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Symon


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Rating: 4.1/5 (164 votes)
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DoraSymonIn Symon, a point-and-click experimental game that is part of Gambit's 2010 summer prototypes, about a bedridden hospital patient whose only escape from his room is by dreaming. His dreams aren't all happy ones; they're full of hidden meaning, regrets, "almosts" and "what-ifs". You'll have to solve a series of abstract puzzles posed to you by the strange residents of his mind in order to gather various sets of objects that Symon's dream self needs. How do you make a music box melody more melancholy? How do you show someone what it's like to be cheerful? Click to interact with Symon's dream world, and click on items in your inventory to use them. Once you've played it, go back and play it again; the offers procedurally generated content that means you'll see a number of different things each time you play.

What's unique about Symon is that it doesn't make a whole lot of sense in the traditional style of point-and-click games. The genre has always been stereotyped for having obtuse logic, but Symon is operating on an entirely different level; the sort of logic that only really is logical when you're dreaming. Think about it; dreams are rarely linear (at least as we remember them), and are frequently jumbled with symbolism and nonsense. But while you're having the dream, none of that seems strange to you. You think, "Of course the purple cow is the one who kidnapped the General's teddy-bear. Who else would do such a thing?" Symon requires to you put yourself in that particular mindset while you're playing the game, and it's a surprisingly easy adjustment to make.

It's a little disappointing, then, that Symon doesn't really have an ending. It has three different sets of items to collect for Symon's dream self, represented by the set of photos that begin to appear on the wall of the hospital room between dreams, and once you've solved all three, there's no real reason to keep playing, and the game doesn't offer up any sort of closure. Admittedly Symon is experimental, a prototype aimed at creating replayability in the genre. Still, it would have been nice to see the whole thing come together in a way that complimented the subtle stirring of emotion and memory that it evokes early on, rather than never addressing them again. I would dearly like to see the game picked up again one day and polished out with a stronger narrative that made it a story rather than an exhibition.

While it falls a little short of providing the whole package, Symon is still worth a play, both for the oddly affecting imagery, and for a clever new concept that I would love to see explored more in the future.

Play Symon

Walkthrough Guide


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Walkthrough

To make things HAPPY:

Look for something YELLOW or ORANGE

To make things HEARTBROKEN or HEALTHY:

Look for something BLUE

To make things RASPY or AWAKE:

Look for something BROWN

To make things SPICY or HOT:

Look for something RED

To make a man eating plant cough up the goods:

Look for something to make it sick

Note: items in inventory can also affect items in game and vice-versa

39 Comments

That was short.

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See what Dora wrote: you get to play three different dreams to put three different pictures on the wall: house, wife and baby. I played a fourth, but I didn't notice any change to the sickroom. It doesn't tell you it's over, as far as I can see you just get the three pictures on the wall.

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Well, time to go renew my Prozac prescription...

All in all, nicely done. An ending would definitely be nice. I'm currently oscillating between wanting to know more and being terrified of what that would mean...

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Can anyone get through the locked door?

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Walkthrough

To make things HAPPY:

Look for something YELLOW or ORANGE

To make things HEARTBROKEN or HEALTHY:

Look for something BLUE

To make things RASPY or AWAKE:

Look for something BROWN

To make things SPICY or HOT:

Look for something RED

To make a man eating plant cough up the goods:

Look for something to make it sick

Note: items in inventory can also affect items in game and vice-versa

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Ariel --

You have to collect three things to give to yourself in the hospital bed. When you've done that, the door will unlock (and you can go through it to win).

Is it possible to win every playthrough? When I played, I had a dream where

I pretty clearly needed to recolor the flowers, but I couldn't find the paint.

But I may just have overlooked something. (It was kind of late, and I may just not have explored the area that had what I needed.)

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Did anyone get the bitter chocolates? I only can have them spicy or sweet.

I'm in the third dream.

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So, if I've got this correctly, his dreams are all manifestations of guilt. I still don't get the Master Craftsman and the Frog. Any ideas?

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Can't find the inventory. :( Looks like a fun game, though.

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SonicLover Author Profile Page September 7, 2010 5:09 PM

matt w:

Never mind the paint. Why don't you use something else, like a hot desk lamp or a source of hot air?

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I need to

make the music box meloncholy

, but there's nothing to dip it into

I can make things raspy or happy, but that's it

this is getting frustrating.

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You can also make things melancholy using

a depressing book

.

You can also change the colour of things using

something strongly coloured like

a flower

.

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Yeah, there are unbeatable levels. I ran into one after clearing the storyline, which was good because I thought I was supposed to keep playing to get a real ending.

On that note, playing a game over and over *with no progression* doesn't really add replayability. And not informing the player of the fact that there is no reason to keep going is pretty nasty.

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Thanks JIG, I love these Gambit games (don't forget to go to there home page to see a list of games on the right).

This is a experimental game (Gambit is a experimental game site) about the random scenarios of dreams, the game is meant to be played as much as you like to experience different levels every time you "sleep", it's like a level generator.

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Black Drazon Author Profile Page September 7, 2010 7:39 PM

There are some levels where making changes to specific items will make the level unbeatable. Be careful!

