To What End (Michael Molinari, Chelsea Howe)

A game created for the 48 hour Global Game Jam 2012 – [Author’s Description]

(via jayisgames)

[Play online (Flash)]


  1. The message may be too subtle.

  2. the little orange piece trying to keep up at the rear is really cute

  3. is it supposed to end abruptly in the cave? also the high area on top of the cave entrance made me think there was a way to save my friends but i don’t think there is?

    • Spoilers:

      I’m pretty sure the ending point is determined purely by a timer (the sun). So if you choose, you can hang out with your friends in the early areas until sunset, in which case you’ve had a lovely day and no one has to feel bad about being left behind (plus you can have fun seeing if you can stack all five characters on top of each other).

      At the other extreme, if you play with full efficiency and only take care to continue rightward with yourself and the largest of your friends (until you eventually need to make use of him/her), there is one more area beyond the cave that you haven’t seen and a sort of definitive ending (though I believe the timer/sun still determines when the game actually fades to black).

      I like this mostly because the little puzzle-piece friends are charming, and — in response to zaratustra’s first comment above — I think the most charitable reading is one that doesn’t assume the authors are trying to make a hugely significant point about choice, progress, loneliness, etc. (My take on it might be that it avoids didacticism by not really forming a coherent allegory in the end, but maybe there’s a more complete reading that I’ve just failed to piece together. I hope not.)

      It’s a nice little sketch, this game.

      • Did you read the authorial statement below the game? I guess that’s what made me feel so jaded about the thing.

        • Yeah, to be fair I felt that way too – that’s why I didn’t use it in the description here.

          For me, the game mostly works for the baby puzzle piece, which is adorable (and all it’s doing is hopping around!)

        • Oh, wow, that is cringe-worthy. (And so apologies if my reply was sort of confrontational.)

          That said, I think outside of grant proposals those sorts of Artist Statements are always a mistake — and always worth ignoring — no matter the medium. (That’s why you need a gallerist, curator, or critic to write up the equivalent, to maintain plausible deniability. 🙂 )

          In this case, I think the game does exceed its didactic intentions (perhaps accidentally?), but reading that paragraph does make me want to go on about how misguided the intended allegory is. Also I wish they had fashioned a proper gameplay system around the puzzle-piece stacking. You can jump so high once you get them aligned just right!

          • yeah the really high jumping is what tricked me into thinking you could get up places…like choose to rush ahead alone and go into the darkness of the cave or hang out together and bounce up to a high mountain and watch the sunrise

  4. “If all of your friends jumped off a cliff, would you?”

    This game inverts, and reflects upon, this silly saying, once you reach the farthest geographical point in the game.

  5. This is a strange and beautiful little game. It felt like there were a lot of ideas that they seemed to want to have put in but didn’t quite make the 48hr cut, like how the character-on-character “bouncing” had more mechanical complexity to it than the game ever used, or how the last two secondary characters would start kind of “playing” with each other in one particular spot if you left them alone. Either way definitely one of the better “hold right to watch a metaphor unfold” games I’ve played, I loved the animation of the characters.

    Near the beginning I totally by accident constructed a moment where I put all my characters in a pile and were bouncing up, getting the “head” character as far up as it would go, just far enough to reach up and discover the sun as it was descending down to meet me.