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PatrickCoilCoil is a game unlike any other; it may confuse you, it may offend you, or it might mystify and move you. It is the latest from Edmund McMillen and Florian Himsl, the duo whose previous collaboration brought us a game called Triachnid.

The authors suggest carrying an open mind with you as you adventure within their creation, discovering for yourself the artistic expression they have conceived. Once you have played through the experience it offers, come back, read what we have here and discuss your conception of the game in the comments.

If you wish to know more, Coil is a short series of mini-games involving the gestation of what appears to be an alien fetus, from initial insemination through adulthood when a murky twilight leaves its fate in question and the cycle starts anew. The text between chapters is equally vague, like detached poetry that gives clues as to how to play, and yet it also suggests a possibly darker subtext to why the impregnation happened in the first place.

The game perhaps gives an idea of what this alien primal consciousness might be like, and it tells this story through exquisite art work and tight programming. Like other games from Komix, Coil features a distinctly illustrative look coupled with unusual mechanics, but he takes that kind of experimentation further, much further. If you aren't put off by its non-traditional interaction or it's chilling implications, you may have the first really meaningful game experience of this year.

Gameplay generally involves moving the mouse in circles, as clued by the initial title screen, with some exceptions. That's all I can really say without ruining the exploration. Sometimes an experience generates only strong positive or negative responses, nothing in between. And maybe that's a sign of real art, not good or bad, just distinct.

PsychotronicPsychotronic - My first instinct was to approach writing about Coil from the perspective of an art review, which suggests this is no ordinary Flash game. I thought about how the technical choices might contribute to the game's meaning and/or emotional weight; such as the the indirect means of control paired with the fluidity of movement. How it combines recognizable biological features with more fantastical elements to keep the player balanced between instinct and curiosity. Where it plays on familiar video game language and where it breaks expectations. How the gameplay ambiguities force the player to pay closer attention to the poetry, looking for clues as to how the next level is played. There is much here worthy of discussion. But most of all, I'd like to urge people to play it before they read the whole review, and then offer up their thoughts in the comments.

JessJess - Coil is a little bit like a David Lynch film to me; depending how you see it, either drenched with meaning and implication or an ultimately empty exercise in smoke and mirrors. I haven't personally decided yet which side I fall onto. A few things are certain, however; the game is thoughtful, aesthetically pleasing and sure to ignite debate. And whatever else I or anyone else may feel about Coil, that conversation-provoking quality is invaluable.

A word of caution: this isn't necessarily one for the kids. ...Or is it?

Play Coil

Walkthrough Guide


(Please allow page to fully load for spoiler tags to be functional.)

Walkthrough!

to get past story screens

circle mouse same direction as background circle

level 1

move mouse back and forth, find egg, enter egg by moving mouse back and forth to penetrate it

level 2

click mouse to splay circles apart, proceed when the 3 colors are seperated.

level 3

the umbilical chord follows the mouse. Use it to guide the food balls to the zygote.

level 4

the bottom panel controls the top. Left pink thing rotates one way, right pink thing rotates the other way, bottom yellow thing moves forewards. Use the trailing tentacles to gather food.

level 5

combat of sorts. use the mouse to point towards the enemy. unsure of victory conditions, but this will eventually meet them.

level 6

Use the mouse to rotate the zygote. Unsure how to win, but keep it above the water and keep trying until it happens.

Ta-daa! You're finished.

Only thing that offended me about this game was when I heard that they made this instead of Tri-achnid 2. /exaggeration

172 Comments

Someone who is more open-minded please help, I'm stuck on level two. (Okay, I'm the one enjoying David Lynch movies without too much thinking.)
Nice graphics.
And: I'm the first to leave comment YAY!!!

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ShounenAI February 4, 2008 3:10 AM

I just got the solution to level 2 XD

Divide the 3 colors into their groups using your mouse! XD

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Second part:

You need to separate the circles

Gallia est omnis divisa...

Separate the circles into three blobs; one of each color.

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lovely. was it just me or was the writing at the very bottom (at the end) obscured by the black tentacly stuff?

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ShounenAI February 4, 2008 3:18 AM

Level 3 would have you:

Rolling downwards avoiding the tadpole and jellyfish like things. The tadpoles keep bumping you upwards, as well as the jellyfish.

To remedy this:

Use rotation to deflect incoming spermies. Make circular motions with your mouse which will make the zygote-thingy roll downwards

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I'm stuck. I'm on the level where

the two fetuses in the jellyfish are swimming along an orange background. I sort of control one, and occasionally arrows appear. There is a white circle (egg?) What do I do???

Other than getting stuck, so far it's an interesting fun little amusement. Graphics are good. Text could use some help -- it's a little full of itself.

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never mind... I figured it out (sort of)

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hmm.. the most annoying level in the game was level 3. Got really angry at those tadpole-thingys. Other than that nice game - a little short perhaps.

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Walkthrough!

to get past story screens

circle mouse same direction as background circle

level 1

move mouse back and forth, find egg, enter egg by moving mouse back and forth to penetrate it

level 2

click mouse to splay circles apart, proceed when the 3 colors are seperated.

level 3

the umbilical chord follows the mouse. Use it to guide the food balls to the zygote.

level 4

the bottom panel controls the top. Left pink thing rotates one way, right pink thing rotates the other way, bottom yellow thing moves forewards. Use the trailing tentacles to gather food.

level 5

combat of sorts. use the mouse to point towards the enemy. unsure of victory conditions, but this will eventually meet them.

level 6

Use the mouse to rotate the zygote. Unsure how to win, but keep it above the water and keep trying until it happens.

Ta-daa! You're finished.

Only thing that offended me about this game was when I heard that they made this instead of Tri-achnid 2. /exaggeration

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Deepsleeper February 4, 2008 7:57 AM

Oh my god. That was the creepiest thing I think I've EVER played. I'm never having kids for ANY REASON.

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Too short I feel, but a nice abstract experiment into an alternative to the mouse click.

The narrative was rather disturbing.

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interesting. i enjoy seeing "games" like this posted here. it's short and weird, but interesting nonetheless. the music was excellent and conveyed the mood well. the text didn't really tell a story (or if it did, it told a story that can't be understood without already knowing the story beforehand) but it too effectively conveyed a certain mood or "feeling" to the player. or at least to me. i dunno about anyone else.
i approve. i like it.

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anonymous February 4, 2008 9:59 AM

man, this game is to hard, i cannot beat level 2 becouse the cells keep going to the middle, even if i click them how can i seperate them?

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TheAdmiral Author Profile Page February 4, 2008 10:00 AM

I'm very curious about the narrative. At face value, it tells an interesting story. No one's really spoken of it plainly, so I don't know if it would be a spoiler to talk about it. However, I can't help but think there's more to it than we're seeing. The obscured text at the end especially. There is no defined goal, but, perhaps we're doing something wrong? Perhaps if we play differently, the story is revealed?

Other than that, the story that it would be most obvious to assume doesn't fully fit somehow, and I'm intrigued by what exactly is "The Coil?"

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i can't even speak about this as a game. the interaction between the text was just to tide you over until the next bit of the story was revealed. this moved me in a way few things can...it was quite personal in so many ways. excellent worked, i had tears in my eyes.

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Dyslexic Q-Thief Author Profile Page February 4, 2008 10:32 AM

I found it to be more frustrating than interesting. Having (A) a bizarre control scheme and (B) not actually telling the player about it is not fun. At the very least they could have made the messages automatically move on to the next part.

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This isn't fun at all, it's just frustrating.

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So what I don't understand from the conversation or from attempting to play is whether it is just really slow or the controls are completely arbitrary.

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They seem more like stages than "levels" to me. Now that was creepy, not just because it gave close-ups of fetal growth.

The game never really shows how the thing came to find its way inside her either. Since they didn't leave anything conclusive, that means it might not just be "an alien".

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I've decided the answer is "arbitrary". In several levels, doing nothing was just as (or more) effective than doing something. Which leads me to wonder if this was a game or just slightly interactive art (which I really like!).

Jess, I would come down on the side of NOT one for the kids. Some of it is pretty provocative, and

the story seems to me to be about a rape

but I'm sure there will be other opinions as well!

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yea, it is certainly a strange game, but the art is very good.

I had some trouble on stage 3 where you had to get the zygote down to the seafloor but eventually figured it out.

Also, to the authors of the game, when the heck is Tri-Achnid 2 going to be out?? I thought it was going to be released last year, but at least we now know that you are going to be working on Tri-Achnid 2.

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how do you beat level 5?

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For those having trouble with reading the final text:

If you wait long enough, the squirming black mass shifts out of the way enough to let you read a bit at a time. The text itself just trails off with...

"He pressed his cheek against her cheek he pressed his cheek..."

...which really doesn't help the obscurity much!

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I'm sorry, but this is a horrible game. It prides itself in being completely useless when it comes to controls. I have yet not been able to get past stage 3, because I always get notched back up to the surface by those green things, and the featus almost never responds to anything I do with my mouse, and when it does respond, it's completely random.

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i've gotten rid of the other things that pop up in 5, but don't know what to do now

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well if you move your mouse erratically or too fast it won't spin very well, I found that if you do it in small circles it works ok.

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final text essentially says: "from here there is nothing, just as it was before"

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Eh. The gameplay alternates between trivial and frustrating, and the story is depressing. At a couple times I wanted to like this game, but after finishing it, I don't think it's worth the bother.

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Perhaps the helplessness and frustration is built in to add information to the storyline.

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Yeah, I'm not a fan of this one either. I got to the flying orange arrow-shooting part before giving up. I don't mind games that let you figure things out for yourself, but I played that stage for about ten minutes with absolutely no indication of whether I was making any progress or not.

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Frustration as a FEATURE?!? This is the worst game I've ever played. As stated before, it prides itself on making you feel like an absolute idiot. The author could have saved a lot of time and just written "You are a worthless waste of a human being and should kill yourself." all over a webpage.

The controls on the 3rd level are more or less completely unresponsive. Spinning my cursor around the fetus does virtually nothing and when I do start to fall I'm almost immediately pushed back to the very beginning by those stupid green things.

You know, I could make a bowel movement onto the floor and *someone* would call it art. It obviously isn't though. Same thing with this game. All I got from this was "I'm incredibly pretentious and nobody understands my pain. Wawawa. *cuts self*"

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I'm sort of on the fence. I kind of get it, but I kind of don't.

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This reminds me of a French game called "Evolution". It was posted a nordinho.net.
My favorite part of Coil is level 3.
I have a question. Has anyone finished the game, been taken back to the beginning level, and tried to play it again? When I tried to play it again, my sperm didn't have a head and when it went into the egg, the tail of the sperm stuck out straight and the nucleus of the egg started to divide and stopped. Is this a new level with a way to solve it or is it a bug?

