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9

Live Free Play Hard: Buried Alive And Loving It

these lingering violations

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Therapeutic living burial. Adorable cat simulator. The ancient sport of gun-hopping.

notes from the casketgirl by sloane

Locks you in a coffin with the thoughts of casketgirl, a professional bury-people-aliver. Claustrophobic, creepy, erotic, just a sentence or so per page, sentences like precious breaths of air, like faint glints of light disappearing as dirt hits the roof of the coffin. Trapped with the sound of your own heartbeat (the sound is truly excellent).

For casketgirl, coffins are a tool for knowing yourself, a form of therapy or transcendence. They become fetishized objects where luxury details, frivolous when housing an insensate corpse, becoming sensual enhancements to a living occupant.

I collected some tweets Sloane made here that really communicate her style. Her art isn’t “about what you want, only about what i want to give you…too many answers and explanations in stories give you narrative milkteeth…throw out something raw and sinewy to latch onto, make your readers grow fangs…life is guesswork and approximations and filling in the blanks and i like that in my stories”.

Notes from the casketgirl gets stuck in your teeth, because there is little we find more unsettling than these lingering violations of the human sensory apparatus, trapping a living human being in an unbearable position, like, oh, say, being buried alive. Horror isn’t death, horror is everything that happens before death.

The voluntary aspect makes it even worse (better). How gruesome to willingly submit to, even crave, a process that mutilates ones mind and body. Although, the clients seem to vary from voluntary to involuntary, depending on her whim. The starved writing has me asking more questions than it’ll ever answer (shades of The Golden Egg), creating a truly unsettling piece of horror.

The Sun Does Not Exist by Da Neel

“Small strange adventure game”, driving through the desert with characters ripped from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, cruelly spontaneous and completely unpredictable. I like the penis shaped door, it’s a good shape for a door.

A Purr Tale by Matias Selzer

CW: Suicide.

I’m a cat. I’m hopping and meowing around this apartment. The jumping has a bit of drop to it, I think? The fall is quicker than the lift, making a nice catlike leap (disclaimer: I’ve never been a cat…yet).

It’s adorable and heartbreaking that I can meow at things, that’s what cats do, they kind of prowl around our human lives with all the joy and pain and nuzzle at our hands and transcend the bullshit. This disconnect between human sadness and feline simplicity is at the heart of A Purr Tale.

Rain by Jord Farrell

A lovely low-poly forest in the sky full of chatty tessellated creatures. I can find them by their floating text, visible through trees at a great distance, the visual equivalent of hearing voices.

The generous jumping allows me to leap across the treetops. I wish I could reach the pretty clouds. Jumping off the edge of the sky-island gave me a moment of…what’s happening next?

[SPOILERS] Ooh, you fall right back onto the forest. The dream won’t let me go. Seems like no way out except choosing to exit, like one of the characters hints at. A book where the last page leads to the first, a song that loops indefinitely. This feeling plays out in the structure of the forest–it’s hard to map in your mind, it lends itself to wandering.

Gunfighters by 茶ねずみ

Two player game. A mix of dueling + hopping + capture the flag.

You can win in two ways: shooting the other player or reaching the flag in the center.

Shooting is incredibly fast and immediate. Unless they’re in the middle of a hop animation or ducking down, they will die.

Hopping to the center and touching the flag also kills the other player.

The catch is, you only have about ten bullets, and you need to reload after five. Since the winner is the first to win five rounds, failing to ration your bullets can leave you exposed. So you have this very quick, effective way of winning governed by limited resources, and you have this slow, awkward way of winning that requires no resources but time. Which means total mindgame, where your gambits and opening moves have such dramatic range that reading the other person becomes essential. Are they going to shoot right away, or will they go for the flag, trying to waste my ammo, or go for the flag, faking me out halfway through and shooting me?

FOC/US by Felix Park, Adam Lederer

FOC/US doesn’t leave the tiny room it starts in, but I don’t need to. My goal is finding teeny people invisible to the naked eye with the zoom function of a camera lens. They’re small enough that the spots on my filthy monitor threw me off. I love the use of perspective to contain so much within a single room. Everything is already there, you just need to know where to look.

The micro-people feel like manifestations of problems from the same mind, anthropomorphized thoughts that fell away like brain-lint and got stuck here and there. Thoughts are the debris of the brain after all, the endless noise that means nothing. These entities are embodied thought loops repeating forever, sad little homunculi.

The music is great, very cinematic. Soft contemplative synth pads with occasional groans of something deep and brooding, a stirring sort of tranquility. It matches the room: a cozy place hiding dark thoughts.

Cabin Shed by spudoogle

This feels like if Heaven were a giant sink? This walled-in water zone full of surreal characters that vaguely resemble pans and balloons and god knows what. I have a baby spinning in my chest. That’s the kind of person I am. I’m not sure if the baby is captive or if the baby is controlling me. Maybe I am the baby.

I like the pastel colors and little secrets, and how the critters are almost legible as real things. Cabin Shed is an abstract exploratory zone where the shapes constantly approach and depart legibility, slipping off my eyeballs just as I think they’re gaining semiotic purchase.

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