficulty spikes way too much around sample11, not fun when the story is engaging.
i need to preface by saying first that in many years of playing games on itchio, i have always wanted to leave comments on games i enjoyed, but never got around to making an account
but now i'm creating a throwaway for the first time just to comment here, because i absolutely MUST tell you how much i LOVED LOVED LOVED this game. i was hooked, completed the whole thing in 2-3 hours because i had to keep reading until the end to find out what would happen next
SPOILERS BELOW IF YOU HAVENT PLAYED FINISH
so i just happened to stumble across your game, thought it had a cool title and synopsis and decided to give it a try. at first when the game loaded i just sat there waiting wondering why there's this 3-decade old screen in the game window LOL like i thought "is this some emulator that didn't load properly?" then i tried typing something then ok help and opened the first .txt HAHAHA
(ok but i suggest u delete the "drag from one cell... plan your next move" sentences under instructions, as those are introduced in the game itself and it may spoil plot a bit if read before starting the game?)
anyway first shit your storytelling. just, HOW?? how did you come up with such a beautiful, amazing, convulted, romance/horror/thriller/RTS game combining a top tier short story with actually damn interesting unique and difficult gameplay? i tried to poke holes into Richard's narration and your plot but came up with nothing. was thinking "why not let the girl die" but realised he was probably thinking of getting caught and making Anna feel horrible after knowing, and how the writing digresses regularly to reflect Richard's personality. are you like Shakespeare back from the dead (with some fungi in his head) or something??
and that plot twist at the end holy shit just when i thought "yeah this wild ride of a story is coming to a close" you broke my neck with the whiplash of oh HEY RICH KINDA MURDERED ANNA. and how you weaved in the explanations of destroying evidence and not being able to put the latest variant directly inside Lisa, wow i feel like some high school literature teacher gushing about all this (i swear i am not HAHA). fuck this entire thing felt so disgusting yet intimate and all sorts of emotions really, my only question is what happens to Lisa when fake-Anna dies? but that ending note and him looking forward to see Anna in the afterlife GOSH IM SOBBING AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
reading the intro and end of this made me feel like i really am Anna sitting in some old basement with an old box desktop looking through all this. i can really just imagine the scene, some light dust on the floor... also how you narrated the breakdown of their relationship that was honestly so heartbreaking (and it was mostly implied!! your writing is that good??). i love the old computer OS format too, that is so incredibly unique and makes me feel like I'm going through some 200-year-old diary (but in electronic form), it really pairs nicely with the deceased feel. this medium was really so perfect for your storytelling (also perfect), like FF7 meets Cask of Amontillado.
and the gameplay: are the third/fourth/fifth colours meant to represent the powder and white blood cells and so on? i liked how it was abstract but also supported the plot a bit, differing in the map and so on based on what was happening in the story. altho i spent 5 minutes trying to click the first level before realising that you had to grow the vine from the ends of the chain HAHA oops
there's a lot i wanted to say but i think i forgot some so I'll ADD THEM LATER
damn i love you thank you so much for this. i am gonna go let the emotional fallout from playing this mess up my next few days (hopefully no nightmares)! i hope you're doing well, is there some way i can give you some $$ maybe a kofi or something?
... also you know, naughty dog or square enix (or something) are probably hiring scriptwriters
oh YES DO YOU WANNA EDIT AND PUBLISH THIS AS SOME SHORT STORY?? i would buy it immediately on the spot, this is way too good to be locked behind a 2 hour game session I WANNA REREAD IT ONCE IN A WHILE
right i loved Rich's self denial even though he knew most likely that his fears/suspicions were true! and all that foreshadowing...
the way you've spun this all to max out the thriller part really adds to the horror and disgust, not like tension before a jump scare, but like failing some big exams which is a nightmare that can't be woken up from, just keeps going and going, trapped in it with the reality pressing in, i LOVE IT
This was a really nice comment to read, thanks for posting it! This game didn't end up getting a ton of engagement, so its super fun to hear that someone played and enjoyed it this much.
I've thought about posting the story on its own somewhere, but to be honest I don't really know where I would. If you'd like to extract the story to read later, you can copy and paste it from the source code (right click the canvas and select 'inspect' The whole story is inside TextFiles.js, or you can just enter kTextFiles on the js console. It will take some formatting, but feel free to copy/paste it to a doc if you'd like to read it again later. I did work with a game publisher for a chunk of 2019 to create a sequel, but unfortunately had a spat of bad health and had to drop the project. Maybe it'll come someday in the future :)
To answer your question, the other colors are meant to represent the pressures Rich applied to the colonies he tested in order to pressure them into mutating - bacteria, other fungal colonies, or the immune systems of his test subjects.
yea you really deserve so much more feedback and engagement, like how are there not more comments and stars?? i really did love it so much, brilliant and mindblowing storytelling
if you don't mind publishing it for free, you can try putting it as an original work in archiveofourown.org? maybe add some tags (authors usually put trigger warnings in tags), then in your author's note you can explain how you edited the story from your original game (link it too!) (as i don't think a raw copy paste may be suitable). if people like it there, i am confident you'll get lots of support!
id love to see the sequel so much! as i wrote above, is there some way i can support you? it's not every day i find a game so amazing that makes me want to voluntarily open my wallet HAHHAHA
omg i am dumb did NOT realise that the support this game button lets me send you monies
edit: hah still figuring out how itchio works, didnt realise i can edit comments too. well paypal isnt loading properly ill try again later!:)
This is so cool!