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Meh... pretentious pseudo-game with wonky mechanics. Good to see stuff like this on the site, but I'm with Jess: this game was like the second season of Twin Peaks with less giants and more tentacles.

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Bleugh. The controls were terrible. It would be much better if you could effectively DO something without going a completely different direction half the time.

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It seems to take ages to load each game for me and stay on the story

is there a way to skip to the actual game?

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As Patrick mentions in the review, most interactions involve moving the mouse in circles, like a coil. To get to the next game, after reading the text, just move the mouse in circles.

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Anyone else having difficulty loading this game? I got to the sperm/egg screen once, but since then have not managed to get the game to load.

JDB

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I didn't understand what the last two levels were about, what you were supposed to accomplish, or even how the controls worked. I loved the music and the style, but in the end the game is creepy, vaguely disturbing, and confusing.

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I rather like this one - first time to comment on jayisgames.com at all, but this one is very unique and deserves a comment.

It doesn't make great game play. I think you have to be looking for something *other* than a game to play when you approach this one. I don't know that I'd call it interactive art so much as a new breed of fiction.

I agree it does come across more like a story about a rape, and about the baby that was produced by that rape. BTW - I thought of that myself whilst playing, but was not the first to say so here, so I give full credit to the idea to the person above who came up with it previously.

It intrigues me because the story puts you in the perspective of the woman and her fetus, both trying to survive a bad situation. Now, I admit I may be wrong, but it comes across that way to me, and I think that it works on a non-game playing level much better than as a strict game. I think it works better as the image of powerlessness and the struggle to survive, and in that sense invites the reader (player) to become a character in the story.

And I think the last stage signified the death of the baby, probably through still-birth or miscarriage.

Just saying that as a game it stinks, but it has a lot of potential if it's worked out into something more, something less like a game and more like fiction.

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hollyrr33 Author Profile Page February 4, 2008 5:24 PM

I had to load the game 3 times before it worked for me.

Warning: PHILOSOPHICAL SPECULATION ALERT
It reminds me of a one act play I once saw. The premise of the play is three fetuses talking in the womb. One of them doesn't believe in 'life after birth' while another thinks after birth all pain and suffering will end. It's a metephor for all the contemplation we have on the afterlife. Despite all the conjecture we make on it we can't possibly comprehend what will happen after death as much as a fetus can't comprehend what will happen outside of the womb (or maybe how we can't possibly remember back that far).

Maybe this game is totally different and I'm looking for meanings that aren't there. It comes off as a bit pretentious (and the controls take a while to get the hang of) but that was my take.

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Holly--do you remember the name of the play? I'm looking for something new to direct and am not familiar with that one.

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Having played it several times now, I finaly got the meaning of story.

And it seems, however depressing it may seem to some, that this is a fact.

(...)

While writing this comment I read some of what others written.

Come on, people. You can do better. You think it's some sort of emo tripe just because we are served white letters on the black background, but it's NOT.

Don't forget that throughout the story HE means TIME and if you don't get the part about others being taken in:

I believe (strongly) that theese are habits we took after others. We (people) do that, you must have noticed.

I read a comment saying how the point was to show the author's pain etc.
Pain? It's about LIFE and life is not a pain. Even if technical details differ from our beliefs it's our life we're given and there's nothing depressing about it if you look at it this way.

Sorry if I seemed too rude at times. Perhaps I was. But I enjoyed this as both game and a poem (though you can't have one without the other in this case) and as soon as I decided it must be one of the best works I've seen recently I take a look at angry and emotional comments, so I had to leave one of my own.

See you on Casual Collective,
Cheers.

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I like your perspectives, Drondh.

And coil can mean life's struggles, as in mortal coil.

Now we're talking. :)

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Although I hate to bash people like this, this "game" really does weed out those who have more deep, intellectual and philosophical methods of thought as opposed to the unfortunate standard person we have today. It really does bug me when people are so quick to criticize something for the sole reason that they themselves can't comprehend it. </rant>

Ok, now on to the actual game. I personally felt the story it told was quite vivid and each part of the game held some sort of deep philosophical meaning. Even the method of advancing the text could be held to reference the grand cyclicality (Yes, I just made up that word. No, I am not going to fix it.) of life in general. The beginning text references to the pain and suffering with which we come into this world. The level itself could refer to the way we all seem to wander aimlessly towards our goals in life, without truly understanding how. I could go on and on, but I think I'll spare you the droning (as well as the text wall, lol).

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It struck me that the orange stage was some sort of mating, as hearts came out when arrows hit, and that the last stage was it laying eggs into the sea to restart the cycle.

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TheAdmiral Author Profile Page February 4, 2008 7:59 PM

I see a lot of people interpretting the story in interesting ways, but, a lot of fallen prey to an interesting phenomena. The concept of a rape has such gravity that it pulls to the mind it immediately and does not let go. However, this is never explicitly stated within the game. Nor is "she" really ever explained. Perhaps "she" is not the parent at all, but the nascent daughter? Think about the text and how it pertains to step by step. It works on a cellular level too. I've considered the "him" to be as well as possibly being a rapist or dysfunctional lover, to be the father to the daughter, or in some aspect, perhaps even the male sex cell to the female sex cell. The stages we see do not follow human biology, which is curious, and perhaps detaches us enough to make us wonder without actually coming to any firm conclusions. The dark obscurity at the end may be lifted by some act in game, or it may simply be the fading of vision. Though, for whoever pointed out what it might say, I suspect I saw "dream" to the right on that line.

I encourage others to consider other relationships and meanings beyond what we are initially drawn to. I keep probing different avenues of thought, but ultimately, something is always out of place and disrupts that line. The meaning may be as complex and imperceptible a coil as you can get. Meaning wound in meaning, but, the mind doesn't take well to thinking in the same direction, down the same curve, down the same path. And for some coils, you'll simply come out on the other side.

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I think "pretentious" is the weakest criticism you can offer for a piece of art. Either you get something out of it or you don't, but to accuse the artist of pretentiousness for trying to share something with you is pretty ungrateful. I mean, by all means, discuss why it does or doesn't work for you, and suggest how it could have been better. But calling it "pretentious" is like saying nothing.

We're on a much better track when we're talking about what Coil means, not about whether it has a right to mean anything at all.

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Since she was so busted that she had the baby, maybe It's
ALIEN! Like... THE ALIEN! As in ... Vs. Predator-type alien!

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I love the stuff that followed the first post I made and am impressed by the other ideas that people got! I admit that I was taken into the rape idea originally, and when I saw someone had posted before me with the same general idea, I thought I'd hit on it, but I love that there's more, that people have expanded and seen different perspectives.

I hadn't thought of "he" and "time" being the same person, and I like the idea that "she" is the embryo. Very clever interpretation. I think there are more interpretations out there that we can discover, with a little patience and some imagination. Personally, I plan to play it a few more times to see what else I can come up with.

I encourage everyone out there to please keep an open mind as the authors asked, and please keep those wonderful interpretations coming. The more varied and diverse our opinions, the more we can puzzle it out together, and the more we put into it, the more we get out of it.

Bravo to the authors for this intense and interesting bit of fiction/art/gaming intrigue.

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mkelican - do we shallow, simple-minded, and fact-oriented "standard" people at least get points for wanting to like it?

(PS, no offense taken, but I wanted to point out that just because this sort of thing is not one's cup of tea doesn't make that person a simpleton)

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Dyslexic Q-Thief Author Profile Page February 4, 2008 9:17 PM

>It really does bug me when people are so quick to criticize something for the sole reason that they themselves can't comprehend it. </rant>

I'd hate to start an argument, but this really caught my eye. I have played it not once, not twice, but three times. There's more of a reason for my dislike than just "I can't comprehend it".

I tried it not once, but three times. Now, I should mention two things: One, I have a high sensitivity to brightness, and I have to wear sunglasses indoors on a low brightness monitor to avoid a serious headache. Two, I use Linux and Firefox, and every once in a long while Flash lags a lot.

So, I start it up for the first time. I see the spiny circle of the main menu, and figure out I need to circle it. However, the circle of the message is too dark for me to see. In fact, I'm even assuming that there is one from the other comments. I clicked and waved at it for a few minutes, but nothing happened. Eventually, I triggered the the next scene, where Flash appeared to be lagging (it was actually the control scheme), which made it even worse. I then randomly bumped into the egg, and the next messages stopped me.

I then decided to give it another chance, after reading the comments. With the help of the walkthrough, I got up to scene two. After stirring the cells for another few minutes, I thought to myself "What is the point of this?" and closed it again.

But then the rape theory was posted, and I thought "That's disturbing, and if it is true this would actually be a good game/art thing". So once again I opened it up, and I even fought through scene two and three. But scene four ended it for me, as I couldn't see the "food" I was supposed to collect. And then and there I gave up on it for the last time, as I am not going to give myself a major headache for a game that I had not had fun with and would be highly unlikely to give any further fun, of which the sole reason of playing it further would be the artistic value it may or may not actually have.

Now, the question comes, is it the designer's fault that I cannot play it? I say yes. They didn't need to make a game with a almost all black color scheme. They could have gone with a ghostly white scheme, or a shades-of-blood-red one. Or at the very least increase the contrast between the shades.

Furthermore, is it the designer's fault that the control scheme is frustrating? I say yes as well. If the rape camp is right, and this choice is deliberate, there are other ways to create the feeling of frustration than making inane controls. They could have made a huge labyrinth without a map. Or a large number of enemies. The entry right after this one, A Company of Seagulls is frustrating, yet it's playable.

Is there a way to make a game like this without it having this game's flaws? Yes. Passage has no instructions beyond the controls. It also is about life. However, even a non-gamer could play Passage. Not so in this game.

This game is trying to be many things. It tries to be a game without instructions, a game with a bizarre control scheme, a game with a disturbing atmosphere, and a game that is art. All of those ideas could make a good game, but together, and for me, at least, the result is a unplayable and meaningless game. Others are free to have their own opinion.

P.S.: I was under the impression that it is a game about reincarnation, and that "she" is losing her memories as she becomes a baby once more.

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I assumed the story was about both the other and the child being conceived in the first chunk of narrative. It's a cycle, in which you finish and start over at the beginning. It seems to me that each passage was carefully crafted so you could read it both ways.

As for the rape thing: initially I thought it was an act of rape as well. But later stages made me question this. There is a "him" she repeatedly longs for. Is it the "him" from the first passage, or someone else? (Assuming you're reading from the mother's perspective.) I think that it would be a valid interpretation to assume it was consensual.

