Distraint Is A Horror Game About The Property Market

In Distraint [official site], you will play the role of an ambitious man tasked with reclaiming the home of an elderly woman. It’s an everyday horror story that sits neatly alongside the laments of friends and strangers trapped in the grinding churn of the property market. ‘Home’ is a temporary idea, built on hard rock that accepts no roots.

Rather than presenting the horror of eviction at face value, Distraint explores the psychological toll of inhumane acts. Regret, guilt and scabby elephants await.

Maybe the elephant represents arrears or debt collection agencies. Whatever the case, Distraint seems like a good starting point for the build-up to HorrorWeen. Everyone knows that October is goth month and I’m hoping to celebrate that fact by finding at least one spooky game a day to write about between now and the 31st.

Distraint will be available on the 21st, ten days before the most frightening day of the year. It’s coming to Steam and is the creation of Jesse Makkonen, developer of last year’s Silence of the Sleep, which I somehow missed at the time of release.

Makkonen is referring to Distraint as a speed project, having spent just 77 days working on it. On the website he also informs the world that he listened to bands with names like Leprous and Caligula’s Horse while coding and writing.

On the subject of the famous historical equine, Incitatus, it’s worth nothing that many of the tales associated with him, including his political titles, are probably fabrications. Fast forward a couple of centuries and people will reckon David Cameron’s Cabinet was made up entirely of pigs’ heads called Boris and Toff, and that they’d all been students at the Bullingdon Academy while Jeremy Corbyn’s beard was leading the glorious miners’ rebellion.

Nick Clegg will have become a synonym for mildew.


  1. plugav says:

    GOTH MONTH!!! Let’s hold hands in a circle and summon the ghost of Kieron Gillen.

    • plugav says:

      And when it comes to Incitatus, it’s also possible that Caligula meant to imply his horse was smarter than his senators and, ironically, no one got the joke.

  2. XxBrentos9xX says:

    There seems to be quite a lot of games recently that address some sort of mental disorders. Wonder why that is? I know devs can have some pretty crappy work moments but it makes me feel like all coders are extremely depressed. Hope it helps those people though…

    • Robstafarian says:

      I suspect that the cause of the trend is related to why you find these games exceptional. To wit: consider how odd you might find the question “Why have there been so many games about shooting people lately?”

    • JFS says:

      Might have to do with the world going somewhat downhill for a few years now.

    • Geewhizbatman says:

      Well, I’m not sure using visuals to present the moral dilemma of evicting the elderly onto the streets to presumably die in misery is really much about mental illness. True, most people don’t have body horror hallucinations from those questions but perhaps if they did different decisions would get made. I’m not sure that these questions and their resulting unpleasant feelings can be qualified as disorder.

      Still, I understand the point. I think that the use of darker imagery and less than upbeat mental standpoints is because the further we get away from the idea that gaming is simply for children, or a need to force some ideal of wholesomeness onto gamers, the easier it is for creators to explore the less than ideal aspects of life.

      On the actual note of mental disorders and their exploration in games, I’m personally thrilled that it is a topic of discussion. I think it’s unfair to assume that a storyteller is experiencing aspects of something they portray. The reality that mental disorders are prevalent and deserve more conversation is important though. Not every designer is depressed or has some other mental disorder–but there’s probably a good bet that they are either related to, or know, someone who either is or has been affected by such things. I can’t see a much better thing to explore when it has that kind of universal interest.