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(based on 16 ratings)
About the Story
kind of like Dampe the gravedigger meets Harvest Moon meets Ligotti.
Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: May 31, 2014
Current Version: 1
Development System: Twine
Referenced in A Study in Porpentine, by chintokkong
The Process Genre in Videogames: Skulljhabit
Skulljhabit begins with players arriving in Skull Village, near Igedihet. We have apparently moved for a job. This job is apparently shoveling skulls. The utility of these skulls, and the reason why they are piled into a massive hill and need to be shoveled down into a pit, is never clarified. This isn’t that sort of game.
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Truth is Fragmentary, Skulljhabit, a braindump, and this place that is no place
In her liner notes for Skulljhabit, Porpentine mentions the superstition angle, the formation of habits without knowing the efficacy of those habits—crazy person behavior. (I spend about 70% of my time feeling like a crazy person, so believe me.) The randomness of the game mechanics—whether or not one follows any habit at all—turns the world of Skulljhabit into a waiting room (filled with skulls).
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Number of Reviews: 2
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The setting is fantastic (and mentioning Ligotti in the blurb is a sure way to catch my attention). The story moves forward in tiny, inching steps, constantly having to pause for a rest, and at first even large apparently "game-changing" moves (Spoiler - click to show)simply don't. After a certain point (Spoiler - click to show)the locale does in fact change, showing that the cycle of grim work can be broken, but there's always another cycle to get trapped in beyond the first cycle; maybe shoveling skulls forever isn't the worst job in the world after all.
(This didn't work quite right for me with firefox--after about 2/3 of the way through the links stopped working. It was fine with safari, though. I don't know why. It is definitely worth finding a browser that lets you see the whole thing.)
No idea what Dampe the gravedigger is, but "Harvest Moon meets Ligotti" means I had to play this one. (Used Firefox, but unlike the other reviewer had no issues with links.)
Thoughts: Lovely setting with classic Porpentine weirdness. Similar structure to With Those We Love Alive, possible shared setting based on mentions of the Skull Empire, wouldn't be surprised if they share a codebase. Been ages since I've played With Those We Love Alive, but both games have the same bed-to-bed structure where you wake up, work, wander around, and go back to sleep, in a fascinating alien world that becomes less fascinating as you wear out its excitements. Then it's only mundane. Depressing, even. Repetition turns it all into mindless drudgery.
Skulljhabit is like that, (Spoiler - click to show)and when you run out of things to do your only recourse is to leave. You end up in another town, with another job not so different from the first. The more things change the more they stay the same.
The ending was anticlimactic, but in a fitting way. This game is full of anticlimax and hints at greater revelations that never actually happen. There are recurring dreams and mysterious books that don't add up to anything. Not sure if there are multiple endings, but I feel like there aren't, and that smidgen of grandeur is all you get. A strange and melancholy story.
Playtime: around 35 min
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