I'm not sure how I feel about the work overall. The gameplay was far too frustrating for a work of interactive art, in my opinion. I can understand the motivation for letting the player figure out the controls (life is that way, after all), but the level of difficulty once you do so should be doable. Chances are the person playing a game like this is motivated to do so because they want to see the art unfold, not because they expect super-challenging gameplay that might tempt them to give up before the end.

Was it meant to have some deep meaning, or is it just, as Jess said, smoke and mirrors? Well, you can read something into it, whether it was meant to be there or not. Good enough for me.

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Y'know, it seems like an interesting game, but after the second time on the third level (where you're falling and you have to spin to avoid/deflect the spermy things) where after about 5 minutes of play I just got carried up and up and up on a wave of spermy things despite whirling my mouse around fast enough to make my wrist hurt -- I give up. The interface is way too sticky/unresponsive to make this worth playing for me; this wasn't the only level where I felt like my mouse movements weren't being registered as finely as they needed to be.

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I found the controls to be exceptional. I'm not making excuses for the sake of art, either. The controls in this game are really responsive and reliable. It's hard to figure out how some of the control schemes work, but once you've got it, they couldn't be better. I especially love the control in the first scene, since it's so appropriate to the character you're controlling. You waggle back and forth. It's very intuitive.

In fact, I never had a single moment's frustration while playing Coil. Seriously. I somehow trusted that there would be a reliable control method in each level, and I just experimented with it until I found it. I think Coil demands a higher level of attention than most Flash games, but the notion that it's frustrating on purpose is way off base, I think. You're essentially getting a new body in each chapter of the story. It's only natural that you'd have to take a moment to learn how to use it.

I'm starting to think that the frustration some people are having is due to Flash issues, rather than the implementation of the controls. The game seems to run slowly on a lot of computers, and it could probably be optimized much better.

I don't think that's a flaw in the game, however. Some things need to be experienced the way they were intended, like movies that need to be seen on a big screen. There's always going to be a trade-off between accessibility and the artist's original intent.

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I couldn't agree with Psychotronic more...
The controls seemed completely natural and while i did have to look at a walkthrough twice just to see if i was doing it right (and i was, just not trying hard enough) but it didn't take that long. level three seemed the easiest for me, so i don't know.

this was a beautiful game that i wish there was more of on the web.

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Ok i know i'm stupid now.

WHERE'S THE START BUTTON!!??

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When a game provokes everyone to write very big paragraphs , it succeeds.
So did Coil.

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Nevermind you just

move the mouse in a counter-clockwise (left) circle

.

Pretty nice, creepy, disturbing, odd game. I like it!!!

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This post has a lot of disjointed replies in it:

Psychotronic

I'm sorry if my word choice offended you. I did find meaning in it but I also felt talked down to. I think pretentious is a valid critique, as a linguistic student (I'm not saying that to BE pretentious just to clarify my point of view) I think those who have a message shouldn't hide it in obscure language when those language forms aren't necessary to maintain the message. This is a philosophical piece, but when anyone uses such multi-layered language my tendancy is always to wonder if the metaphores are truely meaningful or just being used to obscure an actual lack of content.

Your comment back to me strikes me as more rude than my critique, or at least than my critique was meant to be.

Just because it is meaningful to one person doesn't mean anyone who doesn't find it meaningful is simple-minded or shallow.

I didn't find the HIM as TIME reference but more so some reference to the outside or a person on the outside? I didn't get the rape aspect though.

dsrtrosy
The one act is called "deliver us not" it is an amazing and funny work. I think it is part of a larger play but it's the only part I saw.

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hollyrr33:

My reply was not to you. Three people so far have called the piece pretentious, and even if it's not how you intended it, the word is usually used dismissively. As though there's something inherently wrong with trying to express something and not quite getting there.

But I mostly agree with you about the text. I find it a little too ambiguous, and definitely too wordy. I'd rather the developers had found more ways to express some of these concepts through the gameplay, or at least cleaned up the poetry a bit. I think if the text were taken out entirely, it would still be an interesting game, and maybe even a better one.

But I don't think the writing is muddled because they're deliberately trying to be obscure. I think it's mostly because English isn't their first language, and they just don't have a mastery of the nuances that would make it more precise.

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creativeentropy Author Profile Page February 5, 2008 1:02 AM

Personally, I loved this not as a 'game' but as an interactive poem. The way I see it, if something can generate this much of an emotional response and a controversy from so many people (especially in so short a period of time) then it deserves to be called art. Creating such a response is actually a very difficult feat and I am all the more impressed the creators of this game were able to produce such a discussion despite the fact that many of the people responding probably did not even realize that the 'game' was intended to be artistic when they began playing (at least I didn't).
I think that the difficulty of the controls actually added to the artistic value of the game. Although the controls were actually incredibly simple once you knew them, the lack of instructions forced you to experiment in much the same way as a newborn learning how to walk (or in this case flagellate).

I also admit that it was a bit frustrating to realize after several minutes that the game wasn't loading, it was just waiting for me to circle my mouse.


I also interpreted the life-cycle of the being in a very different way than everyone else.
Stage 3:

I interpreted those 'tadpole' thing to actually be other sperm who were attracted to me because they were looking for an unfertilized egg.

Stage 4/5:

Is it just me or isn't that food which you're gathering actually the same species as you at a younger stage of development.

Stage 6:

You're not shooting arrows at the other creatures, you're shooting sperm. But you're also being shot at which would mean that your actually hermaphroditic (this is how barnacles mate too).

Stage 7:

You shoot your eggs off in all directions and then you die.

And as for the written sections:

Try rereading them from the perspective of the creature at that stage of development. For example, the early ones which everyone has been interpreting as rape, I saw as simply fertilization from the ova's perspective. Also, while you're reading them, try to keep in mind that you're a short-lived, cannibalistic, hermaphroditic amphibious plankton like alien and so you have a slightly different perspective on life then we do as humans.

Of course, that's just my opinion and I'd love to hear what you all think about it.

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hollyrr33 Author Profile Page February 5, 2008 1:19 AM

Psychotronic
Sorry about the misunderstanding. I guess because of proximity I assumed you were replying to me. Thanks for the clarification.

creativeentropy
I had totally been assuming a relation to human gestation. Barnacles huh? I like that.

I sat at the first stage thinking it was still loading for quite a while too; long enough that it froze and I had to reload the page.

I still wish the language wern't so obscure.

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You know, after playing it again, I've totally changed my mind. I think the poem was probably written separately, and the gameplay sections were spliced in-between, sort of as a metaphorical interpretation of the text. So part of what makes it interesting is that it's two different pieces of art (three, if you count the music) shoved together. Maybe a little awkwardly. Two different points of view on similar themes. At the least, I think it's an interesting experiment.

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Well, I'd love to debate the philosophical merits of the game, but the technical merits of the game rather detract from that. Every time I've tried to play it, the game fails to load.

"Loading might take some time" indeed.

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Jeremy, how far are you getting? Does it at least show you the loading screen?

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If the game isn't loading for you at Komix' page, try this link at Armor Games as an alternative:
http://armorgames.com/play/764/coil

The game is only 1.5MB, so it really shouldn't take too long to download.

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Maniacal1 February 5, 2008 3:08 AM

This person is in such a cycle of solitude, any attention is desired, from someone who has been watching her closely. The desire to be wanted, touched, yet under such tragic circumstances (rape?), her longing to be special, confounds her soul. She tries to take back her will, control over her own desires. She brings others for this person to see her. She doesn't need his/her attention, she can conjure her own. Every person that penetrates her, adds to the volume of her "self." She consumes them, as they consume her. Yet, is there something else that she truly desires? Yes. She sheds her strength. She enjoys her passivity. The realization of her innate longing to be violated again... if only to be touched once more by a dominant someone while she relinquishes control.

Its your basic Sado-Masochism year 1 story...

The birth represents this "rebirth" in her.

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"if something can generate this much of an emotional response and a controversy from so many people [...] then it deserves to be called art."

So Fred Phelps and his crew picketing Heath Ledger's funeral is artistic?

Personally, if something is done or made with the primary purpose of provoking a response rather than expressing some idea or message, I find that idiotic or pretentious or both. I'm willing to give Komix the benefit of the doubt here, because there did seem to be a genuine effort to express something, though I think just a little more clarity in message would have helped immensely.

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...and now I need to read it many more times.
I am no longer sure about my own interpretation, but the rape theory also leaves some questions unanswered.

Maybe both?

I had an exam today, so I'm not exactly the one to do any serious thinking at the moment, but I'll try to come up with a decent interpretation soon.

Cheers.

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Bleh. I don't think the purpose of art is to provoke discussion. There's enough discussion as it is, and most of it is just noise. It's a lot easier to throw dust into people's eyes so that they think they're missing something deep, than to actually clearly express something important.

As a game, I found it frustrating, because so many of the levels could be beaten by just doing nothing or else waving the mouse around wildly.

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help!!! can't beat level 2!!! help!!!

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Having recently read a rather different sort of scifi/horror book that is also fairly provocative at times, I feel I have a much different perspective on this game/story. Piers Anthony wrote a book called "Firefly" in which an amorphous blobbous creature is absorbing people. Eventually, one of the main characters is absorbed by the creature, which also absorbs the mind and characteristics of the person. The resultant creature/person was very interesting. It really was more of an anthropomorphic, rather than truly alien, viewpoint.

Because of experiencing this book, I felt that the vagueness of the story in this game caused it to be more like what a truly alien (or animal) story would be like if it were poorly translated into human terms.

As for the gameplay itself, I found it extremely easy. Maybe because I'm part button-masher, part experimenter, but always observant, I stumbled on the ways to control the game very quickly, much like finding your balance on a bike. It was slow at first, but quickly picked up. Each stage had a different goal in mind, and thus had a different method of achieving it, so the controls were a bit different each time. (Having read the reviews AFTER playing, I understand now why it was called Coil and there were constant visuals evoking circles and rotational movement.)

I think this was a great little "pilot" of a game and would LOVE to see something more "fleshed out", as it were. I got through this game in around 5 minutes of actual reading/gameplay, but would love to spend 20 minutes doing additional stages!

My only real criticism is that the textual stages didn't have any indicator of how long it would be before the next page loaded, so I was never sure when I could click to continue. If the slowness was NOT a result of the stages loading, however, then whatever the holdup was needs to be addressed.

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As far as I know, the stages don't load at all. You just move the mouse in a circle as soon as you're done reading the text, and the next stage will start. You can skip the text instantly, if you like. I think the confusion comes from the rotating arrow, which is sometimes used as an indicator that loading is taking place, usually from a CD. But in this case, it's trying to tell you what to do in order to move on. I don't think clicking the mouse does anything at all in this game.

