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ECTOCOMP 2023 games archive
Contains The Dying of the Light.gblorb
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The Dying of the Light

by Amanda Walker profile


Web Site

(based on 8 ratings)
3 reviews

About the Story

Do not go gentle. Rage, rage.

Content Warnings: This game is about dementia and violent psychosis.

Game Details


3rd Place, La Petite Mort - English - ECTOCOMP 2023

Winner, Outstanding Short Game of 2023 - The 2023 IFDB Awards

28th Place, Best in Show - The IF Short Games Showcase 2023


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Number of Reviews: 3
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Deeply moving game with deeply flawed implementation, November 24, 2023
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

This game is based on the emotional true story of the author's mother having deep dementia, causing her to lash out at those around her.

I can't even imagine what that would be like. When I was young, I lived with my great-grandmother in her 90s who had dementia, but she was rarely violent, just forgetful, sometimes thinking she was a little girl, and only occasionally lashing out. I remember it being scary as a kid, but she seemed nice. Now, as an adult, thinking of that for my parents, and much more violent, is terrifying.

As a game, the mechanics are simple. You explore the world around you, which is hostile, and you try to get rid of that which is causing you pain.

I immediately came in planning on giving a score of 5 just from the opening scenes, and despite the typos and the difficulty with implementation, I thought of keeping it there. But I had more and more problems interacting with the game; many commands repeat text that doesn't make sense; many commands return nothing at all, especially when the darkness covers the door. I tried to find a guide, but everyone's comments only talked about the story, so I had to decompile it to find what to do.

In a way, the difficulties with typing commands can simulate the frustration and unfamiliarity of dementia, but I don't think it was intentional.

Storywise, of course the game deserves a really high rating, but this author is of such a high caliber I think that she would prefer a rating that reflects the whole experience (but feel free to message me if I'm wrong, author!). I think this game could be helpful to others in the future who have similar experiences, and smoothing out a couple of the bugs could enhance their experience.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
It hurts. But what else can you do?, November 6, 2023
by manonamora
Related reviews: ectocomp

This was quite a difficult parser to play, not much because it is a parser (and those are usually difficult for me), but more so because of the subject of the game. It is about dementia. But more so, it is about experiencing advance dementia.

Honestly, I think not being good with parsers makes the experience all the more compelling and heartbreaking. It helped me, at least, understand the game better, through my frustration, through my fighting the needed commands. Like the PC, I felt like I did not have control over what I was doing, what I wanted to do was wrong (error messages), and what I managed to do brought hurt. I felt like I didn't understand what I was supposed to do next, what I could expect after doing something, or couldn't remember what word to use. [Type hint at any point, see what you want/need to do]

You know there is a fork on the table, but you can't use the word fork here, it's a pointy thing you can grab and stab other with, because this is the only thing that makes sense to you right now. You know there is a TV in the corner, but you don't remember what it was called or its purpose, and you don't understand what the shrilled noise are saying, and it's confusing you, and you want it to just stop! What can you even do?

This confusion and frustration felt throughout the game does just work narratively and interactively. The game manages to capture the psychosis in a way I've never seen before: it is real, it is raw, and it hurts.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Heartbreakingly effective, November 5, 2023

This game hurts, but in the best way--capturing a little slice of what it's like to be someone else, in this case someone experiencing psychosis brought on by advanced dementia. You don't understand where you are or why you're here or what's happening around you; what else can you do but lash out? Knowing the author's personal experience with the subject (read the author's note, linked on the Itch page) only made it all the more heartbreaking. A very well crafted game, especially given that it was made in only four hours.

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The Dying of the Light on IFDB

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