Proteus composer’s Oikospiel is a strange and delightful dog opera

What would happen if dogs tried to make a video game? Find out in Oikospiel Book I [official site], which is out today and one of the most surprising and delightful games I’ve played in yonks. It’s the work of David Kanaga, who’s mostly known for his music on games like Proteus and Panoramical but apparently is some sort of wizard. It’s surreal, it’s clever, it’s funny, it sounds great, it’s scrappy, it’s so confident, it’s, ah, come on, I’ll explain.

Oikospiel (or Oik OS, or just ‘dog opera’ to your mates) is the story of a studio of dogs (with an office in a shipping container) hired to adapt the winding novel Tristram Shandy into a computer opera. It’s the story of its troubled development, it’s snippets of allegory, it’s… endlessly surprising. Scenes and stories and form and function roll together and across each other, glitches become solutions, and, ah, here look, this trailer will explain everything:

Get it? Got it? Good.

NO TAKEBACKSIES! You’ll have to play if you need any clarification.

We showed Oik OS at a Wild Rumpus last year, in a mock-up dog office, and I was so happy watching people stumble in and discover all these strange things.

Oik OS is pay-what-you-want on Itch for Windows and Mac. How much is a fair price? Hit the game’s website, input some basic financial information, then, if you’d like a discount, waggle your mouse to turn a turbine to generate power and sell it to the dogs. Which is the best way a game price has ever been decided.

[Disclosure: I know David Kanaga a bit through The Wild Rumpus. I once ‘brunched’ with him and the Rumpus rabble but, to be clear, brunch can do one. Hey, all you cool ‘brunchers’, wake up at a reasonable hour and eat breakfast instead. You’re not ‘wild’ or ‘rock and roll’ for drinking cocktails with your lazy meal. NEVER QUEUE TO EAT BREAKFAST AT LUNCHTIME.]


  1. Rizlar says:

    This sounds absolutely barking and the graphics are a bit of a dog’s dinner but it’s got great pedigree. Colour me intrigued (or don’t cos dogs are colourblind).

    • ZippyLemon says:

      We have to keep these RPS commenters on a tighter leash; I’m chasing my own tail trying to understand all the puns.

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        The amount of puns is manageable for now, since they’re not up to (ca)nine yet, but I’ll doggedly keep track of them like a German Shepherd.

  2. KingFunk says:

    I have to admit, at first I thought that method of determining a price was simply Alice’s customary wit, but no – it’s true…

  3. April March says:

    I have played Randy Balma: Municipal Abortionist. I have played Revenge of the Sunfish. I follow thecatamites. I thought I knew WTF. Alas, no! I do not. I stand now, humbled, before all of you. That trailer was if a veil was taken from my eyes, allowing me to glimpse at all the WTF I could not have hitherto imagined; I thought I was a master, but I was not even a dabbler.

  4. gummybearsliveonthemoon says:

    Whoa. A surrealist game referencing Tristram Shandy?


  5. Skandranon says:

    Hey, I got it for free.

    That’s…a bit depressing, actually.