pOnd


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Rating: 4/5 (106 votes)
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pOnd

I delight in the smalle things,
the shape of a leafe,
the curl of sunlight on the grasses.

I set out before dawne, one foot afore the other,
to see what wonders the day might holde.

Play pOnd

Walkthrough Guide


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

pOnd Walkthrough

  1. Hold [spacebar] to breathe in.

  2. Let go of [spacebar] to breathe out and begin the epic journey to the pOnd.

  3. Hold [spacebar] again. Or don't. At this point you have done all you need to do to trigger a sequence of events that are inevitably out of your control. You may think you have control, but ultimately, you will reach your final destination whether you choose to breathe or not. Pondering whether or not life imitates art, or art imitates life, or video games imitate art, or if art is really nothing more than a contingency plan based on the tattered humanoid existence doesn't really matter at the pOnd.

    IT... just is...

    "What... is... IT?
    IT's it."

    -Mike Patton

    Congratulations. You've beaten nothing. And everything. That's art for ya...

The Real Walkthrough:

From the start screen, hold space until you breathe in all of the letter, then release. If you hold space for too long after the orbs have infested your lungs, you'll flash red, which I think is bad.

On the next three screens, every time glowing orbs appear, hold space until they are all in your lungs, then release. For the first screen, you'll see first one, then two, then three, then four orbs. Screens two (hills) and three (forest) go up to 5 orbs.

If you got ALL of the orbs in every screen, you'll now reach the pond. (If you didn't, you get a bit of poetry and go back to start.) Again, breathe in all the orbs when they appear, then release. Do this a few times until a huge number of orbs appear. Breathe them in until they turn red, then release.

Shake out your hands a bit while the kraken rises and grabs you. When the health bars appear, smack the space bar like MAD. You won't beat the kraken by a large margin, no matter how fast you mash that button.

Once you beat the kraken, a big orb and a big-nosed man appear. The man tells you to "hold space". Do so until the next cutscene begins. If you release space too soon, you will die.

Behold the glory of the final cutscene. If you fail to do this, kangaroos appear in your freezer and poop in all of your ice cream.

84 Comments

Ooooooooookay... that was interesting.

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SonicLover Author Profile Page July 15, 2010 12:20 PM

WOW this is taking a long time to load. If it takes longer to load than to play I'm not going to be happy.

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Just a word of advice: make sure you play the game until you get to the pond. If you haven't gotten to the pond, your game ended too early.

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SonicLover Author Profile Page July 15, 2010 12:35 PM

It's still loading. Am I being pranked or is there a reasonable explanation for these ridiculous loading times?

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SpaceMan July 15, 2010 12:38 PM

Maybe this is made by something other than Flash. Though I won't judge it 'til I play it.

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Asthanius July 15, 2010 12:38 PM

If it takes too long to load, just download it with the links. It loads immediately when downloaded. Also, the ending was...a surprise. I'll give it that.

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"This account has been suspended" Guess we'll never know, now.

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SonicLover Author Profile Page July 15, 2010 12:48 PM

Okay, I got it fully loaded and played it through. Twice now.

...I still think I'm being pranked.

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SpaceMan July 15, 2010 12:52 PM

Played it (twice too). The music in the end made me think this game was a joke, but who knows, beside makes me think of Werther.

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I'm confused.

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Kitsune Zeta Author Profile Page July 15, 2010 1:12 PM

For those of you wondering where the ending quote comes from and/or why it is being used, here's two very relevant articles, spoilered so as not to ruin the surprise:

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Mine changes music and goes back to the title screen. Is that it?

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Jonny_s Author Profile Page July 15, 2010 1:18 PM

Unfortunately there is no way my dial-up can handle a 30mb+ flash game... I guess I'll never know what this cryptic post is referring to.

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only loading 40% and it been about 15min...

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JohnB, you might want to give this the "interactive art" tag in addition to the "art" tag, since the "interactive art" tag is used in the JiG Tags dropdown.

And yeah, download it from one of the mirrors. I used the mirror listed as Mirror #1 and can vouch for it working.

