Finding My Heart

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DoraFinding My HeartWe've all been there. Someone has been mad at us, and we're not sure what we did. (Or rather, which of the things we did that they know about.) Finding My Heart, by Small Is Beautiful Interactive, is a short and sweet little point-and-click game about just such a situation. After one too many gaming sessions in front of the television, oblivious to her feelings, our hero's girlfriend has finally had enough and kicks him out of the house. What follows is a short adventure that has you trying to figure out a way back inside, by figuring out where he went wrong in the first place, and what to do about it.

As befits a point-and-click game, you navigate by pointing and clicking where you want to go, and on people or objects you want to interact with. Clicking on a person will bring up your available actions... but only the ones you've learned. Because instead of picking up random items and trying to turn them into the magical MacGuffin as is usually par for the course in point-and-click games, you're picking up new ways of communicating instead. One person might advise you to lend someone your ear, and doing so may open up other ways of expressing yourself.

It may sound strange, and actually, it is. But it's also a clever way to shake up the point-and-click formula. Finding My Heart is short and easy enough that anyone can pick up and play it, since there are only a handful of screens to search on. There are no real penalties for trying the wrong interaction on someone, so you can cycle through them until you've puzzled out the right order. Oh, and the coins you can discover along the way? Hold on to them until the credits have rolled, and you can use them to "purchase" some neat little making-of features from the game.

Analysis: Okay, so the message is more than a little cookie-cutter direct, sweet and neatly stamped out. Perhaps it would go down a bit smoother if the characters had a little more personality behind them other than their assigned plot-purpose stereotypes. MEN, how about that baseball cap and those video games, eh? Eh?? And LADIEZ, we're always with the emotions and the housework, amirite? Of course not. People are more complex than that. (We're also all about the tupperware.) And of course video games are not the root of all discord, unless we're talking about something put out by a movie franchise.

Finding My HeartFinding My Heart isn't unique because it's trying to impart a message, since most games these days make at least a token effort to do so. (Probably as a result of us darn women again, amirite?) It's unique because of the way it's presented. Presenting your inventory in a point-and-click game as an arsenal of interactions and concepts rather than a bunch of random items is surprisingly refreshing, if a little idealistic. (Why isn't the message compromise instead of sacrifice, for example?) If the game were presented in the usual way, you might end up simply presenting flowers and chocolates to the offended party, which might have the same effect in "Game World", but not the same message.

But it isn't just the interaction that charms me, it's the presentation as a whole. Finding My Heart, with it's big cartoony graphics, is silly and endearing in the same way old cartoons are. I like the way the various character you meet express themselves in pictures rather than words, letting you piece together their stories by what you see rather than what you hear. I just wish I could say as many charitable things about the voicing for the characters, which was cute at first, but repetitive enough to have me fumbling for the mute button after five minutes.

Is the game going to change the way you look at life? Probably not. Is it going to open up a whole world of romantic possibilities for you? Doubt it. But even if it's a little hackneyed in its message, Finding My Heart is still refreshingly sweet and earnest. It's just the right size to fit into a coffee break, and it shows you can still be original even when the genre has been around since the dawn of time. Give it a try. Just don't forget to give the one you love a big, sloppy kiss every once in a while. Tongues optional, but heartily endorsed.

Play Finding My Heart

Walkthrough Guide

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

Finding My Heart Walkthrough:

  1. To get hearing:

    Talk to the bartender

  2. To get love:

    Listen to the girl in the park

  3. To get sadness:

    Speak of love to the woman in bar

  4. To get anger:

    Listen to the hobo and speak of sadness

  5. To get music:

    Talk to the boy in the park and speak of love

  6. To get your love back:

    Sing a song to the balcony, Talk to her, speak of sadness, speak of love, speak of wrath, listen to her.

I don't think JIGuest's walkthrough is quite clear enough. Let me take a crack:

Main Walkthrough

Bartender: Talk
Girl in park: Listen
Guy playing guitar in park: Talk, love
Guy playing guitar in park, again: Listen
Woman in bar: Talk, love, listen
Homeless man: Listen, sadness
Your girlfriend: Music, talk, sadness, love, anger, listen

Coin Locations

Tulips in residential area
Bird in tree in park
Rat in trash outside bar
Newspaper outside bar
Pool table in bar


Finding My Heart Walkthrough:

  1. To get hearing:

    Talk to the bartender

  2. To get love:

    Listen to the girl in the park

  3. To get sadness:

    Speak of love to the woman in bar

  4. To get anger:

    Listen to the hobo and speak of sadness

  5. To get music:

    Talk to the boy in the park and speak of love

  6. To get your love back:

    Sing a song to the balcony, Talk to her, speak of sadness, speak of love, speak of wrath, listen to her.

