If you tell me your weird take on a free idle game is about 40 minutes long, I'm going to pay attention. I may not have places to go or people to see, but I do have a lot of stuff to do (like the mandatory watching of videos about correct neutral chair posture at work). Then your browser game turns out to be a strange, sort of post-apocalypse thing about music, dancing and weird rural traditions - and harvesting a lot of corn - and I will be crouched on my chair, slavering like a little cider-swilling urchin, for the entirity of those 40 minutes.
Such a creature am I for Peter Talisman: Lord Of The Harvest, a game that fills your screen with a huge field of gently swaying corn.
You, clicking experimentally, find you can cut this corn, one plant at a time, and eventually discover a strange standing stone. Once you touch it, it plays music. You are compelled to keep cutting corn, and find more stones.
This is the idle-ish bit of the game: you hire peasants and donkeys using the grain you have collected, and outfit them with better shoes, larger bags to carry more grain before they have to retun to the silo, and so on. In this way, you can increase your grain harvesting capability.
But this is not the real game in Lord Of The Harvest. You can buy a beacon to control the direction of your harvesters, or you can just have them work outwards from the centre of your farm (I think the latter is better), but either way you will start to uncover the edges of chalk drawings, under the whispering plants. You find artefacts from a previous world. Each new standing stone you reach unlocks a new song, and it sends soundwaves through the grain. You also meet people at the stones, all of them the sort of thing you'd hear in an old story: Jessica Ovaltine, whose husband stole a chicken and thinks he's a lord.
It's the detail I love. The antlike scurrying of your workers. The music is a mix of delicate acoustic guitars, and, as time goes on, more and more sudden mechanical crunches or electronic stylophone screams. The chalk drawings put natural images of seasonal cycles and animals next to... the unexpected. The very specific but odd names of chapters. It only got properly weird for me when I zoomed in and realised what 'donkeys' actually were. When is this happening? Where? To who??
Peter Talisman is the sort of game that makes me think of so many other things. The Wicker Man. The giant White Horse on the hills where I'm from. The Ritual Of The Moon. Terry Pratchett. My first year film module at uni. Winamp custom skins. Getting hammered at the Summer Solstice in Avebury and being offered ketamine by a woman carrying a baby in a sling and wearing huge goat horns. Bread.
Very good, more please. Embark on your own quest to hear the music of the stones here.