As to the piece itself: interesting, sort of pretty, but the "breathe along with your character in this relaxation game" bit is really spoiled by the fact that your character stops breathing during the long non-interactive cut scenes. If you could actually control your character's breath for the uninterrupted length of the piece, and pace it to your own breath like the game suggests, it'd have been much better.

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Anonymous July 15, 2010 1:29 PM

just downloaded the game instead of waiting for it to load online... got to what i think was the end and am rather confused now

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Not to mention what happens when you get to the pond.

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Anonymous July 15, 2010 1:45 PM

Halfway decent mood piece, but...

While I think I got to the pond, the poem said there's more left to find. Since it ended abruptly the first time I tried it (due to failing to breathe out in time) I figured this was yet another didn't-quite-do-it-right ending (since I didn't breathe in all the spheres). So I did it again, this time being careful to breathe them all in (except I'm not 100% certain due to the moment the guy walks behind the tree). Same result. Did I actually reach the end or what?

...quite annoying that you can't really tell if you've reached the "end".

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This is the most beautiful game JIG has reviewed for a long while. The ending brought a tear to my eye.

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freesia July 15, 2010 1:59 PM

ok, that was creepy, thought it was a relaxing game -- didn't expect such an unhappy ending...

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sandsnake Author Profile Page July 15, 2010 2:05 PM

That was somewhat inscrutable.

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What the heck?

a kraken? really? totally ruins the mood. I got killed by it, so not sure i've seen the end, but don't have the patience to go again.

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menschenjaeger July 15, 2010 2:35 PM

Used the cached google page to find the mirror, downloaded it, and

beat the kraken

. The quote at the end was kind of funny, but...I dunno. Basically a geek joke? Even worse, having played it, I think the title might be a play on "pwned." Wince.

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WTF? This is terrible! The visuals are beautiful, yes. The poetry is evocative in the way that good poetry is. The gameplay is moronic and moves at glacial speeds. I played through twice. The first time, I got so bored waiting for the depressed guy to cross the screen that I started experimenting with holding his breath, which caused him to flash red, and breathing shallowly, causing some orbs to vanish instead of being inhaled. Then I read the "if you haven't found the pond, you stopped to early" comment, so I tried again. I patiently waited for every group of orbs to appear, then I carefully inhaled all of them, and got the white flash every time. Nothing ne... HOLY CRAP!

Um...

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pOnd Walkthrough

  1. Hold [spacebar] to breathe in.

  2. Let go of [spacebar] to breathe out and begin the epic journey to the pOnd.

  3. Hold [spacebar] again. Or don't. At this point you have done all you need to do to trigger a sequence of events that are inevitably out of your control. You may think you have control, but ultimately, you will reach your final destination whether you choose to breathe or not. Pondering whether or not life imitates art, or art imitates life, or video games imitate art, or if art is really nothing more than a contingency plan based on the tattered humanoid existence doesn't really matter at the pOnd.

    IT... just is...

    "What... is... IT?
    IT's it."

    -Mike Patton

    Congratulations. You've beaten nothing. And everything. That's art for ya...

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What. The. F.

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It's fitting that a parody of badly programmed art games is itself badly programmed.

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Seriously, this is more like Darth Vader's leisurely stroll through Alderaan, until he got mad and blew it up.

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Alright...! First walkthrough!

Took a bit of time, but you all are worth it...

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SydneyGB July 15, 2010 3:35 PM

(can't login for some dumb reason)

I don't get anything but the 'press space to start', which causes the breathing sound. Press space, release space, hold space down, let go, all that happens is I see the 'press space to start'.

Very much not worth the age it took to download in the browser. I was hoping for some kind of, I dunno, experience. Does it not like Linux?

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SpaceMan July 15, 2010 3:35 PM

John B, did you play the game before putting the poem as a review?
I'm... disappointed that this game changed course drastically after a few scenes. Like, it's a very peaceful game, and suddenly... Rock music and a splash!, "The End" (or is it?).

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Sheer_Cold July 15, 2010 3:41 PM

So I left to go breathe in the nature of my surroundings, and as I did, all of the life in the land seemed to burst forth greeting me. I went over a hill, through a forest, and to a pond. And then there was a kraken. So I beat the kraken by hyperventilating, then I went home and played video games for the rest of the night.

