“Why Kill Yourself Today?”
Well, thanks for that cheery opening, game. Do go on.
“When You Could Masturbate Tomorrow?”
Good point. I shall consider this when caressing my blue veins with the tip of a knife.
Actual Sunlight is a game about depression, alienation, addiction, love and loneliness. All of the ingredients of my crunchy, sour-tasting breakfast. Every morning. But mostly it’s about punching your dick. And then reminiscing those fantasies you envisioned for your future self but never bothered to actually attempt.
“Nobody likes a two-hour commute, but would you rather walk seventeen blocks in the dead of winter for a cup of soup?”
I cut off what I was writing there previously because I continued playing the game and didn’t stop to take any notes. I just ploughed through to the end. I’m not sure what I was going to write – probably something that I hoped would give you a giggle, but at the same time get across the sharp reality that Actual Sunlight was beginning to jab me with. But it pulled me in, and now I’m almost choked up. Almost.
You see, the thing is, with game development becoming available to people – the scum, the rich, the stupid, the everyone – you get games that aren’t just another bollock-shooting contest, or one of the platformers or quirky puzzle games that pop up in various places around the Internet pretty much every day. Actual Sunlight is one of the ones that’s worth every minute of the time I spent with it because it was made by a human and you can feel that when you play it. In fact, I think developer Will O’Neill just compressed himself into digital form and posted himself via email to me.
Why are my posts getting heavier and more deep as I continue? Stop doing this to me, games! You’re supposed to be my happy place. My power trip. My joystick rodeo!
So I was depressed for a ‘period’ of my life (yes, an eggy one with blood and stains), and during that time it was hard to get out of bed and find the will to do anything other than stare out of a window like a caged animal or watch some crap on YouTube because I could bear it for slightly longer than whatever it was the TV farted at me. When I look back on that time, it’s very weird as I can’t imagine how I even got to that state because I was always so mentally strong. And even now that I’ve snapped out of it, I’m pretty sure it would be very easy to slip back in there – to just give up all over again.
Having been through that and vividly remembering the thoughts and the fantasies (partly because they’re still there), I found playing through Actual Sunlight oddly familiar. I swear I could’ve written at least the first half of the game almost word for word if I set out to create a game on this topic. The twist was unsurprising to me. I knew it all along as it’s something I constantly partake in. This game knows me. It knows anguish. And because it can share it all with the player as if feeding it through an umbilical cord it sneakily attached while you were busy reading, it connects with you in a way other games couldn’t possibly do. Shooting guns, jumping over spikes, solving puzzles with cubes – they’re all things I do in games but they only occupy time and feed feelings. They AREN’T my feelings, but Actual Sunlight is, and yeah – fuck.
You can download Actual Sunlight for free from its website and while there you might also notice a link to an Indiegogo campaign. The game isn’t entirely complete yet, though the free version available feels like it is. It’s more a matter of art, as in adding original artwork, and music. The former isn’t all too important as it’s the writing that leads the game, while the RPGMaker visuals just help to frame your mind’s runaway thoughts. The music, though – the game could certainly do with some. Saying that, the quietness the game leaves you in while playing through it continues to remind you of your loneliness, which could be considered a feature of the game.
Say nothing for exclusive reminder of how lonely you are
So if you have some money and you like personal games that brand themselves with the “mature” factor, send some money over, yeah? If not, as the begging bum says, fuck you.
Now I feel bad.
I didn’t mean that.