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From a game point: I found the controls confusing, but once you know how it works it is second nature. Very nostalgic of areas.

From an art point: What I think the story telling is a rape from the point of an egg and a sperm. Very cool game.

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This is an example of the Grand Metaphor of passage through life, and so it will have many interpretations based on individual perspectives on life. I would like to give my interpretation of the text as it relates to the storyline of the gaming sequences.

Throughout the text, "he" is "that which causes her experience of life". Mostly, "he" is time, a transitional event, or her bodily functions.
Also throughout the text, her thoughts and feelings are her own perspective on her bodily functions, her instincts.
Level 1: All she has is existence as an egg, but that isn't good enough to journey through life, so she is fertilized. Note that there are many eggs around, and you can even watch as another sperm fertilizes one.
Level 2: Basic cellular organization of her bodily functions. This creates the "he" inside of her.
Level 3: We don't get to see her being born, we'll see this later. Her instincts are speaking for the first time. They say that her next phase is at the bottom of the ocean, far from the light. Note the tentacled creatures on their way up from the depths.
Level 4: Here we discover why there are so many eggs. She is first to the sea floor, and then eats others before they complete their journey. The eggs seem to be good food, because we see other creatures eating them too.
Level 5: Her organs have developed significantly at this point. You get a close up view and even control her movements by activating organs. She is now one of those tentacled creatures from Level 3, on her way out of the water. She still eats eggs, but don't be worried about that, as she will be later, because she actually has the desire to be consumed!
Level 6: We get to see where the sperms come from. (And she consumes them to grow? this is the part I don't get). This loving act must be important, as she can't think of anything else while it lasts.
Level 7: She is overwhelmed by the instincts of her life cycle, and just wise enough to be thoroughly confused by them. Her body is now full of eggs that must be released. She confuses them with the eggs she once ate and her opposite desire (release instead of consumption) ends up as the emotion of regret. All she does is lay her eggs in the ocean, but as her mind is forming a picture of reality at this point, she believes that she is trying in vein to correct earlier sins. She also doesn't remember that the cells long for death because her longing was replaced in Level 6 by lust.
Level 8 (non-playable): Unfortunately for her, she is near the end of her life and won't have the chance to make sense of her existence and forgive herself. All she can do is be scared that her attempt to correct her sins was a failure, even though she does regret very much, she's out of time. She's just learned to live, so she wants to live; she's just learned to judge, so she expects to be judged; and time is up.
Final Text: In what must be great relief, she recognizes this time as one of the transitions of life. She can go on her way, comforted that she gets to start over.
The growing fetus images in the game play no part in my interpretation. They must be hints at what this metaphor describes.

Hope that's not too long for you.

I learned something writing it, hope you learned something reading it!

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greenfourth February 5, 2008 3:40 PM

Am I the only one having problems at both the komix and the armor games site? Both just go through the armorgames logo, the logo with the creator's names and the loading splash. Then it just repeats.... maybe it's just bogged down from JIG traffic ;D


[Edit: Try making circles with the mouse over the game window. -Jay]

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I don't think this is about rape. As others have suggested, it's far too easy to fall into that rut.

What if it's a whole lot more symbolic than that?

What if "he" is death, or the end of life's cycle and the begin of a new?

"She" would, of course, be the player character.

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How in the world do you get pass stage 2. I have clicked and circled and moved my mouse until it almost came out and I CANNOT get pass!!!! This is really getting on my nerves and I really wanted to try this game beacuse stage 1 seemed so cool. Ah, oh well now the game is just annoying and the music is creeping me the heck out!!!

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Kelevra84 Author Profile Page February 5, 2008 8:02 PM

If David Cronenberg made a game, this would be it.

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However... communicating badly and then acting smug when you're misunderstood is not cleverness.
I liked some levels more than others. The flying-with-arrows one was just confusing, and could use a do-over - the same with the final stage.

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I loved this game on several levels

1. the story is descriptive enough for you to feel its emotion, but it's also just vague enough to leave you wanting more at the end

2. the game play, though short, was truly refreshing and unique. True, it took me a while to figure out a lot of the levels, but retrospectively that makes it all the more interesting

3. (this is more of an afterthought) just from reading all the comments here, it shows quite well how much we expect instruction-less casual games to be controlled by mouse clicks. more games should take advantage of the fact that we can do more than just moving and clicking with the mouse.

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Here's a definition of "coil" from Wikipedia that may clarify the name of the game and the nature of the story:
'Mortal coil is a poetic term that means the troubles of daily life and the strife and suffering of the world. It is used in the sense of a burden to be carried or abandoned, most famously in the phrase "shuffle[d] off this mortal coil" from Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Derived from 16th Century English, "coil" refers to tumults or troubles. Used idiomatically, the phrase means "the bustle and turmoil of this mortal life." "Coil" has an unusual etymological history. It was coined repeatedly; at one time people used it as a verb to mean "to cull," "to thrash," "to lay in rings or spirals," "to turn," "to mound hay" and "to stir." As a noun it has meant "a selection," "a spiral," "the breech of a gun," "a mound of hay", "a pen for hens", and "noisy disturbance, fuss, ado." '

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I think I have figured out this species from a biological point of view.

They're SLUGS!

Why you ask? Here

Level 1: Fertilized the same way we are (except they are laid as eggs)
Level 2: Join back together like that same way we do.
Level 3: Now at this stage this creature is I dentified as living in water.
Level 4: The first slug to hatch eats all the other eggs.
Level 5: Same idea, just that now you can move.
Level 6: When slugs decide to mate they shoot "Love darts" at each other, fertilizing the eggs inside of them (Yes slugs are hermphrodites)
Level 7: They then lay there eggs.

This of course doesn't count for the story.

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Slugs - now there's a unique idea, though I wasn't aware slugs had quite so many tentacles.

Texts, or at least as much as I can discern of them - these may encourage the discussions to be more specific, or at least not too wildly inaccurate
1:

When she awoke from the coil
Time didn't wait for her
it just watched her whimper
as it
crushed her
ego
cracking her
just enough
to reach inside

2:

He whispered
as she was divided
This will make you remember
That I'm a part of you
Each cell is marked by my name
You can't ever leave me
I'm all that you have

3:

When he released her
She could feel his wet hair run through her fingers
As she descended into the darkness
His face, distorted by their distance, faded into the night.
She was alone
Yet she could still feel him inside her
The feeling was comforting and familiar
But his presence scared her
She knew he was still there, watching her
Just out of the light
Waiting.

4:

She would find herself reaching out to others
Taking small pieces with her as mementos
These are the things she felt were important,
The things that made these people signifigant.
Every aspect of her being was composed of others.
Her arms grew stronger with each embrace
And lips grew fuller with every kiss.

5:

She would lead them to him
Watching as his hands reached
out to pull them away, their essence
consumed and nothing remained.
She would fantisize what it was like
To feel his hands on her body
Penetrating her and draining
Her into nothing

6:

But time did pass
They fell into one another at first glance,
Their fingers intertwined as they walked.
This wasn't what she was used to
But from here on things wouldn't be the same
And even though the longing lingered
For once in her life she forgot about him

7:

After the dust settled
And everyone had moved on
Once again she was alone
And she only had herself to blame
If she had just embraced her feelings when they called to her
Maybe she wouldn't have taken in so many
Of the things she later grew to hate
And maybe it was time to change
So she closed her eyes,
Pushing out every aspect of everyone she'd taken in
Back into a world she'd never asked to be a part of.

8:

She could feel him in the room with her
Her eyes darted around searching for movement
In the darkness frantic and confused
Her breathing became fast and shallow
As her eyes welled up with tears.
He was here, and there was nothing she could do to stop him.
She was scared
Scared of all the things she would be leaving
Scared of how she would be treated
Scared of what she had done

8 part 2:

As the room grew dim
She could feel his hand reach out for her
Touching her
In a way that was comforting and familiar
She was leaving
As he picked her up he pressed his cheek to hers.
"From here there is nothing, just as it was before
He pressed his cheek to hers he pressed his cheek

Don't ask me why there's no end quotation

Many of the explanations reveal most of the meanigs of these stanzas, but leave the rest completely out. In particular I have heard no explanations that include text segment 5 at all, unless you've decided they're just fading away with time, which still doesn't adequately explain it.

I think it's best to just remove the gameplay from the poem altogether, since the life-form you play and the life-form acting out the poem are two very different creatures, though they are acting in very similar ways.

Anyway, I look forward to further comments.

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AndrewBagel Author Profile Page February 6, 2008 5:01 PM

I really liked the concept, but i wished the game's controls would be as responsive as i would have liked. It's nice to see a game sparking a debate like this. Turns out the ratings widget didn't stop people from commenting then, Jay?

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No, I think you're right, AndrewBagel. I was a little concerned at first, thinking people would opt for the quick-and-easy route for leaving their impressions of a game. But I am very pleased with the discussion going on here.

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I like the idea of de-anthropomorphising (if that can be a word for my purposes today) the story by looking at the creature as a slug or a barnacle (or a "short-lived, cannibalistic, hermaphroditic amphibious plankton like alien", which is by far my favorite!). But I still think my initial idea was as valid as any of the others, and by no means "too easy".

Rape can be used to imply many different aspects of control--for example, let's say the "he" in the text is "time" as depicted above. If that is the case, "he" is a greedy, controlling figure of time that pulls "her" apart, penetrates and dominates her, and eventually brainwashes her into bringing others (her children?) to him to victimize. I think that makes a lot of sense. IMHO.

I am loving that this has sparked so much interesting conversation and, like an earlier poster, am taking in all of the new ideas with great enthusiasm.

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mothenater February 7, 2008 5:43 PM

i'll tell you. it took me a minute to figure out the metaphor. but do you remember the person that made the comment about the play. how the three fetuses were discussing the "afterbirth"? well this is an exploration of how one person feels on their deathbed. "he" is time. "he" is death. this game uses the references to birth and the various stages of development to get across the point that upon the moment of fertilization, all we have is time and life. that's why "he" is so familiar. because, as a fetus, you are living a completely different environment. birth is a process that you go through to get to the next place. a so-called death of one life and going into another; much the same that people believe in an afterlife. and as the fetus in this game you go through all of the struggles that you go through in life to survive. you have to grow, eat, problem-solve, chase after love (which is what i got from the little arrow game), etc.
so this person, this female, she's thinking about how she could have spent her life. and how she can always feel him in her. because you start dying the moment you are born. so "he" can be both death and time.
the text and the game itself are parallels to one another.

