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Half-Half-Half-Half-Half-Elves: TinyHack

I'm naming my first child Pixel, just fyi

So there I am, playing dungeon crawling browser game Legends of Yore on the request of a couple of RPS fans, and I’m thinking to myself- “This isn’t very interesting, is it? I’m a bit bored. I wonder if the IndieGames Blog has a dungeon crawling browser game with a little more to it?”

Of course it does. Say hello to TinyHack. An entire, tiny, randomised RPG played on a field of 9×9 pixels.
Sure, Legends of Yore cradled my attention like you would a sleeping baby for some twenty minutes, and I was done with TinyHack in five minutes, but I left the latter feeling rewarded and fascinated.

It has almost no telegraphing at all, yet if you’ve been playing games for a while then you’ll know to attack monsters until your health is eroded, you’ll know that you need items, and that you’ll want to travel the world map. It’s just obvious.

I found myself trying to imagine what my playing of TinyHack would look like to a non-gamer. It would look like I was fluent in some bizarre language of coloured blocks. Which I am- which we all are, of course. But it’s lovely to be reminded of the fact that all that time spent playing games has built in us a reserve of strange logic that we can barely describe but acts like a key to unlock these imaginary worlds. What I’m saying here is that an indie browser game affected me on a philosophical level and it wasn’t even an arthouse game about death or lonliness. Good job, TinyHack. The rest of you, go play!

Alternatively, if you’re in the mood for something a little less experimental that’ll soak up loads of time and that you’ll be able to play on your work computer, have a nose at Legends of Yore. For what it is, it’s quite well done.

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Quintin Smith

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