Angelic Torture In Free Game Dämmerung

An attack is imminent, informants say. The eight suspects bound before you are active members of the North militia, you’re told, and you have authority to get information out of them any way you please. It urges you to be brutal, though, building from spitting and slapping to mutilation and murder. You’ve got to save the world, after all. Dämmerung [official site] is out now for free.

It’s not the first grotesque torture game I’ve played, but its eerie heavenly tone really stands out.

Our land has creamy hills, impossibly vast passages, soft light, and an unseen angelic chorus. It’s unsettling, and that’s even before the torture begins. Our suspects are seen as unmoving, inhuman mesh figures with black boxes floating before their eyes, babbling prayers and wailing about ancient gods and kingdoms. Their deaths are gruesome and pointless – acid, rats, drowning, and worse – though they’re only presented in text.

I suspect it always ends the same way, desperate and sickening, but I’ve only played once and would rather not revisit it as what I saw felt right. It’s a curious one. I’d say more, but go in fresh.

Playing it reminded me a little of Photobomb with its dehumanising investigations and executions. Do play that too if you missed it – Photobomb’s a very clever puzzler about tracking bombing suspects by recreating photos in virtual scenes before executing one suspect.

11 Comments

  1. stonetoes says:

    No thanks, these ticking time-bomb scenarios disgust me too much.

    “The object of torture is torture.” – George Orwell

    Of course maybe that’s the point of the game but I don’t particularly feel like playing it to find out.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Yes, I’d be wary of the message being taken as “we have to do what we must to stop these attacks” rather than “torture is bad and ineffective” or better, “torture is bad even if it’s effective, which it isn’t”. Again, haven’t played this so can’t comment on how it’s handled here.

      • Alice O'Connor says:

        Dämmerung’s torture is grotesque, cruel, spiteful, and – as it played out for me, at least – didn’t save anyone. It doesn’t seem at all pro-torture.

        • Haborym says:

          Your choices don’t seem to make any real difference whatsoever, so I would hazard a guess and say that success is not possible.

      • Distec says:

        Haven’t had the opportunity to play either, but from the look here it doesn’t seem like it’s trying to make any kind of political statement about torture. Just… “here it is”. It can be an affecting experience just because you’re grappling with committing horrid things to virtual dolls.

        Not all games have a message or less to take away from them, or at least not ones as overt as what you suggest.

        • Admiral Snackbar says:

          I played the game and it’s clearly anti-torture. The message is pretty overt. It’s only ten minutes. Feel free to give it a shot and see for yourself.

  2. Dataflashsabot says:

    Aww, the Linux build is a lie- it’s a mislabelled OSX build. And the Windows build doesn’t run under WINE.

  3. Necrourgist says:

    I think the only thing, that can change my current mental state of “Fu.. this world and fu.. this life and fu.. humanity” would be to witness someone dying of unnatural causes first hand…A few years back i may have denied, that games have desentized me. Today, though, i embrace this state of mind, this darkened world-view of mine. A torture game? Where i can torture? Am i supposed to be…shocked? In awe? Am i suppose to curdle into a ball and weep? I don’t know what i am supposed to feel…Well, now i actually want to torture someone!

    • frightlever says:

      I never bought the theory that the media environment has no impact on how much violence you have in society. I don’t think violent games, TV, music or movies significantly push people into becoming more violence, but they must raise the background level such that some people on the cusp of using violence may be pushed over. Still, just one minor factor and if America has taught us anything it’s that wealth inequality and ready access to firearms has a far greater effect than watching Breaking Bad or Homeland.

  4. Natdaprat says:

    This was a very peculiar game, if you can call it a game. There is no gore, only an action and a description. I don’t know what the creator wanted to portray, but it felt profound. You play as an interrogator for some mystery government, they refer to the suspect as ‘it’, but the figures are all clearly men. It gives you the illusion of choice but everything ends the same way.

    It took me 10 minutes to complete, and I played it again.

    • MrUnimport says:

      The illusion of choice is a lot easier to give than actual choice.