...Next time you make an art game, either stick with the "go outside nature is amazing" or the "games will make us violent instantly because they mimic life" scenarios. Mixing them causes confusion.

Thoughts and feelings after playing the game.^

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It says "Server not found" for me... anyone else having this issue? :/

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Username Author Profile Page July 15, 2010 4:15 PM

This "game" well and truly sucked. Blurry graphics and useless "game" play that takes forever and a day to load.

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Anonymous July 15, 2010 4:22 PM

Ok not sure if its a joke or not, The page just wont load. I'm having the exact same problem as Emily. Someone help!

[The server the game is being hosted on is getting a huge influx of traffic and is the reason for the long loading times. It's not a joke. Best advice: if at first you don't succeed (to get the page to load), try again later. -Jay]

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Lindsey July 15, 2010 4:23 PM

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

(no, actually I really enjoyed that. Funny as all heck.)

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Anonymous July 15, 2010 4:26 PM

Might have figured out the problem. theres TONS of web traffic on peanutgallery games.com so thats why its probably not loading, wait a few days and the traffic should die down

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It appears that not everyone enjoys this game, but thought it was genius. The first parts was beautiful and peaceful and could be considered an experience all it's own, but the ending was down-right hilarious. It was nice, relaxing, and funny. Three of my favorite emotions. I guess I just have different tastes then everyone else.

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All right. It seems to progress to the next area, you have to breathe in all the little orbs. Otherwise the game just ends after the given area with a little blurb of "poetry" (Ie: talking with extra line breaks and vowels). Yet for me the game just ends after the third screen with an audible splash. Hm.

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A. Alaalas July 15, 2010 7:25 PM

Ebert retracted his general statement about art/games, but that doesn't matter because Pond is not art; perhaps it could be with a little more or a little less thought.

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Infant Tyrone Author Profile Page July 15, 2010 7:31 PM

Took forever to load, even with the mirrors. And oddly the posted walk-through helped not at all. The gameplay was impossible. No thank you.

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...I don't follow. I've played it through three times now, being sure to inhale all the little glowing orbs. The first time I played through, nothing happened. The second two times, I got to the "end" and I got the same bit of poetry referring to there being "more," but this time there was a splash and music changed drastically. But then it just went back to "press space to start" with the obnoxiously loud music.

Wakarimasen...

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The Real Walkthrough:

From the start screen, hold space until you breathe in all of the letter, then release. If you hold space for too long after the orbs have infested your lungs, you'll flash red, which I think is bad.

On the next three screens, every time glowing orbs appear, hold space until they are all in your lungs, then release. For the first screen, you'll see first one, then two, then three, then four orbs. Screens two (hills) and three (forest) go up to 5 orbs.

If you got ALL of the orbs in every screen, you'll now reach the pond. (If you didn't, you get a bit of poetry and go back to start.) Again, breathe in all the orbs when they appear, then release. Do this a few times until a huge number of orbs appear. Breathe them in until they turn red, then release.

Shake out your hands a bit while the kraken rises and grabs you. When the health bars appear, smack the space bar like MAD. You won't beat the kraken by a large margin, no matter how fast you mash that button.

Once you beat the kraken, a big orb and a big-nosed man appear. The man tells you to "hold space". Do so until the next cutscene begins. If you release space too soon, you will die.

Behold the glory of the final cutscene. If you fail to do this, kangaroos appear in your freezer and poop in all of your ice cream.

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Daphne B. July 15, 2010 8:47 PM

I couldn't reach the pond until I

played *im*perfectly. I turned red once in the woods and then exhaled too soon (with 2 out of 4 orbs).

So, I dunno? Random maybe?

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Gamemastertips Author Profile Page July 15, 2010 10:34 PM

That was freaking hilarious. I have no bloody clue what that game was supposed to be about. I'm not really sure whether it's a parody, "art," or some profound message. All I know, is that it was the weirdest game I have ever played. (P.S. the loading time was still worth it.)

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My experience:

First play through -

I breathed, but imperfectly, through the opening sequence. Got through the house level, through the meadow, and to the end of the forest. At the end of the forest, I didn't start breathing in the orbs early enough, and he ended up choking while the screen cut to black. I never got to the pond - instead, the little guy was walking back to his house and went inside to watch TV (or so I interpreted it). I found that very sad. It seemed to me that because I didn't breath right (take in all that nature had to offer), instead of getting to the pond, my little guy gave up and went back inside, casting off all the good things of life. I thought it was very poignent.