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@ Chahlie
If you scroll over the frog, it says something to the nature of

an apology

I didn't see anything about the craftsman, but I wasn't paying attention/

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TheMusicGirl Author Profile Page September 7, 2010 10:54 PM

I do see the problem with unbeatable levels. But the music really ads to the emotion, eh?

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how do i get spicy chocolate in the third dream?
i have the blue flowers and medicine.
that's all i have left to do, but i can't find anything red, or combine anything that i had to make things red.

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I found that when I needed something "hushed,"

a blue IV drip did the trick.

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oops - I think I made a fatal error. So I

changed the flowers to red using the

heater

and then changed the ring to red, not really on purpose (I never tried to turn the ring blue first - didn't occur to me to use the flowers until AFTER I changed them to red.

Anybody know how I can change either of them back? (you can just give me a hint!) I've tried to use

both the book and then the treehouse after I turned it blue using the book

but that didn't work.
:o)

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Hi,

I believe there's a reset button in the game. So if you ever get stuck in a playthrough and really cannot go on, reseting sets the puzzle back to its original state.

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OrigamiMarie Author Profile Page September 8, 2010 9:46 AM

If you get stuck in a dream, you can always use the menu to Wake Up. It doesn't damage your game, and you get out of that confusing dream so that you can get into the next . . . confusing dream :)

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Ahh, the reset button, love that. Luckily this game isn't so difficult that resetting it isn't a big deal. However, I will play again and make the same mistake just to see if I can wake up, go to the next dream and maybe remedy my mishap. . .Thanks for the tips!

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Carny Asada Author Profile Page September 8, 2010 2:22 PM

I found the games in this puzzle oddly easy... which either makes me a dreamer or suggests I've spent too much time in Kingdom of Loathing, where it's routine to do things like make a banjo out of strings, a big rock and a wad of meat.

It needs an ending, but I found the artwork and the gameplay enjoyable.

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Sad...rather bitter sweet...and I was able to finish it.

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I really am enjoying the piano soundtrack to this; I wish it were downloadable.

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How do I find the inventory?

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wow that was very sad.
did anyone make any assumptions about what had happened based on the 3 levels?

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I played this last night, and the more I've thought about it, the more I really, really liked it, almost more as a proof-of-concept than anything else.

The gameplay itself was fine--the mood-setting was excellent, and the puzzle concept was both good and well-executed. (It did go straight from "NOTHING makes sense!" to "...oh, EVERYTHING makes sense" in one mental *plunk* for me, but mileage clearly varies.)

But what's so! cool! about this game is the concept of a point-and-click puzzle game using PROCEDURAL GENERATION to make a near-infinite number of different games on-the-fly! Obviously, lots of other genres of games have been using procedural generation for landscapes, random bad-guy encounters, and basic puzzle skins for ages, but to actually build a system where multi-step point-and-click puzzles are created on-demand? THAT IS AWESOME.

The next step, of course, is expansion on this concept. The developers came up with basically one puzzle--use Object A to effect the defined nature of Object B, then execute the puzzle solution with Object B--and deployed it with many combinations of Object As (paint can, desk lamp), defined natures (hushed, happy), and Object Bs (stuffed animal, chocolates). Cleverly, they even made a few objects available as both Object A and B. That said, it's basically one puzzle, and as I typed above, I went from zero-comprehension to total-comprehension in a single flash of understanding. If, for the next game, they were to come up with four or five basic puzzles, and then flesh each of those out the way they fleshed out this one, and allowed them to all generate among each other... Oh man. I hope they make THAT game!

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Sooo sad D: .

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what do you need to get to give symon in the "Baby" dream? i'm not asking for anything of a specific attribute.

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Bryce Herdt September 22, 2010 3:53 PM

DuneRunner- the three items you need to give yourself will always be white and softly glowing. For the baby's room, these are a crib, a mobile, and a pair of pajamas.

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i need help in the second dream. ive already got the pjs, but i dont kno what to do from their. ive already helped the frog

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Interesting. TWO Things

1. The clock on the wall when you are awake is right.

2. The television will lead to the credits. I don't think the game actually ends though

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I am completely stuck but I really don't want to use the reset button, as I'm almost done with this particular dream sequence...I need to wake up the 2 children with the balloon,

and I know you need to use something brown...but ALL the things are orange, and I cannot figure out how to turn ANYTHING brown

Has ANYONE had this come up in a sequence OR had this particular dream all together? Can you tell me how to do it?

I know you can use something of strong color

but I can find nothing like that at all!

not the iv drip, not the tree house, not anything except trees and I tried clicking on all of that

sorry this was so long...I'm just so frustrated! I do love challenging games though ;) and this is a great concept!

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OMG This game is frustrating!!! I accidentally made the stuffed rabbit blue in sequence 2 and now I cannot make those goddamn children happy!!!! HELP!!!!

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I played roughly 15 levels because I was looking for an ending before I looked it up... They need some kind of identifier saying "Ok you're done... You can keep playing for another hour but nothing will happen..."

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who has the Baby crib? PLEASE HELP! its the only thing i need!!!!

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daygib91 Author Profile Page July 18, 2012 5:15 PM

actually to change things back to normal use the cuckoo clock yes i discovered that myself

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