Dance for me my little puppet


Today I will review small, obscure action adventure game made by Ben ‘Yahtzee’ Croshaw (well known in certain circles) with simple title, 1213. This is name of main protagonist, by the way. You can get it here.

You wake up in room. Filthy clothes, medical mask, blood stains, memory problems and perpetual headache. Looks like bad day. And it is about to get worse. After tutorial mode daily training course with overseeing sadist called Westbury you are left with pistolet and opened door. Why? How? Who knows?

Whole game is divided in three parts, telling tale of brain-damaged victim of… whatever happened to him. Poor bastard explores huge base in platformer fashion, recalling old days of classic platformers like Prince of Persia, only less dynamic. Justified, as main hero is not in top physical or mental shape. Levels are in state of partial discountinuity – killed enemies respawns when you enter room again (in one place it was used to make nasty trap). 1213 often have hallucinations, sometime making it hard to distinguish reality from his delusions. This does not make anything easier, of course.

General theme is grimdark. To not spoil, let’s just say there are very good reasons for state of base and protagonist, not to mention mental state of his tormentor Westbury. Game is not that hard, however boss battles can be draining. Best is second battle. You will know why, when you get there.

Now reflecting back, I do not know why I liked this game. I just liked it, despite simple graphics and sound. It is not anything particularly awesome, just a fine way to waste few hours of your life, if you in mood for short, dark SF tale.

“…and when I see the blood, I will poss over you, and the plague will not destroy you.”

– Exodus 12:13


“We don’t need brains where we’re going.”

Behold most stupid shows of idiocy known to mankind… until next time, of course.

See also other entries with Xlet tag, like Horrolets, Erolets or Troublelets. Additionally, they are updated with new entires when new Xlet goes online.


Technology implies belligerence.

First Contact.

One of the most popular tropes of science fiction. We had everything: benevolent aliens (either powerful or being at human mercy), malevolent enemies attacking Earth, for some strange reason always losing horribly, rarely indifferent ones. And my favourite kind: aliens that are, well, alien. In all meanings of this word, both physically and mentally. Stories featuring them are hardest to write, but also most interesting.

Blindsight (Peter Watts) is one of them and I dare to say it is one of the best, even if science already marched on. We are not sure what is deal all the way to very end of story. Even human crew can cause you perplexions – are they really humans? Genetically modded, mentally augumented, minds warped in unexpected directions, with vampire at steer, whatever they represent, they are humanity ambassadors. Main protagonist himself is ironical – emotionless half-brain (literally) that never fail to see all in other people – intermediate between us and half-AIs or overgrown brains-in-vats.

In story there are many themes and more or less dubious scientific claims, that nevertheless are thought-provoking. Is this alien ship (that does not look like any classic SF ship, by the way) and its crew really ship with real crew? Are you really only rubber-stamping bureaucrat in frontal lobe? Are current (beginning of 21st century) psychologists and psychiatrists was – are – little more than modern shamans prescibing mind equivalent of bloodleting? How to contact and understand aliens that see danger, take offense, readies to fight hearing phrase “I come in peace” already at first word?