External Links

Spring Thing 2024 page
Play online or download story file.

Have you played this game?

You can rate this game, record that you've played it, or put it on your wish list after you log in.

Playlists and Wishlists

RSS Feeds

New member reviews
Updates to external links
All updates to this page

A Simple Happening

by Leon Lin


(based on 3 ratings)
1 review

About the Story

As a samurai, you have been condemned to die by your own hand. Can you escape your fate?

Game Details


Entrant, Main Festival - Spring Thing 2024


- View the most common tags (What's a tag?)

(Log in to add your own tags)
Tags you added are shown below with checkmarks. To remove one of your tags, simply un-check it.

Enter new tags here (use commas to separate tags):

Member Reviews

5 star:
4 star:
3 star:
2 star:
1 star:
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 1
Write a review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Spring Thing 2024: A Simple Happening, April 5, 2024
by Kastel
Related reviews: st2024

A samurai parser game is bound to raise some questions for me: will it be authentic to the historical figures, or will it play on the popular image of honorable brutes serving lords they dislike? The answer is clearly the latter, but that doesn't necessarily mean the Orientalist premise makes it a foregone conclusion.

The protagonist is a samurai who has offended his lord and is sentenced to seppuku, the ritual act of honorable suicide. His lord is watching and Koji is waiting to behead him as soon as the ritual blade touches his flesh. This is all very stereotypical: after eating the mackerel and drinking sake, the player can compose random haiku as his last words. I found all of this a bit silly.

But the game gets interesting when the presentation breaks down. (Spoiler - click to show)The player character realizes he wants to live and the game finally starts as an action-packed title. There are no puzzles, but there are intense descriptions that disorient the player as they try to find a way out of the section. There are fights in the game that remind me, for better or for worse, of the combat in Zork 1, but they are there to enhance the hectic nature of the game.

As for the ending, the game jokes that it's a play on another work, but I'm reminded of the movie The Green Knight: (Spoiler - click to show)both works are set in medieval times, deal with dream sequences of a dishonorable life, and inextricably link duty with figuring out a good death. Compared to the movie, this game falls short in fleshing out that connection, and that was something I was looking forward to.

The game also doesn't question the roles of samurais and lords. The characters seem to behave more like concepts and archetypes than actual people within a system. For a game that revolves around the samurai code, it doesn't seem interested in exploring the theme, and the ending feels rather abrupt due to this approach.

Still, I found this game exciting and enjoyable to play past the seppuku scene. I've always found parser games interesting when they delve into the language of action movies. The intensity of the prose there, the claustrophobia the player feels as he guides the samurai, and the sequence of events are all impeccable, and it's something I wish the game did more of.

A Simple Happening is a short, tight game with a good mix of set pieces and decent writing. I wasn't particularly thrilled with the standard samurai movie setting, but everything else is pretty neat. I thought the core mechanics were pretty solid, and I wished there was a deeper interrogation of how honor and samurais work because I think the subject is actually more fascinating than the game lets on.

Was this review helpful to you?   Yes   No   Remove vote  
More Options

 | Add a comment 

This is version 1 of this page, edited by JTN on 1 April 2024 at 2:03pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page