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Level 3 ain't loading D:

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Ive seen a lot of people say that this game is "useless" or "stupid" or "pointless", but thats just it. This game doesn't have a point. Dont look at it like a game and base its worth soley on how good the graphics are or how well the controls work but rather like a book. It doesn't need a point because it tells a story. Like a virtual book. The story, some may say, is rape but I see it more like nympho-mania. Yes in the beginning she was forced against her will but afterwards she wanted more; craved more. Until a child was the result. The end. A rather dark a macabre ending if you put yourselves in her life. Overall, some great entertainment. And good at rousing discussion and debate also. A+ I say. But thats just one opinion...

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psychofreak23 February 8, 2008 10:01 AM

finished the game,...
i think it's about unwanted pregnancy
maybe the girl knew the guy
but they know they're too young to have a family
so the baby was aborted =(
just a hunch

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i am stuck on level four.
i just can't make the tentacles to grab the food..
the tentacles reach too shallow to touch the food inside
someone tell me what to do please?

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menschenjaeger February 8, 2008 1:36 PM

There IS more to the quote at the end, if you complete the levels quickly enough, and it adds a bit of depth to the story. Find out for yourselves. No spoilers! ;-)

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Are you sure speed's the key? I've now done it twice after reading your comment and am convinced I did it as fast as humanly possible. Are you absolutely, positively positive all you did was go fast? I'm tearing myself to pieces trying to figure it out, which is not a good thing to do when one is sick (though come to think of it that might contribute to my slowness).

Here's another perspective to think about: Does the cursor play any part in the story? It seems to me the controls change along with "she's" perspective of her life. This is especially apparent on the last two levels where on the penultimate level she is chasing the cursor while on the last level she is pointedly avoiding it as she "pushes out every aspect of everyone she's taken in," making me think maybe the cursor is one of the many things "she'd later grown to hate."

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"1:
When she awoke from the coil
Time didn't wait for her
it just watched her whimper
as it
crushed her
ego
cracking her
just enough
to reach inside"

"crush her ego", could be readen like "crush her egg", like the sperm did in that level

Then, Coil is another name for the IUDs, the contraceptive device.

the music an the atmosphere reminded me the song "Lateralus" from Tool. In that song it says "Swing out the spiral..." , an coil in another word used for "spiral"..

this is more than interesting xD

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Haven't read everyone's comments...too long for my taste. But to make this short, sweet and to the point:

this is the circle of life.

No matter the species, although someone said slugs and I genuinely love that idea...this is the circle of life. And it starts from the very beginning. Two lives unite. Life created. Life does what it needs to grow in order to reproduce. Life then searches for another life. Two lives unite. Life created. So on so on...

As far as the "poems" in between, they are just for the pleasure of reading, IMO

Level 6:

You want to get shot at. The point of the level is to get as many of your eggs fertilized. Not to shoot the "enemy"

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Fantastic game, but the people on AddictingGames are really irritating. They gave this game like a 68% thumbs down, and they say (and this is a direct quote) "are those sperm?? wow whoever made this really needs to get a life and stop thinking about nasty things like a 12 year old!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! really immature!!" I can't see anything remotely immature about this game.


[Edit: All I can say is, I'm glad you finally found us. Welcome to JIG. :) -Jay]

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Anonymous February 9, 2008 3:40 PM

I'm not sure if this has been posted and it may just be a glitch, but upon completing the game, I immediately attempted a second go and the first level was changed.

The sperm I controlled lacked a head (it was just a tail) and, while this made it more difficult to enter the egg, I was able to "crack", but not divide, the center. At this point the psuedo-sperm went limp and I became stuck.

Probably just a glitch.

Or is there a deeper meaning to it? :D

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greenfourth February 9, 2008 4:37 PM

First: Jay, it genuinely wasn't loading for me. I don't know why it wasn't because when I played it today it finally worked. Before it wasn't that I was stuck on the title page becuase I didn't know that I had to move my mouse in a circle (I had already read and tried that) but that it would never get there. It would just cycle through the few logos at startup. The weirdest thing is that it was doing it at both sites >_>

Anywho, it's not doing it now so, whatever. On with the critique! =3

The first thing I want to mention is that I LOVED the control scheme. It's completely intuitive, needing only a few seconds to figure out what you need to do and how to make yourself do it. Psychotronic said it best:

"You're essentially getting a new body in each chapter of the story. It's only natural that you'd have to take a moment to learn how to use it."

