Symbol (lilith)


When I was around 8 I was fixated on experimenting with glitches in Ocarina of Time- all the beta screenshots and GeoCities pages showing images of debug menus and random crud that got left in the ROM furthered this idea I had that all these things were still there, but just outside reach. It extended beyond Ocarina of Time, though, and soon I started thinking about all the other games I played and what was hiding there, and even began making maps of imaginary “debug areas” that I invented for games like Bomberman 64 and Quest. At the peak of all this I was having dreams about similar themes, and one of my favorites was about some supposed “beta” version of Big Boo’s Mansion where it was just a big dead field with unfinished houses littering the grounds. I was looking for a book but this big round ghost-thing just kept following me. It didn’t really do anything beyond that- always just watching. The imagery of that dream has stuck with me and although I don’t remember a huge amount other than a few details and a general aesthetic, it’s been enough to inspire strange feelings about darkness. This game isn’t just based on that dream, but is instead a mixture of places and feelings that go well with the general idea in my mind.ย [Author’s description]

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  1. (Oh, I just played this 30 minutes ago and was thinking of suggesting one of you should take a look, in case you’d somehow missed it.)

    I find this so compelling. I love how Robocop has this strange prominent place in the Lilith-games psyche. I love how the fry cook groans at you. I’ve played twice, the first time ending shortly after picking up a book, the second time looking over my shoulder the whole time in case the first’s ending was from a timer and not from player action. (This time I found and used the key.)

    I think what I appreciate most from this is that feeling that you’ve been placed into a world that has rules — maybe even customs — but even in feeling out what those systems are there’s this illusion, at least, of an always-receding ur-system, a dream logic you’re never going to fully have access to but which nonetheless feels tangible and gooey.

    I was about to stop there, but remembered that the E.T. homage from a few days ago was also by Lilith. E.T.’s Atari game is slagged upon from all sides these days, but as a four or five year old it gave off some of that same feeling. I’m sure I didn’t understand the systems at play, but as a kid that young — and with the technology so new — you just assumed that the grownups knew what they were doing. As an adult it’s maybe trickier to trigger that feeling; the game has to do a bit more work to demonstrate its self-confidence.

    (In this case, I think the groaning fry-cook plays a role in that, but above all else it’s how you see the nighttime road through the window and at that point realize you’re in a diner at the edge of nowhere. Without that road going off in both directions you’d simply be nowhere; the road suggests the world of people and families and puppies might be just 20 miles away. Drive straight: you can’t miss it.)

  2. I found all the symbols and fell into the red pit. I faund the key and used it and get caought by those figures. I find book but get cought by that face.. is there any other way or proper end to this great game?

    • when playing lilith’s games I always imagine that there are always some secret endings or paths triggered by an improbable set of actions: collecting all the masks in a particular order; taking the book and making it over to where the face-pearl is in the building opposite without getting caught; interacting with the burger flipper exactly 128 times and then unlocking the door; &c.

      Part of this is probably osmosed from the way that lilith talks about being fascinated by OoT glitches (above) – something that I still find marvellous when I watch speedruns today – and the presence of cerain iconic symbols (like Mew in Crypt Worlds). Part of this probably comes from the environments themselves – the huge open worlds which suggest that continued exploration and investigation will yield fruit; also the strange patterns and logic of the game-world artifacts (like the paintings) which suggest something “just outside reach”.

      Anyway this game is pretty rad

  3. i think this might be my favourite Lilith work yet. very powerful somehow, hard to explain exactly why.

  4. The plants filling the landscape are powerful to me. The way they turn slightly as you move your view up and down gives an uneasy feeling. Most goosebump-giving is hitting the invisible debug box, and seeing the fields continue on further than is visible, and seeming to creep up on, but never actually touching, the straight road.

  5. This is a lot like Tape Dream, but bigger. Love it. Feels very much like inhabiting the author’s dreams. Three endings, I believe.

  6. I’ve worked in a place rather like BURG before, and I sympathize greatly with that moan.

  7. It’s really funny how I assumed collecting all the masks would lead to something good happening. I mean, it took the most effort, so it must be the most rewarding, right? ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

    Spooky afterthoughts: What does the player character look like? Why is the moon so close to the surface? And who owns the pickup truck? ๐Ÿ˜•

  8. I love your games, man. So ugly,funky and sick; I couldn’t get enough of Crypt Worlds. Keep on being the best person on earth, please. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

  9. Love the diner. Like Crypt Worlds and a lot of Lilith games the hyper-sensitive fps looks make me nauseous, but damn I love them.

  10. I love this game so much and Tape Dream.