No One Has To Die (Stuart Madafiglio)

RISE FROM THE ASHES – [in game text]

(via Paul Hack,

[Play online (HTML5)]


  1. This was excellent. I started to suspect the central conceit as soon as Lionel started saying weird things, but it was pulled off magnificently.

  2. Wow, I enjoyed this a lot. Very 999-esque.

  3. I can’t seem to get past the level pictured above. Does anyone know how?

    • Gur fperrafubg cerggl zhpu tvirf njnl gur fbyhgvba! Vs lbh ghea bss gur snhprg, gur jngre jvyy fgvyy oybpx sver jvgubhg cebcntngvat shegure. (ROT-13 spoilers.)

      • Nyfb,vs lbh’er qbvat vg jvgu Fgrir, Yvbary naq Puevfgvan naq jnag gb fnir fgrir, whfg yrg vg tb bar zber ghea naq gura ghea gur jngre bss (more ROT-13 spoilers)

  4. It’s like a choose your own adventure story, except instead of turning a certain page or clicking a certain link, you choose your path by solving a simple puzzle a certain way.

    Also, the character system is simple yet neat, and leaves a nice space for having a plot that’s still important. Nothing but praise for this one, nothing but praise.

  5. I’m so glad this game is getting the attention it deserves! Stuart Madafiglio is a really skilled and creative young developer, and one to watch.

  6. Probably the best narrative indie game I’ve played in a while. Very well written. I immediately felt connection to characters.

  7. I enjoyed this, though I’m not sure the puzzle system added much.

    • Having puzzles with the characters as movable avatars kept the game from being simply a rhythmic instant messaging novella. It gave a texture and tactile quality to something that would otherwise be a short story with branching paths and allows the player to better sense their part in the narrative and the weight of the choice in letting someone die.

      And truthfully, without the (admittedly fairly simple) puzzles, I’m sure I wouldn’t have bothered with the game much past the first sequence. It was because of how the text and puzzle portions of the game’s narrative interfaced that I found it captivating.

  8. The tinny music drove me and immediately text-heavy opening drove me away on my first try, but I’m glad I returned to it. Regarding 23’s doubt about the utility of the puzzles, I would say that they succeed in providing something tangible for the player to hold on to; they are straightforward but evoke the reality of the characters’ situation very effectively. Returning us to the branch selection screen upon reaching a conclusion is also a very good idea. Now there’s no way I’m not clearing all these endings : )

    A bit more polish on the presentation side would make it a real winner I think!

  9. This is really cool. I kind of wish there had been some sort of final stage that required a very skillful execution of the puzzle mechanics, as some sort of final test. The narrative as written may not really support that, and it may go against the author’s intended pacing, but I kind of wanted a chance to really explore the greatest possibilities of the system.

  10. liked the idea of this quite a bit – the pacing from scene to scene was a bit slow – spent a bit more time than I’d like waiting for things to fade out. the ending, I’m also not totally sure I loved it. also the music didn’t do much for me. the dramatic elements didn’t do it for me too much either (the endless choruses of “save them, don’t save me” got a little monotonous)

    after getting to the first ending, with no hint of the real idea behind the game (I saved the arsonist), and find myself being told to get to the other endings, I was miffed (the pacing between levels was a bit slow for me, didn’t fancy the prospect of sitting through all those cutscenes again (not anticipating the “skip” button) ), but I’m happy I stuck with it.

    I enjoyed working out the basic mechanics, and even though the puzzles weren’t difficult, they were still meaningful.

    HOWEVER, I basically like the game, and found it super cool, and look forward to what else they’ll get up to in future 🙂

  11. My attention usually fails to last me till the end of a game, but this was a cool diversion. Got me excited about making my own games, too.

  12. This is amazing

  13. This just won the Got Game? HTML5 competition. Congratulations!

  14. This was really great. Not the first game I play with such a story concept but I *love* this “genre” and this is a great example of it. Adding the puzzle game on top was a clever twist.
    I’m not sure making it harder in the final stages is even possible, but it would push the gaming aspect even further.

    • I should add that I really enjoyed the music. When the game started, threw me in the situation and the tense music started playing, I was hooked.