As for the analysis I think the best way to do this would be for me to replay it and analyze the text and game seperately for each stage and then after completing the "game" portion of each stage combining and re-interperating. I'll also adress the several different interpretaions held in the comments before mine. (the rape one most of all due to the fact that it was the first and, IMO, the most obvious one.)
(as you can tell this will prolly be a really big wall-o-text but I think it's important to take something this deep in small doses, breaking up each into as consise and understandable pieces as possible.)

~~~~~~~~

Well I've been working on it for a couple of hours and I'm not quite finished. I'll have it up eventually but I've got to get ready for work soon. I'll post my in-depth analysis when I get back from my job ^_^

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I finished the game, and restarted, and I was just a tail of a sperm, with no head. Looking through,I see the someone mentioned that before, but no one responded. Any thoughts? A glitch, or another level, or a commentary? When you go to fertilize the egg, it starts to divide ad stops, your tail is just sticking out of it, and your tail begins to be pulled in one direction, although it is anchored in the egg so it can't move.

Any thoughts? I'm unsure if it is just a glitch or what, but I can't seem to be able to do anything with it.

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"cracking her just enough to reach inside"

Maybe this was intentional, though from the few times I've done it there doesn't seem to be a way past this.

I think I speak for everyone when I say this is just something that happens and it doesn't really matter that much.

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Mister Ataxia February 10, 2008 3:26 PM

Well, I spent about 15 minutes on that friggin' stage 2, desperately trying to separate those colors... and got nowhere. A little bit of frustration is good for keeping you interested, but this is just too much.

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the whole point of the game was to show you the mating riturals of this alien species, as the fetus is born she does what she must to survive, eat things she find as food. and when she gets to have kids of her own she knows shes been eatting her own kind. thats why she was sad and confused. but that is the nature of her specie.

oh and just BTW, the other thing that looks just like you is just another version, and the "arrows" shot at you are the sperm, if you look closey the more sperm is shot at you the bigger you grow. the point is to get both aliens full with sperm.

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First time commenting, so please bear with me.

Ah, I got the headless sperm replay glitch too? :( Anyway this sort of reminds me of Fl0w with its theme on the cycle of strange alien life.

It's a strange but short game (too short)... People who said it was hard probably moved their cursor too quickly, because this game responds better to slow movements and patience. :)

While playing this a second time, I can see why some people commented that the game was from

an egg's point of view.
The way I see all those hints of 'she', about "cracking her" with the sperm and guiding her down when "she descended into darkness", it's all about the egg and it's life cycle. The only confusing thing is the 'him'. :/ Sometimes 'him' seems to refer to the developing embryo (she, the egg, guided 'others' to his hands), and the sperm the next. The closest way 'him' could work is if the embryo refers itself as both 'him' and 'her'...
It's pretty interesting anyway, because without the game portions it can be read as a human rape story. I think it was written like that on purpose... to provoke?

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i cant get past level 2. how will i do that?

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how do you get past the 5th stage?

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Susan Moran Author Profile Page February 11, 2008 6:45 PM

I have just completed Coil and so many impressions/thoughts are spinning in my head I'm not certain where to begin. My first impression was that this was about a rape; however, the further I progressed in the game, the more I began to change the direction of my thought process. In the beginning, the text sounded as though one being was exercising absolute control over another, taking away one's dignity and will. As I continued to read the text, I envisioned a lonely, deeply wounded individual living vicariously through other's traits, yet hating what was taken from others. I could see a person who had been an unwilling participant at first, but realized a passion that could not resolve itself. A child enters this person's life: whether it is a random event, or a birth experience is not clear, but it is life and life-changing. It is simply the cycle of life. Therein lies the rub...life is never simple!

Never has a game inspired so much controversy and emotional intellect. I bow to the creators of this game for their brilliance. I have enjoyed reading the various perspectives and I rather like the idea of slugs and barnacles! In all the comments I read, one thing remains constant...the cycle of life. Whether the cycle is literal, as in birth, or an emotional coil or moral coil, it is "life".

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Will Robinson February 12, 2008 12:21 AM

For those of you losing hair on Level/Section 2:

Wait until they settle down because they settle into their own coloured groups - then get the mouse into the middle quickly. They only need to be apart for a second or so.

Hope this helps.

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Gave it a bit of thought, and here's what I've come up with to explain it.

It is, at its heart, the story of a person's life.

"He" can be interpreted as "unlife" - both that darkness before -- and after a life.

The fertilzation is birth- exiting the womb. Splitting the cells into the three groups - okay, not so sure about. It's the only level of the game in which there is no clear and obvious protagonist - no actual character that you're represented as. It's wholly different from the others. (and surprisingly easy, by the way, guys, once you figure out how to do it (get them into three groups with short delicate movements, and then drive the mouse pointer like a wedge between them.))

The third level was startling and lonely- You're falling, and everything is either attacking you, or ignoring you unless you get in their way - Like the first day of school, or your first time in a new place - so frightening, because you're in a whole new world that you don't know or understand, and the people are mean and uncaring.
An additional note on the third level - being passive in the fall seems to be easier in the actual gameplay than actively trying to escape the attacking things. Children at a young age learn to be either passive or aggressive in order to get by. Some actively seek ways out of unpleasant situations, and they often do it in a way that gets them into worse trouble. The passive ones tend to get by with minimal trouble, just making slight adjustments as they go to adapt.

This is, at the very least, based on my own experiences as a passive student in public school.

The level is symbolic of the entire young life - all of schooling- or at least until she becomes more extroverted.

Level four -- "She would find herself reaching out to others
Taking small pieces with her as mementos
These are the things she felt were important,
The things that made these people signifigant.
Every aspect of her being was composed of others.
Her arms grew stronger with each embrace
And lips grew fuller with every kiss."

Life is better though, when you come to allow other people in. The level is symbolic of later years in life. Later High school, or college years, perhaps. She begins to look to other people to fill the whole in her life that was supposed to have been filled with experiences - until her whole life is made to be about her friends. Something that happens all too often with people who don't really know themselves- they measure their own worth by the worth of the number of people around them.

The next level, there are fewer 'eggs' and she has to seek them out, rather than them coming to her. They are more difficult to take in, and they disappear after a short time. Apply the symbolism, and it equates to a depressing scenario - the thing she defined her life by - her friends - is becoming scarce. People who get to know her aren't sticking by her. She begins to feel lonely, and still doesn't actually know who she is, because she has defined herself by the habits that she's absorbed from other people.
She is, literally, the sum of her experiences, and nothing else.

Then came the love of her life.

Remember "Love is a battlefield"? it applies here - It's uncertain whether the arrows the two throw at eachother are affections or fights. The male attacks with far fewer however. The impacts seem curiously heartshaped - though that doesn't fit in with the fact that whatever it is that she's doing is DRIVING HIM AWAY. In the end "When the dust settles" she's alone again, and sick to death of who she is, and what she's done.

She begins to shed herself of all the little eggs - all the habits and things she's taken from other people - sheds them, tosses them to the wind, abandons them, however you want to put it. And then - it's too late. She's thrown away all that she had - because remember that's what she'd spent her whole life doing, and when it was gone, she had nothing left. She began to waste away - and as death came to claim her,
"She was scared
Scared of all the things she would be leaving
Scared of how she would be treated
Scared of what she had done".

She feared death, but it had always been an inevitability.

And death comes, and finally it's okay. He's been with her forever, so intimately familiar, and she's carried away. Back into the darkness that there was before her life.

---

That's the best I can do in my current state, at least. Took me about an hour to write, and there was a ton of crap I didn't elaborate on well enough, and I'm sure plenty of flaws in my arguments.

I am, however, VERY confident this is one of the closest interpretations yet to the truth. When you really look at what's going on, hermaphroditic snails seems an absurd take on it.

Hope other people take something away from this game though. It is a brilliant piece of poetry.

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fairyhedgehog February 13, 2008 10:04 AM

I laughed aloud at mkelican's comment: Although I hate to bash people like this, this "game" really does weed out those who have more deep, intellectual and philosophical methods of thought as opposed to the unfortunate standard person we have today. I am obviously one of the unfortunate standard people!

I found the graphics appealing and the music atmospheric albeit repetitive. The mysterious text did nothing for me.

What really irritated me was the unresponsiveness of the "controls". I can see the point of having to work out what is needed on each level and even of having different controls for each level. But when the response to the correct controls is so minimal that it takes immense patience to figure it out and then to use it I become frustrated and bored. Thank you to everyone who posted walkthroughs and hints or I would never have finished.

Oh, and having an initial screen that mimics a loading screen with "this may take some time to load" over the top was another irritating touch.

It's a pity because there is huge potential here. But for me it was a thumbs down.

fairyhedgehog

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From a genetics point of view:

There are many levels of the game that can be interpreted from a DNA standpoint where HE refers to the genetic data within HER, the egg/cells/embryo.

"Each cell is marked by my name"

This line immediately brought my attention to this possible metaphor. The genome is contained within every cell in the body. Or "my name" is possibly the DNA of the male counterpart, the sperm. So both her name and his name are in each cell.

"His whispering"

refers to the fact that the DNA is duplicating the message within her and is spreading throughout the organism.

But later, he is merely "waiting" - this is because she is more or less fully developed, and the cells have stopped dividing. But she still feels him inside her.

"their essence was consumed and nothing remained" - she is consuming them, not reproducing them, and thus she is digesting the DNA information contained within these other living cells and destroying what makes them unique - their genetic code; "pushing out every aspect" supports the same idea

And the last level (8) refers to genetically programmed death or apoptosis. HE is forcefully causing her to die - a scary but at the same time, perfectly natural thing for cells to do. Thus she it feels "familiar" to her. Since everything about her is really controlled by her genome. She is simply a vessel for transferring DNA from one body to another. And in a sense, this can lead to ideas on reincarnation, immortality, etc. However, if the organism fails to live, the genome dies with it. Thus they are very dependent on one another. In sexual reproduction, genomes are split and shared and recombined, and so it is a creative and cataclysmic process.

I wouldn't quite say we are "raped" by our genomes. However it is something we are forced to accept and forced to live with. And even if it is not the best genome, it is a very essential part of you! So feed it lots of food and help it survive. And maybe you will or have already provided a new body for it to inhabit. :D At least half of it.

(I study developmental biology, so it was a natural sort of connection to make. :) Thanks for the game, Jay.)

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it makes me mad that they made this instead of tri-arachnid 2. the entire story was just a blank thought to me. this game was frustrating and requires patience (which i lack) with moving the cell. i did like the music and the artwork, but i would have much more enjoyed playing tri-arachnid 2

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I was looking at this, and I zoomed in at the final page of words. There is a further line of text after "Just as it was before"
but it is very hidden and I can barely make it out

"He pressed his cheek to hers he pressed his cheek"

Oh, nevermind. I just noticed that I sawthis earlier.

Anyway, on the subject of interpretation. I agree with previous speculations that it might be a metaphor for birth, a metaphor for life. I think it might just be a work of fiction. Perhaps the captions between stages aren't referring to a third person, but to the creature we control. In the stage where there are two, the caption before read something about a new person, and the caption after reads that he left you or you made him leave or something like that. And the last level you are spreading your eggs again to restart the whole thing.
Basically, I think it is a story about these fetus-like creatures. But I can't decide for sure.

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Can somebody please tell me with the answer to how "beat" "level" 2. Nothing happens!

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Susan Moran Author Profile Page February 17, 2008 6:01 PM

To Kotenku...I enjoyed reading your interpretation immensely!! I did not elaborate as you did in my comments, but many of the emotions you expressed, I touched on. I spent a great deal of time thinking about the various meanings, but you articulated your thoughts beautifully! I will say it again...no matter the interpretation, Coil is about the cycle of life. The poetry was exquisite and I believe that, had it just been a game to complete, we would have left it at that...I wish more games would spark the discussion that this one has. Again...well written!

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...Wow, so much debate.

I never thought of rape metaphors, as I just saw the main character as a fetus: growing, developing, eliminating competition, with the final fall into the water at the end signifying its final trimester before it gets unleashed upon the world. I thought of the text as a rapport between the mother and her unborn child, with maternal instincts meeting with fear.

Problem is, that doesn't equate any uses of "He" with Time, and nor does it include the heart-bubbling sperm-shooting dogfight before the final act.

I actually spent most of the game thinking of that guy who plays Kingdom of Loathing, whose in-game running gag involves hitting big fetuses with a club. I should play Coil again, and actually focus on it next time.

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Trekkie_Aspie Author Profile Page March 27, 2008 10:55 AM

I got to the part where

you need to divide the three colours.

but now I'm stuck.
I can't for the life of me figure out how to

move the mouse to separate the colours.

Help please?

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Doesnt anyone understand?
On the last level you are ^letting out every aspect of anyone youve taken in^,like in the narrative.