Second play through -

Had a rough time with the game play the second time, and didn't make it past the meadow. There was a bit of poetry about wishing to see what was beyond, but no sequence about the guy going home. I figured that the closer you got to the goal of reaching the pond, the more sad it was when you failed, that the little guy was giving up on real life after getting so close to experiencing it but missing. I *wanted* to reach that pond, to see what his life would be like after he got there.

Third play through -

Having reached the pond, I had him breathe, watched the beautiful background animation, wondered how he was going to inhale that enormous pile of orbs, and watched him get eaten by a kraken. "You have died." Yeah, no kidding! You think *your* brain could switch gears that fast?!

I played it through one more time just to get the "real" ending, and found myself both totally amused and *hating* this game.

Personally, I think a game like this makes all the attempts to own people with "Burn the Rope" look very, very sad. This was considerably more successful.

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SpaceMan July 15, 2010 11:15 PM

I think I got it, the guy enjoys nature until it starts attacking him, so in the end he chose to play video games or watch TV and stay inside, this changing the mind of roger about video games. I still think the game could've done better if it was all about peaceful nature instead of incomprehensible game overs and random scenes. Though that is my opinion, 4 mushes.

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Paul O'Brian July 16, 2010 12:13 AM

This should NOT be rated kidsafe.

[What would you rate it? -Jay]

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arceus121121 Author Profile Page July 16, 2010 12:21 AM

Moral of the story:

anybody who is so emo as to understand anything before the pond scene WILL get pwnt.

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Reminds me of those websites where it tells you to spot the differences in a picture, and you stare at it for five seconds, then it turns into a scary face and shrieks.

I do really like the beginning in and of itself, though.

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What. The. Heck??!?

Very zen and relaxing...

until the KRAKEN! I managed to beat it on my first encounter, but it made my brain (not to mention fingers) hurt. The sudden jarring into the metal music was genius.

@John, completely off topic, but technically it was Grand Moff Tarkin who destroyed Alderaan, not Vader. Jes' sayin'. (Yes, I am a Star Wars geek who has way too much time on his hands)

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Paul O'Brian July 16, 2010 12:46 AM

[Re: "What would YOU rate it?"]

Orange, for the

violence.

I use those ratings to help me decide what's safe to play with my five-year-old, and he would have been

seriously frightened by the sudden appearance of a scary monster, transformation into a faux-fighting game, the PC spurting blood, etc. I'm not objecting to the game (though IMO it was sort of juvenile and lame), but the rating. That rating needs to reflect the whole game, not just the first half, even if doing so is mildly spoilery.

I don't say that to be adversarial -- just an observation that some people really do rely on those ratings to help decide what to play with the kids, including pretty young kids.

[Thank you, Paul, I'll update the review accordingly. I asked because I haven't had the time to play this one myself yet. I'll have a word with the reviewer about choosing a better rating next time. Cheers! -Jay]

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Thanks so much! I appreciate the opportunity to give feedback, and the fact that you're so open and responsive to it.

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I think if I had to breath in even one more orb I would have gotten bored and stopped playing. As it was...I had a good chuckle at the ending. Very silly game. 10 minutes well spent.

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That was fantastic. I cracked up laughing when I saw the ending! :D

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clickety6 Author Profile Page July 16, 2010 5:20 AM

I quite enjoyed breathing along with the little fellow - it was quite relaxing and could be quite a nice technique for stress release if the first part of the game was released with more pretty scenes to stroll through and relax.

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Mindblowing.

Now I have to play it again to see the bad ending. :)

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The title pOnd is

a parody of flOw, isn't it?

Anyway, meh. I prefer Raitendo's art-game parodies, partly because they don't take as much time.

The instruction to turn your speakers up was kind of a giveaway for me that something loud was going to happen, along with the fairly ugly visuals and poor spelling of the poem.

