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Cyberpet Graveyard is Nathalie Lawhead's latest digital concoction

Cyberpet Dungeon_header

At first I chose to completely ignore the cyberpet graveyard in Cyberpet Graveyard. I started walking down a country road instead, saying hi to the people I met along the way. One of them looked like this. ☜(˚∆˚)☞

In Nathalie Lawhead’s words, Cyberpet Graveyard is “a collection of strange, goofy, software that you discover by rummaging around in folders”. She’s calling it a “little treat-myself-project” after EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OK, though it’s not just herself she’s treating. She released it yesterday, and you can pay what you want (nothing, if you like) to visit.

Thank goodness I didn’t stop when I saw the skeleton warning.

I met those ascii villagers by clicking on the “country road” folder on my computer, then opening the .jpg files it contained. Later on, I accidentally woke up a bat celebrity who flitted about my screen while lecturing me about etiquette in a robotic voice. I met many more strange and wonderful things, but I’ve undermined the joy of enough discoveries already.

Lawhead wrote a blog post to accompany the release, explaining what she was going for. I’m tempted to suggest you just go exploring without reading it, but this bit starts off interesting and winds up useful:

“I like this because it’s kind of unrelated applications all with their own personality. They inhabit this series of folders. It’s interesting for how it treats software as a ‘character’, and works with a structure that you’re used to (folders).

“It does have a story you can find. If you interact with some of the cyberpets (in the actual graveyard), they’ll slowly hand you cries for help, or other things, where you piece together what might have happened, and led to their creation.”

It would be remiss of me to not share this, too – “tip: after you run a dancing skeleton app, paste into a text editor. You get a (very poorly formatted) ascii skeleton.”

She also mentions two collaborations she’ll be working on in the near future: “one will be a “game” where you challenge a certain food item” that’s “built around experimental music”, while “the other is about escaping and almost an interesting commentary on agency.”

After those, Lawson says she’ll be making her dating game:

“I wanted to get more distance between myself and ‘Everything is going to be OK’ before getting into that one, because that one will also be very personal, honest, open, and vulnerable… basically, a commentary on dating, love, and relationships, placed in a cute interactive cartoon world.

“I think a good thing I learned, if you REALLY put yourself out there, and share way too many personal things in your art and kinda get shit/attacked for it… You do need distance between projects.”

Cyberpet Graveyard is a lovely little thing to cross some of that distance. It’s surreal and funny and charming and you should download it from Itch or Game Jolt.

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Matt Cox

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Matt is the founding member of RPS's youth contingent. He's played more games of Dota than you've had hot dinners.

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