Just don't forget to give the one you love a big, sloppy kiss every once in a while. Tongues optional, but heartily endorsed.

I and my seven year old daughter read jayisgames several times a week. Often, she's reading on her own in the kitchen while I prepare meals. We both enjoy it very much: she gets to play some interesting and age-appropriate games, and I feel safe in the knowledge that she isn't going to be exposed to anything inappropriate. This is, after all, supposed to be a family-friendly website.

However, if "Tongues optional" is the sort of deeply inappropriate thing she can expect to read on your website in the future, you can be certain we won't be coming back. It simply isn't right for young children to be reading that sort of thing.

LOL@Ellen Rose. The 5 o'clock news has more graphic descriptions than that.

Have talked to boy in park about love and he is now singing to the girl, but I have received music. No matter what I do, he keeps on singing and I remain musicless.

See you, Ellen. We won't miss you!

Good Lord, Ellen Rose. How do you survive in 2009 America with that 1950's puritanical attitude?

Yeah, Dora, I did, but maybe not for long enough. Thanks, too, for your tactful response to Ellen. She has a right to have and express her opinion and not be humiliated for it.

In order to get the music I had to

click on the bird while the guy was singing.

Also, shouldn't the walkthrough tell how to get all the gold coins?

I've tried everything, but getting guitar boy to actually do anything but tune his guitar is proving difficult.

ah nevermind, figured it out.

At a protective father of a four-year old, I understand - We don't even have TV. But even if mildly descriptive descriptions about kissing were not to be found on Jay Is Games - there's plenty of other content to be dubious about. Like the games with zombies, goblins and even the CSI themed games..

I'm just saying that the content of the games themselves would require constant attention.

Keep up the good work, I'm sure your children are a joy to be around and haven't had their childhood stolen from them.

Dora, you are a scholar and a gentlelady, and Ellen, my wife and I don't have any kids yet, but I do know how protective I get when my wife and I "babysit" (and no, I'd never use that word in their presence, but their parents are part of my family and good people and need time to themselves) my twin 12 year old cousins. The tv stations show horror movies at 9am now! When there used to be cartoons!
But this game is important because it calls attention to the pink elephant in the middle of the living room. Women (and men) are happy when their spouses are happy playing videogames. But before too long, that happiness turned into a feeling of abandonment. I stopped playing the Final Fantasy series cold turkey when my wife literally drew me a picture, a graph of how many hours I spent playing FF9, and how many hours I spent with her. :(
And please, don't give up on Jayisgames or Dora. This is quality work here, and looking over Dora's past reviews you will find journalistic intelligence sparkled with wit and delivered with style and heart. It's up to you, but you might want to think twice about depriving your growing daughter of visiting a site she likes while she gets to be in the kitchen with the Mother she loves.

Ah, hmm, sidestepping the other discussion going on here I wanted to say I really enjoyed the game.

Not the most challenging point-and-click ever but it was fun and amusing, I actually laughed a couple times. If one doesn't expect an epic this is a pleasing and well produced time passer. But also some pretty interesting underlying themes that made me wonder why am I playing this instead of going out and preparing a nice meal for my wife!

To come back to the other discussion I too second the other remarks and also say don't give up on the site, things get said and that's life you know and always good to call people out on things you feel uncomfortable about, but at the same time I would say please do keep supporting the excellent work everyone does on this site in posting and commenting on these games.

Oh, and I can't get that tune out of my head...!

Oh for crying out loud. I can't believe the conversation in this thread, what an absolute joke. "I don't own a TV, I'm protective" there is such a thing as over protective. Best of luck raising a well balanced kid who'll be prepared for life having been raised in a cocoon.

I'm sorry, but this isn't the place for the sanctimonious arguments I'm seeing here. If you really feel so compelled to leave the site, do so, but there's no need to publically flame a free resource on your way out.

Gold Coin Locations

1. In flowerbed by second home (after you are thrown out)
2. Bird in tree drops one when clicked (in park)
3. Rat hides one (in front of bar)
4. Newspaper hides one (in front of bar)
5. On pool table

And you can use these coins to buy game-related merchandise at the end of the game.

Click on the arrow in the bottom right-hand-side when done to go to the store.

Reading this thread, I can't help but think of "A bit of Fry and Laurie"'s sketch involving the school teacher and the locusts. Made me smile anyways...