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Anonymous July 16, 2010 12:34 PM

Play on Pwned, anyone? Sadly, I carefully breathed in all of the orbs and turned blue each time, yet I couldn't get to the kraken ending. Maybe if I were to do it imperfectly then I could get the kraken ending? I personally loved the graphics and thought it was quite beautiful. Especially the fact that with each set of orbs you breathe in a small touch like more sunlight, birds, or a rabbit appears. Maybe the reason is that I am paying more attention to nature or something so I see the kraken and go no further? I don't get eaten because of that? Whatever it is, parody or otherwise, it was beautiful.

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Has anyone else gotten the

"Ultimate Failure" achievement unlocked

thing? It came up for me after I "successfully" failed to complete every part at which the game can conceivably reset (fail to breathe at the very first orb, fail to breathe at the very first screen, etc.) But I'm not 100% sure that was what got it. It might have been based on number of playthroughs or something.
Either way, I definitely understand the title now.

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This was a great "game". Thankfully, the entire project was executed sincerely, and none of it felt like a cheap gimmick.

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imp-ay-shunt July 16, 2010 9:25 PM

Frankly, I don't have the patience to wait for this game to load.
15 minutes and it was still only at 34%.

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MAN I thought it was going to be some great DEEP game, that had all this meaning and stuff. INSTEAD

I "breath" in all the floaty thingers, and WHAT do i get?!?!? A giant Squid trying to eat me alive, and I have to hit the stupid spacebar to "defeat" it!!!!!!!!!

so VERY disappointing for me!
I am going to go and pout now!!

well I guess, cuz I always say this
~keep em comin jay!
;D

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I had a feeling there would be something special about this game, something to warrant the lack of a review. Well, I'm certainly glad I went into this one blind.

pOnd, in its parodic splendor, somehow delivered as much of an emotional impact as anything I've played lately. The head over heels transformation of the game left me actually gasping for air (no thanks to trying to take it seriously as a breathing game); the turn it took into the bizarre and almost horrifying "fighting" sequence weighed heavy in my chest, unable to resolve itself as simply amusing or shocking.

By this logic, a "screamer" could have artistic merit; yet pOnd feels different. I was initially disappointed with it as an art game, its varied resolutions, cheap animations, and inanely handled breathing mechanic all glared in the face of a purportedly stellar experience. In retrospect, the amateurish errors and inconsistent aesthetic (and unnecessary imitation of Middle English) should have given it away; the details like the poorly-animated, unpixelated rabbit hopping along the pond's edge were like conspirators' chortles in the background before the big reveal. It's made me start questioning how forgiving I've become with the "art game" genre. That may be what's weighing on me the most.

Ultimately, pOnd's message, whatever you twist it to be, is hilarious, and it's left me feeling something I can hardly describe (though "pwned" seems fitting). I commend it.

So thanks for sharing it!

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Xaon Rider Author Profile Page July 17, 2010 5:49 AM

I had to play it a few times through to get to the "real" ending.

I seriously thought it was a very relaxing zen-like game until the kraken part just stunned me. The first thought i had was WTF!!!
and what a lousy game/prank this was. It was only after a while of thinking then i started to appreciate the game.

I won't say that i like the game, but i'll say that it was interesting. Like art, i suppose.

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A welcome riposte to all the bad 6th form poetry masquerading as "art" games

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PlasmaSheep Author Profile Page July 17, 2010 2:13 PM

Uh, definitely unusual. Poor spelling is not poor spelling, just old English.

Do not think it is a play on "pwnd", since everyone knows that "pwnd" is pronounced "owned" (the keys o and p are right next to each other).

I did not enjoy this, very slow, bad graphics, suspicious PC (large coat with a knife underneath?) and a terrible ending.

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barbara Author Profile Page July 17, 2010 2:22 PM

I don't know how many stars to give this.

On the one hand, 5 stars because

it's very funny and I laughed out loud when the kraken and loud music appeared.

On the other hand, 1 star because

it's too hard to beat the kraken. Hitting the space bar even with two hands made my hands sore.

And because it's too slow at the beginning, and I just don't have the patience to go through the whole thing a fifth time.

(My fourth time,

I didn't hold the space bar quick enough when the cartoon man told me to. There wasn't much, if any, of a kraken death scene to reward my space-barring, so I'm not going to bother to find out what would happen if I go through the boredom of the breathing part yet again and the pain of beating the kraken yet again.