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Funny how everyone tries to take such an easy road out of games, and if they take too long for them, they just give up.

I have played this many times, and every time I have not even thought of the game schematics as remotely bad, if anything, they are amazing, making you nhave to do more than just move two arrow keys.

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Grant Thurston Author Profile Page May 1, 2008 3:56 PM

I have to say, I am really confused about this game, even though I've beaten it quite a few times.

In the end, all I have to say is:

1. It's about some alien spieces' life

2. It's supposed to talk about life and it's meaning. (thank-U Kotenku!! I am deeply moved from your comment :))

3. It's probably not made by miss Mary Sunshine. Whoever/Whatever this thing is, is very scared and alone

4. The music CREEPS ME OUT

5. At level 2, I know what the three different colors are supposed to be. I'm learning about this in Science, and it's at the very beginning, right after the sperm enters the egg, it divides into three different kinds of cells(which names are escaping me right now) so there's your answer Kotenku.

6. I don't think you're supposed to understand what the game's about. It's just supposed to make you wonder, and try to figure out what it means.

Several times in school I find myself day-dreaming about this game ^_^ Just siting there thinking about it...

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Anonymuos July 6, 2008 10:19 PM

I agree with the people that said "he" is Time. I also agree with parts of Maniacal1's assessment. I believe she dated and had relationships with a lot of people, but she left them, because she couldn't make a commitment. She leads them to Time, or change, because time either led them to get over it or to be miserable. In the end, I think she dies, finally making the final change. Sorry if my description's hard to understand, that's just what I think.

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mezza:
i have some possible theories/things to ponder to clear up the confusion of what 'he' is.
at the point of conception, he became a part of her... as the game goes on, she is said to always feel him inside of her...because the first penetration seemed to be caused by his desire to consume others, the part of him she took with her was his need to consume... so when she guides the eggs to herself, she's really guiding the eggs to him since she took on his dominating/forceful/coercive tendencies... also, it has been commented that the creature is hermaphroditic... so because she is male as well as female, everything she does for herself is, by default, done for him as well...
i hope this gave a new-ish perspective, and i'm sorry if it doesn't make any sense. i was trying to figure it out as i wrote it, hence the ellipses.

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Schemilix July 24, 2008 4:21 PM

Hmm... The last level... I have a few interpretations.

1) Suicide. The fact that you have to actually

force the feutus to touch the water

could be a reluctance to let go. That and the fact that it's night.
2) Birth. The 'water' breaking, and folloing the water to the outside world.

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HERE THERE BE SPOILERS:

"Coil" is a nice little game that would have greatly benefited from an opening explanation of how to play (you simply relax and circle the mouse slowly in certain areas and/or use direction to your advantage). Personally I found the writing to be a bit weak (using crude evocation "It just watched her whimper as it crushed her ego" and a forced ambiguity to impress) and in stark contrast to the more mature visual presentation. A simpler Haiku-oriented form might have suited the mood better. The hearts and clouds also seemed a bit off to me after the more surreal, aqua-based aspects of the first five parts. Less pretentious dialog and more variation towards the end would have helped this particular mind adapt to the experimental environment here, but an amusing creation none the less. Jimi Hendrix's "Belly Button Window" might be a fun background song to loop while playing.

Now I must shuffle onward, Cheers.

[Edit: spoiler tags added. -Pam]

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This game is clearly about a soul's relationship to God. Replace "He" with "God" and it starts making sense.

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Schwournes Author Profile Page September 6, 2008 2:57 PM

That was a really freaky game.

The story was confusing.

The end was so ambiguous...was the foetus born yet?

I mean, it's an alien, maybe that is the adult form at the end...

Sperm-shooting, heart-bubbling...while touching another alien...

The last level seems a lot like suicide to me...I don't know how you're supposed to complete it but I completed it by spinning around lots and things were flying everywhere. The essence of life leaving?

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I'm not sure why they would make it a puzzle to get past the story screens, but it's really annoying me.

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I think all of the theories spoken about are very interesting and I mostly agree with the one about him being a metaphor for life.

However, the comment of the genetics student inspired me to another idea. What if "he" represents cancer of some sorts? I think the fact that "every cell is marked by [his name]" and the claim that she can't ever leave him, as well as the presence of him inside her is a certain proof.

In my opinion, we follow the "life circle" of her disease and her feelings about it. I think she tried to fight it at first, like when she starts taking things of others as "mementos". She even manages to forget her disease when she meets a man and falls in love with him. However, as it is implied in her fantasy about "him" draining her from every life source and that sentence about giving in to the feelings, she might start to think about stopping the fight.

Her closing her eyes and pushing every memory of others away from her could be another proof for her surrendering to her ailment. "He was here" could then be her feeling of the immanent death. She had waited for him, however she still feels scared about the fact that she ceased to fight. Her death would leave many sad memories and maybe a shattered family behind, something which frightens her as well.

The comforting feeling is again the cancer inside her. "She was leaving" would mean that she is dying in that same moment. The feeling of something pressing on her cheek might be the last thing she noticed, then.

I apologize for my bad English. What do you think about that theory?

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Gameplay is great, but I'm stuck on level 4. Well, that is to say I can't get past the 'story screen' Wonderful game, but simply getting past these screens is a maddeningly annoying experience.
Tried circling my mouse in the same direction as the background, but seems not to work. Shame, otherwise it's a lovely piece of art/gameplay.

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1.I find it amazing how much people's experiences have colored their reactions to this "game".

2.I notice early on many people complained about how vague the language was, possibly disguising that there was no actual solid point.

I think the point IS there is no point. This is what you take away from it, and the fact the language is vague was the only way to achieve this affect.

Still, feel free to continue debating. It's very interesting to watch.

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also: everyone who gets stuck on the story pages, circle the outside several times in the same direction as the arrows.

I remember when I was first playing and I was bored waiting for the next game segment to begin I would follow the arrows just for fun. Then I realized that was actually what was triggering the next segment :)

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Ok, I apologize, I realize this is 3 times in a row, but I just found out: to be able to play on the second time you need two headless sperm to go into the egg.

The second level runs a little weird after this, but other than that it's pretty much the same.

Third time around mr. sperm is completely gone...

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Great game! The controls are very creative, and simple. (once you figure out what you need to do.) The graphics are wonderful and the gameplay is simple aswell. Most of the levels are very simple. If you can't get it, then just explore a tad. Theres no time limit. Figure out the movements by moving and clicking the mouse around then paying attention to how the game reacts. Peice the diffrent motions to the mouse movements, and viola!

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Coil is a neat game, but not necessarily hard. The only hard part was level two

in which you seperate the multicolored balls into their respective color groups

and that was pretty much the hardest part in this game. I'd have to say the last level is kind of hard in a way because

you don't actually do anything, you just let the fetus drop into the water. In this way, you don't actually do anything v.s the interactive minigames this game is made of.

I think this game is about forgiveness, healing, and letting go, because, as indicated by the text, she grows stronger and finds a new love. And in the end, she's close to him. I also think that "he" is the sperm and "she" is the egg. "cracking her just enough to reach inside"; isn't that what a sperm does to an egg? Also, He technically owns her because he fertilized her. Hmm...this game really is open to interpretation. I like all the different takes on this game. Keep up the good work people!

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Am I the only one who didn't commit suicide on the last level? I made my fetus go to the top, and it ended.

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ThatGuyYouLove2Hate November 27, 2008 7:51 PM

I dont consider myself an especially artsy person, at least not to the point where i shouldnt get this game. The story line is poor attempt at overplaying meaningless tasteles crap, the game is a far fry from revolutionary (whoo hoo spin your mouse in ciricles) and the animation mis mild. The soundtrack is decent and the artwork just ok, overall not worth a second play :(

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I love this game. It's mysterious, it's directionless (which makes it even more fun to figure out), it's kind of dark, but it's entrancing and addicting. I found I couldn't tear myself away from it. Although for a couple of days I could only bear 30 minutes of it because I didn't know you got past the text by moving the mouse in the circle ( >.< )....but once I figured that out it became immensely more enjoyable. Animation is good. Controls are good. It's a bit short, but it's definitely a great experience for the world.

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OK, so in the review it said that this isn't one for the kids... well, a lot of people said the game was all frustating and disturbing. I thought the game actually wasn't that hard or freaky, and I understood most of the text. I'm 11.

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looking4goodgamesoncp Author Profile Page December 29, 2008 2:06 PM

I saw this game and I thought it was just some fun weird game.

then I found out that it was

sort of perverted and about rape or like something much deeper than I thought.

Well. Maybe I'll read the comments BEFORE playing the game. Although now that I've played it again after reading the comments

it makes sense with like the eggs and sperm and zygote and stuff.

I figured out the first time how to play it by just moving my mouse around

Wow. There were a lot of comments on this game. This one is sort of a waste of time hmm? Whatever I'm just playing around with

spoiler

tags

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I can't get the text screen to go away. I keep circling the mouse but nothing happens.

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Kotenku is right on all accounts, but did leave something out:why there are no directions. the reason for this, at least in my opinion, fits with Kotenku's theory. the reason there are no directions is because its another symbolistic detail. in real life, you have absolutely no idea what to do or how to do it. but the longer you do it, the more you figure out, until you look back and wonder, what the heck was wrong with me? we see our blunders as plain as chalk on a blackboard, but back then we didnt know. life IS a mystery, and all we have to do to figure out the rules, the directions, is to just lift our heads high and go through. sure, we'll make mistakes, but thats how we learn! through our mistakes. this game is full of symbolism, like Aether, which is not about life in general, but the fragility of a child's mind, their habits, their problems, and alot of the symbolism is the same, because one of the creators was one of the creators of this game. and in truth, this isnt a game, it's an interactive, amazing poem, and what i like about this game and all others like it, is that it just goes to show that games can be much than just games. they can be the cause for many new outlooks on life. this is my opinion.

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TadMcGillicutty February 18, 2009 6:14 AM

"It's a lot easier to throw dust into people's eyes so that they think they're missing something deep, than to actually clearly express something important.

As a game, I found it frustrating, because so many of the levels could be beaten by just doing nothing or else waving the mouse around wildly."

Axioms cannot be expressed plainly because they require self interpretation. Knowledge is useless unless it is made personal, which means you have to do some work to meet the author/artist half-way.

The majesty of this game comes from the very fact that it can be beaten by acting erratically or by doing very little: almost like DUNDUN life.

Although you'll get much more enjoyment out of it if you strive to do more than just reach the end... just like life again OMG

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i do love this game but I cannot wrap my head around the concept! :(
To me it seems like a human rape story, like others said... maybe the sperm, embryo (etc.)
is the child of the lady who got raped? :/
hmmm.. i dont know.
but nonetheless, this is a beautiful and (do I need to say?) different game.
but if you dont like it, thats okie, everyone is entitled to their own opinion! : )

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Anonymous March 28, 2009 3:52 PM

To me, the text reminds me of Vampires. That may sound silly, but if you read it, and think of 'him' as a vampire, and 'she' was bitten (perhaps turning into a vampire, hence "darkness"). I know it has nothing to do with the game, but its what i thought of anyway.

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Anonymous April 22, 2009 4:15 AM

ATTN: you guys are missing an important event that the author left at the end of the game. I saw it address at the top of the page, but it wasn't brought up again.

Immediately after beating the game,

If you start another game, you play as a headless sperm that tries to impregnate another egg. But when you get in, you start to slow down and the egg cannot divide. While this may seem like a glitch, consider this:

If you refresh the page and play the game again, you can beat it once through and then you'll play as the headless sperm AGAIN and be unable to impregnate the egg. But guess what? The first headless sperm you were playing as is still trying to impregnate the egg. Now, you will be unable to because that one still is, no matter how hard you try. Is this a glitch? Or is this supposed to happen...?

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"From here there is nothing, just as there was before."
I found that incredibly touching. Not many thing make me feel so... aware. Aware that the world we live in can often be a bad place. Aware that some people will come and go in our lives, but there will always be something, someone, there, every day. No matter how hard we try, we cannot run from them. They are death to us, feared by us, yet they are our life, our essence. Aware that all things end. Everything dies, someday.
By the way, if anyone is wondering, that writing at the bottom of the final screen says, "He pressed his cheek to hers he pressed his cheek to hers". It just sums up that she was trapped in his "coil" of fear, terror and yet fantasy.
There are many interpretations of this game. Some say that it is a rape story, that of an innocent girl and a man who is always there, or perhaps an alien. Others say that "he" is time, life and death. When she finds herself returning, it means that she returns to the state she was in before her life; dead.