As for the game, I enjoyed it. Cheers for the find.

Username, you do realize the people you cited, with your improperly referenced quotation, are coming from postings that are defending the site and basically saying that the original poster should take things in a proportional manner?

I liked this game. I was a bit stumped after getting love, music and listening, but it was quite easy. Nice graphics too, although, I was a bit disheartened that the soundbites for talking was just 'murmurmurmurmurmur' or whatever. Rip off of Team America's 'ghurkaghurkaghurkaghurka' methinks.

And, lol, people need to calm down.

Yeah I got that they were defending JIG, but I still find it laughable that people with extoll the virtues of not owning a TV when it's been an integral part of our culture for a few generations now.

My point remains the same, if you're going to leave and thumb your nose on the way out, there's no honor in doing so publically. There is a contact link at the bottom of the page and if you believe you have a legitimate grievance then use it. We take a lot for granted when it comes to free entertainment these days, hardly worth the public criticism I saw here.

Hi again Username! Okay, just wanted to point that out since you seemed to be lumping them all together with your comments. All in all we personally are much the same page. I just didn't read the ones you cited as flaming and really it seems to be only one posting that has publicly stated any issue with the site, and it seemed like you had two different issues going at once, that's all.

Dang though, hope this doesn't all distract too much from the game itself! Again it is a fun game and I recommend it. And I'm sorry if I contributed too much to the distraction (and yes the irony of my own postings contributing to this distraction is duly noted)!

I'm so glad I found all the coins! One particular spiffy item in the shop made me dance around my room. Thanks for posting this game!

Dora, I am highly offended. The cashew is a seed, not a nut: The Cashew on Wikipedia

:P Just kidding. Thanks for the fun game and the interesting dialogue!

I would just like to commend Dora for being so mature about the situation and generally being awesome.

That's all I have to say. I was tempted to put in my own two cents but I think I'll just leave it.

Is there a way to give the hobo the coins you can find?

cool game,

haha the credits show bunches of couples, the hobo gets the rat :D

Meh. I didn't like the message. But hey, it's a game, released for free, so I don't particularly care.

As for Ellen: I think your opinion is stupid, but you're certainly entitled to have it.

Tongues optional. Awesome review Dora, I might even play the game now!

I don't think JIGuest's walkthrough is quite clear enough. Let me take a crack:

Main Walkthrough

Bartender: Talk
Girl in park: Listen
Guy playing guitar in park: Talk, love
Guy playing guitar in park, again: Listen
Woman in bar: Talk, love, listen
Homeless man: Listen, sadness
Your girlfriend: Music, talk, sadness, love, anger, listen

Coin Locations

Tulips in residential area
Bird in tree in park
Rat in trash outside bar
Newspaper outside bar
Pool table in bar

I liked this game! At first I was very confused but as the game kept going game play got easier. The main character's version of the song had me in hysterics, though. xD

Maybe it's time for a Jay is KiDs Games?

I like this game. And Dora's right; the use of emotions and actions rather than items is a nice touch.

I actually really liked the game message. I didn't read as much sexism into it as I thought I would. I've definitely had the conflict with partners regarding playing too many games.

On a side note, some (unrequested) advice for Ellen Rose. Watching your daughter's net use is admirable and a difficult task, but you might consider what she will hear from her friends at school and other sources beyond your control. As a past nanny and sitter to many children your daughter's age, chances are she has seen or heard of kissing like that before and may have questions. Now is your chance to offer your opinion of such things with a safe discussion instead of finding out when she starts kissing people in high school.

I loved the game, it might be stereotypes, but well.. stereotyping came from majority of people, which means it will be so true for most. Well, just look at successful stories / movies, we will see a lot are depicting what most people or target audiences are (or it won't budge the readers).

Hehe, the discussion is amusing. I would agree with Robynthegeek, best way is to accompany them and explains to them those stuffs instead 'locking' them and they learn it from places and people you can't control.

I don't know, probably reading more into it than intended, but I thought it was trying to comment on some of the stereotypes we associate with men and women and also other stereotypes, and some interesting ones associated with videogaming.

One that I thought was interesting is that I too wanted to give my coins to the homeless man, but you actually had to listen to him and feel for him instead of some quick monetary fix to move on in the game.

Of course with any medium there is danger of trying to address stereotypes by using stereotypical characters, and the game's narrative isn't perfect. But I thought it was a nice attempt though and thoughtful.