)

So, 3 stars.

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Anonymous July 17, 2010 2:30 PM

Actually, I don't know if it's a play on pwned, but the majority of people I know who say it out say it with the p so it's poned. I guess you can say it either way. I've played through it ten times now and I still can't get the pwning ending. Personally I thought the pixelated graphics were pretty.

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Best game I have ever played. I would play it again, but the experience just wouldn't be the same the second time through. A second experience would ruin it, but I'm glad I got to experience the first time. Five stars. Everyone should play this. Well, everyone old enough to truly feel the experience.

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Canimia Author Profile Page July 18, 2010 2:43 AM

This game was really great.

Although I don't know why so many people don't like it - what's wrong with a good joke?

Anyway, suprisingly fun, despite a long load time.

Also, I kind of wondered if maybe the load time itself wasn't part of the joke? It added to the idea that you might get an amazing gaming experience, and in the end it's all a gag? I dunno, just throwing in my opinion. ;)

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Parody of flOw. http://jayisgames.com/archives/2006/03/flow.php

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ReverendTed Author Profile Page July 18, 2010 4:38 PM

I got to the pond, watched the screen scroll and the character stop on the left side of the screen and thought, "Heh, I must be jaded and cynical, because this seems like a great place for a boss fight."
Imagine my delight a few breaths later.

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CatalystParadox Author Profile Page July 18, 2010 4:44 PM

That was exactly what I needed to improve my day. I recommend this game for anyone who's feeling a bit down, to just breathe, and adjust your perspective.

If you feel like its not working, just keep going, keep breathing - play it through, it's worth it.

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BlueberryJamster Author Profile Page July 18, 2010 8:22 PM

gorgeous

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zbeeblebrox Author Profile Page July 19, 2010 3:43 AM

Oh man, this was awesome.

I'm totally pranking all my friends with this game.

What's brilliant about it is how quickly it sets itself up as a slow-paced art game before you even load it up. The nonchalant way it hints that this game is already popular around the world in social circles you'll never be part of, the 'starving artist'-esque thanks to the people who lent bandwidth, etc.

Everything just pushes the "this is relaxing" element, over and over. Usually, when that happens (like with Quest for the Crown), you catch on pretty quick that something's off. But by making the majority of the setup interactive rather than as a preamble, it totally sells it. It also helps that the art and effects are evocative. So much so, I can imagine that the ending could honestly make some people (who have strong opinions for this sort of subgenre) kind of angry :D Which just makes it all the better!

Also, nice catch Sky, I knew the title seemed familiar

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Anonymous July 19, 2010 8:40 AM

For those who have problems with holding space (on Linux): hold space together with some key. For me it worked with left arrow

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what a surprise! you got me and it is not even april fool! D:

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Anonymous July 28, 2010 3:06 PM

Thanks for the tip about holding left arrow and space for Linux. Worked for me. Took me two tries to get to the end. It'd be a nice mood piece except for the part that's not so relaxing. :) Funny, if frivolous.

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Acidifiers Author Profile Page August 7, 2010 8:06 PM

It's like cleaning out the pipes till the innards glow, then blasting hot steam and pixie dust out of them.

Refreshing.

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Sorry for those who like this game, but I thought it was horrible!!! :( Especially that it turned out to be more of a joke than a real game.

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Anonymous October 3, 2010 11:03 AM

I have to say, the ending ruined it for me. I understand the idea, but I was actually enjoying the landscape. Meh...

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This was amazing. Very deep. Really gave me time out of my day to just think. This is a nice simple concept; just breathe and think. It really is worth it to just play through to the end. Really makes you think about your life, your choices, and the results of appathy and/or indifference. Such a peaceful game. I wouldn't play it with children though, as they would get bored quickly and wouldn't be mature enough to understand the zen-like qualities of this. This was so relaxing and really just made my day a whole lot better. :)

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Okaaay... That was... strange. But I loved the

Kraken part as it seems to be what makes it unique to other games like this.

The only part I don't like has to be

having to breathe in all of the orbs to get to the Kraken. Oh, and the spacebar mashing at the end. Ouch.

But all in all, this was a very unique game!

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