I think it is a combination of the two. "He" is a man, but he symbolizes time and death. "She" is found in all of us, human weakness, fear and hope, emotion, life. At first he takes her as a young, innocent girl. He makes her pregnant, "He cracked her just enough to reach inside." and, "This will make you remember that I'm a part of you. Each cell is marked by my name, you can't ever leave me, I'm all that you have."
She could always feel him inside her because it was his baby she carried. She was alone, the darkness had left her for now, but it was waiting for her to return. "The feeling was comforting and familiar, but his presence scared her." We all face death, we know it is there, yet we still fear it.
She takes memories of everyone she meets, as we all do. We know people are important parts of our lives. "She would lead them to him, watching as his hands reached out to pull them away, their essence consumed and nothing remained." In the end, death takes all the people we once knew. Sometimes we blame ourselves, as "she" does, leading them to him.
"And even though the longing lingered, for once in her life she forgot about him." We do forget the big things, life and death, the passing of time, at some point in our lives. She falls in love again, as shown in the stage, creatures firing Cupid's arrows at one another, the wound being love.
"Once again she was alone." Her loved one left her, or perhaps she left him. "...Back into a world she never asked to be part of." We eventually go into old age, when we know death is coming.
The last playable stage is a creature in the moonlight, expelling parts of itself. Perhaps this is her, getting rid of all links with the land of the living, her memories, sad and depressing. "She was leaving." Leaving her life for "him", the darkness, death.
She is dead, in the nothingness that consumed her before she was born, before she met "him" and left him.
"From here there is nothing, just as it was before."

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Oh, and by the way Nemo07, maybe you're just missing the bigger picture. I grant you that some modern art is a bit iffy, and some would say that it isn't art, but that's beside the point. You just don't seem to understand the emotional meaning behind this. Whereas you saw it as, and I quote, "I'm incredibly pretentious and nobody understands my pain. Wawawa. *cuts self*" I saw it as something interesting. And no, I don't think it sets out to make you feel stupid either. Perhaps it's true meaning is merely beyond your grasp because you can't get past one of the levels. I think you're a bit of a "This STUPID game. I don't GET it. This level's SO STUPID, I won't bother to think of what its trying to tell me. Wawawa. *Smacks computer*
SOME people actually love this game and its story, the feeling behind it. Clearly, you're more of an action person and cannot comprehend deep, emotional, artistic masterpieces such as this.

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I think this game is beautiful-although I do think it is about rape, or maybe a forced marriage. I love the poems and the meaning behind it.

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That was an interesting game. I loved the style and narration. I sometimes like playing games that are like stories instead of action games. I had problems on the 3rd level. (Doesn't the walkthrough skip a level?)

Gets a 5 from me.

I don't completely get what is being said in the narrative. At first I thought it had a tiny bit to do with rape, but as the story progressed, it seemed less likely.

It just seems like it's about something else, but I can't describe it...

Oh, but if I don't understand it, that makes me a 'unfortunate standard person' I suppose. *sarcastic*

To the people that are saying things like 'if you don't understand it, you're simple minded', you should really restate your comment. :X I don't really get it, but I'm trying to and I enjoy the story and feeling put into this.

It's fine if you don't understand it completely. If you completely go past the point and call this useless and stupid without a thought, then I think you should try think things over more carefully.

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Ryleigh June 26, 2009 4:14 PM

I agree that it is sort of like vampires. She has her life before and then "h" comes in to her life. "He" has not taken her (but maybe she wants "him" to?) and she leads people to "him." She is terrified by "him," so afraid that she can't leave. (Maybe she's also in love with "him".) She goes on for a while. She tries not to care about the people "he" kills, but takes some of them with her. Memories of them, things she liked and disliked about them. These memories become all she is ,replacing her until she is not herself, but their memories. But then she meets some one and falls in love with him. Mean while she can never really shake that (fear?)(love?) for "him". But then something happens (does he die?) and he leaves. She has no choice but to go back to the only other "person" she knows. But she doesn't like it anymore and in fact hates it and maybe him. She discards all the memories of the people she knew and led to him. Then there is nothing left of her. But "he" is still there. "he" will find a new person and it will start over. "Then there was nothing" of her "Just as it was in the begining." That's what I think anyway. i thought it was beautifully done. I liked it.

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End text: "From were there is nothing, just as it was before. He pressed his cheek to hers, he pressed his cheek

At the end... it has no ending quotes... It is because it never ends, and at the same time it does...

Since there is not enough time or lifespan... Further more, no life... That is why it says the room became dim and the dark tentacles at the bottom... Hope this helped...

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Also, I think this game doesn't have an explanation itself.. It has the same number of expalantion as people that played it... Everyone sees it the way it is correct to themselves. :]

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Anonymous July 21, 2009 8:49 PM

What a beautiful game. Terribly, terribly frustrating at trying to get from stage to stage... but still incredibly beautiful.

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This was extremely difficult.
I was intrigued by this game, but after clicking the colored balls on Level 2 for about 15 minutes I couldn't get them to separate according to color... so I gave up. It was a quite frustrating experience!

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i like coil

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cosmic23voyager January 6, 2010 4:33 PM

It could have been a genetical cross breeding of extraterrestrials and a human embryo? Hybrid maybe, this game talks of open-mindedness so thats an option, a reference in the bible is Genesis 6:1-5 could be that and the "he" came to get "more" from "her".

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I didn't really read the poetry after a few stages, just focusing on how to beat it. Anyways, I don't believe the game is glitched when it starts over.

Here's how I beat it. Glitch or no glitch.

I got to the last stage and I tried to avoid the water as long as i could, but alas I fell. When the game started over I contolled a headless sperm, and when I penetrated the egg this time (it was much harder to do) the game appeared to have frozen on me.

So I refreshed the game and started over. This time I was more comfortable with the controls and I was able to avoid falling into the water on the last stage (Just stay airborne as long as you can and you will complete the level). When the game started again, I was once again controlling a headless sperm... but this time I penetrated the egg and now was battling to keep the cell inside divided. It's quite tricky. So this part of the game was different. The stages after remained the same and I was once again able to avoid the water. Now here is where I believe I reached the end of the game (maybe). When the game started over a third time, there was no sperm and nothing else moving, just the background. I tried moving my mouse all over the screen in different patterns and no matter how hard I tried, the background would not move.

Now it could be bad coding OR maybe at the end of the game it's supposed to be nothing...

"From here there is nothing, just as it was before."

Anyways, that's my experience with the game, please post if you had a different experience with the so called "glitch". I came here to find out if I truly beat the game and after reading everyone's interpretation of the poetry I will forever remember it even if there is no true ending. I do believe that this poem is about the cycle of life and the game and it's music is like interactive art that should belong in a museum.

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kittykittymewmew April 9, 2010 8:03 PM

heh..i like this game..but its kinda hard...im on the third level,those green things are just jealous of my bubble's awesomeness!

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Assistedsarge April 15, 2010 8:11 PM

"she" is in her bedroom I believe that rape useally not in you house.
the story to me felt kinda spiritual
I didnt read all of it im gonna play it again but the fact that "he" acted like he loved "her" didnt lead me to think rape
Its really confusing although I think people are thinking to much about it.
the creator need to say something about it
it better have an ending not like planet of the apes ending I hate those

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I read it as a story about a short-lived species (think sort of like mayflies) and one of them gaining a sort of semi-sentience. The 'he' could be the aspect of them that ensures their short lives, hence the sixth part: 'for once in her life she forgot about him'.

'He' enters her as sperm - the 'defect' is present from the beginning. Then, she grows, dividing, each cell carrying the defect, and as she falls to the bottom of the "sea" she grows (symbolizing the egg being laid by the mother, as she will later do herself). 'He' might be dormant for now, as she needs to grow to maturity in order to continue the species, so she's allowed to feed and grow. In the fifth part, it describes her as she almost reaches maturity - she sees 'him', within herself, taking apart the food and thinks of what it would be like.

The sixth part is when she is mating, which would be the strongest urge of her life. Everything she's done up to this point is all about continuing her species, so it's natural that she'd forget about her impending death. Afterwards, she releases her eggs into the sea to continue the cycle/coil, and death approaches.

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Protoss July 6, 2010 8:12 PM

Af the second playthrough (yes, it is possible to do that) the first level had no head but still was able to divide the egg by staying in the middle (although that's more difficult), the second level did not load but the rest was normal. However, at the third playthrough, even the headless sperms disappeared so there only was the screen of the egg where one can't move.

So, I suppose it's a bug.
(Steam version, by the way, but doesn't seem different.)

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I thought that "he" could represent the part of one's self that wants to do what is easy- conform to expectations, take shortcuts and bribes, etc. The main character takes in others' traits that make it easier for her to survive in their world, fearful of what would happen otherwise.
The second "he" is the one that feels right, though it is contradictory to what she has always done.
The ending leaves the choice open, whether she succumbed to fear or not.
I liked this so much I played it again, even though the separating the cells thing was so frustrating! (And again, and again...)

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Pretentions, unfun, and inscrutible. I only played it because it was free, and the whole "fake loading screen" was unnecessary and frustrating, not to mention the total lack of any explanation. Plus there is virtually no replay value whatsoever.

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Just a hint for those who cannot (for the life of them) figure out the controls for the "organ" level.

The pink bladder organs on the very left and right rotate the embryo in the upper screen. The stomach-like organ activates a vacuum to suck up the little particles, and the long, yellow organ causes you to move forward in the direction you are facing. To complete the level, you must consume a number of the particles.

My opinion on the controls... I figured them out very quickly and found them very fluid. It took me a lot longer on the "organ" level, of course, but at last I understand it as well. I love the originality.

Also, I can't possibly contribute anything meaningful to the wonderful discussing taking place, unfortunately. However, it's great to see something that makes me rack my brain for a deeper meaning. Even if there isn't one. :)

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Hmm, I almost gave up on level 3, until I saw the tip about

spinning.

I felt it ended rather abruptly, and I got the same thought of the egg-like things mating in the second-to-last stage.

I didn't like the controls... many people found them intuitive, but I suppose I wasn't patient enough in figuring them out...

Interesting layout, although the text was hard to read.

For those of you who skipped the text, it actually hints at what to do in the next level.

I liked the design, but once again, it gets frustrating if you can't get the controls.

I don't think the story was about rape at all... rather, the sperm and the egg, that mirrored an actual woman's life...

Hmm. This'll prolly have me up all night thinking about it.

In that way, the game succeeds. It gets people thinking, or at least gets a reaction out of them. :)

(Notice, no one was simply "meh" about it. They hated it, or loved it, but definitely had something to say about it.)

All in all, I don't think I'll be playing this again.

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There's just something about this game that speaks to something...deeper inside me. Maybe it was just the power of the music, but I found the whole thing very haunting.

It's interesting to read everyone's theories, but to those saying it is definitely just one thing: no. Everyone can interpret it in their own way, and nobody's alone is the right one. In fact, I think with things such as this it's part of the point to have everyone interpret it differently and take their own personal thing away from it.

Schemilix: I never once

got the foetus to touch the water.

In fact I did the opposite.

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The game itself is very artsy and cool, but the text quickly goes from metaphorical to cheesy-romance-novelish. That and it pretty strongly suggests rape at one point, which sends it flying over the line into "Whoa, don't go there!" territory.

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I saw no rape or anything in this game. I saw it as an interesting metaphor of a biological cycle, agreeing with creativeentropy's slug comparison.

Alien's life cycle:
1. Fertilization - "cracking to reach inside", "Each cell marked by my name" - two sets of genes (diploid). Eggs laid into ocean.
2. Differentiation of tissues
3,4. Growth and development - eats own kind to grow (sort of cannibalistic). Mature alien leaves ocean. "essence consumed" refers to digestion
5. Sexual maturity and hermaphroditic mating. (stage 1 of new cycle)
6. Lays eggs and dies. (stage 2 begins for new baby)

My interpretation of the poem-

"She" refers to the growing alien, while "he" refers to the genome, as mentioned by Anonymous earlier, or to the unavoidable death that being born entitles one to.
She seems to be afraid of death at first and guilty about her choices in life (ambiguous feelings towards eggs? - I forgot who said that), but grows to accept it as part of the cycle.

Sorry if it is just more of what others have said, just putting my view forward.

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I came across this game a while back n i was blown away by it! I havent come across another game like it on the web or off it!
Its is so relaxing I applaud you *stands n claps lil paws* pleeeeease make another equally unique game?

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Judging by the narrative and the thoughts on this "she" person...

I think that what happened supports the rape theory BUT we are missing a key thing here. It's possible that she was what you would call a "slut" in today's slang. Someone who enjoyed to fornicate. It says how she collected peices of others and enjoyed doing so. However she came to close with a stranger, she was raped, and no one would believe her or care for her because they viewed it as her asking for it. It specifically mentions how she's left all alone and she has no one to blame but herself.

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theorangenelly Author Profile Page April 19, 2013 6:15 PM

On my second playthrough I also got a sperm that lacked a head.

Prehaps it symbolises that she had an infertile second conception or a miscarriage?

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