The Lake

An ultra-minimalist rowing adventure. Indiegames blog pointed me to The Lake (5mb). There’s really not much to it, and the passive pixel art really gives away very little. All you do is row, but I nonetheless wish I woke up to a similar micro-game every day. Creator Agj describes the inspiration for it as “like a waking dream”. Takes about five minutes to get through, so have a go before moving to the comments.


  1. Andy says:

    Mmm that was quite interesting. I rowed around and saw a princess, then a pony, so I tried to get into the middle bit, rowed under a cloud and then that was it.

    Is rowed a word?

  2. Alec Meer says:

    That is a pretty thing. Also: like Track & Field with more introspection.

  3. Fede says:

    Nice. I expect to see lots of interesting things like this from the TIGSource Commonplace Book competition :)

  4. cliffski says:

    What you people are doing is sculling. Not rowing. rowing involves you having just one oar, which is like Roman galleons. Sculling involves a pair of sculls, which look like oars, but are often curved at the ends.
    Everyone tends to call it rowing, but it isn’t :P
    Cliff, the ex-boatbuilder.

  5. mrrobsa says:

    Thanks cliff, knowledge rules! :D

  6. Carey says:

    This makes me sad. I like rowing sculling (good fact Cliff) for reals (sometimes with undisclosed RPS members) and this just makes me want to do that.

  7. Ian says:

    “Scull, Scull, Scull Your Boat” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

    Unless of course that’s actually about rowing.

  8. Anonymous says:


    Also, we need more things like this. Stuff to touch those parts of the mind that don’t normally get any action. Even if it’s brief and gentle. I’m down with anything from the ‘recurring dream’ catalogue.

  9. Velvet Fist, Iron Glove says:

    It’s rowing. It can also be described as sculling. Sculling can also describe propulsion of a boat with a single oar, though in a different way than rowing.

    Words have more than single meanings, Cliffski. Get used to it.

  10. Bobsy says:

    The more you know!

  11. Del Boy says:

    Ah, so now we know why Cliff is so interested in piracy.

    Get it? Eh?…

  12. James Brophy says:

    Em, is there a game here? Rowed around a bit fount a bit I couldn’t get past when into the center, met a person in a water ring and saw a big blue sphere, none of which reacted to me in any way.

    So, where is the game?

  13. DBeaver says:

    This is beautiful. With minimalist graphics and simple sound, it created the perfect atmosphere! It is more something of a picture, than a game. Going into the cloud, I totally knew what was going to happen, though… the whole thing felt like Cthulhu mythos from the voice-over. I hope to see more games like this!

  14. The Hammer says:

    @Del Boy: Bah!

    Well, I was gonna play this, but then it told me I needed to install the latest version of DirectX. It handily gave me a link to the Windows site.

    But it appears that the Windows online installer is broken/completely and utterly naff.

  15. fishmitten says:

    @The Hammer: I’m having the same problem here. Seems kind of daft to invest more time in getting it to work than I will playing it though, so I will give it a miss.

    Oh well.

  16. Jeremy says:

    I third the previous couple comments. I’m drunk and wanted to row around til I saw a pony. What a disappointment I got the Windows download center link instead.


  17. terry says:

    The ms dx9 installer is screwy for me too, so I got the redist from softpedia, which works.

    The game is neat, as far as it goes. Love the graphics.

  18. beetleboy says:

    at first I disappeared in the mist, but on my 2nd time around rowing, I looked away for a moment, then found myself inexplicably out in the black nothingness. Creepy.

    link to

  19. Scandalon says:

    I too first had the DirectX issue – had to download the redistributible (80 megs) then was able to launch it.

    As everyone else says, the intro is great, then I stat there turning back and forth. Had to read a forum to tell me I had to actually tap both keys at one time to row/scull. Now…what ending? Pony? What? I rowed around, couldn’t get through/passed the buoy thingys, saw a girl (?) and…rowed some more. I realize it’s not a game, but the author did say it was like a short story…but shouldn’t there be an ending?!?

  20. beetleboy says:

    there is an ending, just keep at it..

  21. Presagio says:

    It sorts of reminded me a screensaver that would go around for a whole year (with special events here and there). “Johnny Castaway” it was?

    Well, it would if I had actually tried it back then in the Win 95-98 era. I think you had to purchase it. Perhaps I should hunt it and see if can make it works for XP.

    On the other hand, it’s a shame that games such as TES: Morrowind (not fan of Oblivion) or any wide world RPG don’t convey the same sensation of adventure/sense of anticipation of what random fantasy stuff you will find next crossing that paceful pond, or behind that hill almost engulfed by clouds under the faint rays of dawn. Or something like that.

  22. drewski says:

    I found a Direct X installer elsewhere on the web (ha, Microsoft) and spent 20 minutes downloading and installing an 85mb app to play a 5mb game…then promptly got stuck inside the roped off area with the mermaid and so had to restart.

    So far this isn’t very fun…

  23. lalahsghost says:

    @The Hammer: @fishmitten: Do what Scandalon did. I had to do it too, before I saw his very wise suggestions~

  24. Adam T says:

    Oh man, that was sweet! At first it was a little slow, but after I found the store and figured out how to upgrade my boat things started to pick up. You have to catch A LOT of freakin toads to afford the POSIDON MK IX, but the carnage I dished out on the next merman attack was totally worth it.


  25. Scull 'n Bones says:

    I like it, its relaxing. Though, I would much prefer to be doing that in the flesh (Oh, how I miss camping).

  26. tom servo says:

    thanks for the link, really enjoyed it. one of the best lovecraft games out there.

  27. Pantsman says:

    I suffer from Vista, and haven’t had any luck getting this to run. The “August 2008” DirectX updater app fails to download the update every time, and the redist is for 9.0, so I’m not sure if it would work – and even if it did, I don’t know what directory to install it in. Can anyone help?

  28. enquiring minds says:

    peaceful atmosphere hurt a bit by the frantic controls