I'm sure there was no intention of trying to address stereotyping in the game -- the characters were utterly silly, exaggeratedly stereotyped people and if I had tried to read any kind of message into the game I would have been too disgusted to finish it. But disregard the anti-message and the game was quite fun.

(As a side note, stereotypes can't "true for most" people, because no two people are the same. Stereotypes are exaggerated versions of a common denominator for more than 50% of a population, which means that more than 50% of that population may be able to relate to some facet of the stereotype. That is not the same as being "true" for anybody, and whichever stereotype you choose you will always have people who can't relate to it at all.) And that's why I think it is a good idea not to read any kind of message into the games :D

Hmm, those of you wanting to NOT to read a bit of a philosophical rambling, please skip to the end of this post!


Linnea, even though I would be open to admit I probably read more than the creator's intent, I do very much disagree with the idea that we should not try and read messages in games, or any medium for that matter. That discounts messages that were intended, such as there is obviously a play on stereotypes happening here but whether or not that is a critique or just a fun manipulation for entertainment value is the real debate. An anti-message is still a message. Nothing is devoid of meaning. And also discounts the complex and personalized individual readings of things.

Perfect example of this complexity is the all different and highly reactionary readings of this simple written and honestly intended as nothing more than a fun joke: "Tongues optional, but heartily endorsed."


Okay, now those of you who want the simple entertainment review!

I revisited the game and I still really enjoyed the game for the different approach it took in the interactions you had to initiate. Still pretty quick though and kind-of wished for more, but at the same time it wasn't too challenging which is refreshing.

The first time around I was mixed on the use of non-language for the talk, but settled into the Peanuts-like use of this mumbling.

Oh, and yes that tune STILL is stuck in my head.

Kind of reminds me of Super Princess Peach in the using of her emotions.

defenseof: Although I agree with you that we shouldn't not look for messages in games, I don't think the message has to do with sterotyping, I think the message is not to put things like video-games before your significant other, and to listen, express and communicate etc. They just used stereotypes to get this message across.

(Having said that, I think too much of the responsibility to communicate was put on the guy. When he was locked out, he had no idea why he was locked out, that may have been because he wasn't paying any attention to the Mrs, but I didn't get the impression that the Mrs even tried to tell him that she was feeling neglected at the start of the game. If she had just told him, instead of hoping he would read her mind and getting angry when he didn't, maybe he wouldn't have had to go through all of that?)

Other than the one stereotype that women expect men to be able to read their minds, the stereotypes didn't bother me too much. I don't think any of them applied to me, but that doesn't matter because the character wasn't supposed to be me. I related more to the male character, perhaps, and that's okay because that was the character I was playing, his gender didn't really have anything to do with it. Stereotyping was a tool they used for the game in order for us to understand the characters, which perhaps was needed since there wasn't any dialogue.

But I don't think the message was about stereotyping. I didn't get any of that from playing the game.

Wow, there is a very interesting conversation going on here! I think that as any piece of art, the message conveyed in it is as much coming from the author as it is coming from the reader. One example; I was surprised that so many people were looking at ways to give the coins to the homeless guy, as this was not my intention at first (in fact, the idea for the coins came much later than the idea for the homeless guy). Maybe there is some sort of "societal conditionment" in this players' reactions?

Obviously the message of the game is about communication. I didn't want to make any statement about how to "better communicate" in our life. It's more a reflection about it, to show that we are not existing alone in vacuums but all together in the same world and that we HAVE to interact in some way to learn and grow.

In my opinion (and experience) artists's statements are incomplete. That is, they don't KNOW exactly what they mean. They learn their own meaning as they create the piece and also after it is created, as other people look at it, comment and analyze it. As for me, Finding my Heart plays on stereotypes mostly because they are fun and serves my narrative purposes. Stereotypes are powerful in explaining who the characters are supposed to be and it is exactly what I needed in such a short story. For this particular project, trying to make more complex and deep characters would probably have resulted in a bland, hard to read story.

That said, please DO try and read messages in games! This is what art is for and over my life I wish that games be regarded as art. Just be aware that a message is always constructed of two protagonists: one who sends the message, and one who receives it, and that both plays an equal part in the creation of the message.

Thanks for playing my game and teaching me so much about it. :)

how do you beat the game? how do you get the anger and the guitarist? I NEED HELP!

Okay, actually about the game:

I can't get Anger! It's the only one I need, but after listening to the hobo I automatically walk away and can't interact with him, and f I try to respond while he's still venting, my guy just does the action and shrugs. Is there something I'm doing wrong? I tried asking my dude, but all he says is "Rawrawrawrawraw." Not much of a conversationalist lol

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