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4.2/5 (31 votes)
To Start: Click on "Map" then select "Game" from the drop down menu

Gwen

Gwen is a surprisingly gorgeous surrealistic adventure composed of richly detailed scenes filled with art, animation, sound and interactivity. With an over-arching narrative that borrows from the teachings and beliefs of Buddahism, this point-and-click game has more soul to reveal than most other games of its type. From Taiwan.

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66 Comments

Hmm.. surrealistic games aren't really my style, but I can appreciate how people try to create a totally immersive atmosphere through a computer screen. It's amazing the time and effort people put into these things, and the results are very satisfying. They have a guestbook, too... I thought that was a nice touch.

interesting

hey everyone

Thanks, Eric. I didn't try a different browser, though I probably should have.

And I did see the team of designers by clicking on the map, though I don't remember seeing their names. I'll have to check again. cheers!

Reload problems with Safari, too. Wont be able to play this until I get back to some WiFi and download a crappy browser... like IE 7. One strike against the game, although, from what little I saw It is pretty cool and creepy.

The link appears to be broken, I tried going from here (both links) and via http://flash.plasticthinking.org/2006/07/gwen.html, but I get the same result. I'll have to try again later :(

yeah, like the guy above I also got a broken link. I kept clicking and I ended up getting to what I think is a hosting website.

:[

hi! everything is in chinese letters!"!!!
how do i find the game?

oh my fetchin heck...I got eaten by the plant on the first screen out of no where, and I jumped outta my skin and peed my pants.

Well, again we see content disappearing once the collective gets word of something nice like this. The developers' server bandwidth has likely been exceeded due to the size of this piece (>10MB) and therefore taken offline, hopefully only temporarily so.

In the meantime, I managed to find most of the files on another site and am mirroring them here ONLY UNTIL the rightful developers of Gwen get it back online. The problem, though, is that you have to click on "Map" and then "Game" to start. There seems to be a file missing, but the game appears to be fully intact.

I was playing this yesterday - and I think I may have hit a dead end also...

In the room with the candles, I have blown out the 4 candles, and clicked on the skulls to rearrange the skills in a path in the lava, but then cannot do anything else help!

Goldenballs:

you need to click on something else once all the skulls are gone

try smashing one of the bugs crawling on the ground

Thanks Jay -

I guess I need to change the contrst on my screen as I cant see anything in the shadows

Loved the scenery. Got past the beating heart to the glow ball that infuses into the worshiper and it ends. There must be some cultural thing going on here that I do not get. Is Nirvana slipping into the worshiper's heart?

Nice game! Can someone post a translation of the ending text?

hi jay
i know this has nothing to do with anything lol
but i was looking through your archives
and you adn this site have come a really long way
around 2003 nobody really left any comments
but now there are always at least 30 comments
just wanted to say its a great site
and keep doing what your doing!

Thank you, sara! =)

We certainly have come a long way, and I hope it's just the beginning!

Can someone translate the final screen?

Translation
Something like this, cos the words are not easy to understand, could be from some buddhist sciptures,

If all fates does not cease to exist,
all illustrations does not distiguish.

If all fates does not cease to exist,
all mortal life does not grow.

Hmm... wan, I think your translation of the ending text is a bit off, so I'll try to revise it a little.

Warning: the post you're about to read is very long (as you can already see), and could get a little academic, and maybe is boring to some. You have been warned! :P

This game is obviously based on certain Buddism world views, and either trying to express some personal interpretation of Buddism beliefs/scriptures, or trying to educate the general public on them (not sure which, possibly both); although I won't claim to understand exactly what those views are since I don't study Buddism, and the game is rather obscure in its delivery of its message. What I do have is a knowledge of Chinese, and very limited contact with Buddism views through some media (novels, etc), and perhaps a small understanding of what little I have come into contact with. Thus said, I provide the below to the best of my knowledge and anyone better qualified is welcome to correct or expand on my post.

First of all the name of the game is actually "观", spelled phonetically guan, which means "to see", or "look". Here I would understand it as "view", perhaps both referring to the Buddism view of the world, and meaning to look inwardly, as an inner-reflection of self.

Now for the ending text (starting from the right side):
诸缘若未绝,纵幻亦不灭。
诸缘若未绝,世-亦不"。

I would translate this as:
If all karma does not end, even illusions will not dissolve.
If all karma does not end, all worldly birth will also cease.

"缘" can be translated as both "fate", and "karma"(by my understanding there is also another special meaning of the character unique to Chinese or far-Eastern culture, but that's not the focus here), but there is a definite difference between the two, with "karma" better suited for the situation. Merriam-Webster defines "karma" as "the force generated by a person's actions held in Hinduism and Buddhism to perpetuate transmigration and in its ethical consequences to determine the nature of the person's next existence", but that's doesn't entirely cover the whole meaning of karma, or at least of the character here. Buddism believes that all things are connected, their actions/reactions, emotional ties, or relations etc affecting and connecting everything together; all mortal life is born and reborn in an endless cycle (called "samsara") until they can sever those ties and rise up from the toils, emotions and desires of the mortal flesh to achieve Nirvana. Thus, for the first sentence, here it's bascially saying, in a broad sense, that if those ties are not severed(for everyone and everything), the illusions of the world (such as emotions, desires, temptations), despite being unreal, will not dissolve (as illusions should do). But I had some trouble with understanding the second sentence, since based on what I understand about karma and samsara, when all karma ends, so should samsara, or the endless birth and rebirth of mortal life, so that sentence would be contradictory to the first one. So to better understand the text, I did a web search on the first sentence, and lo and behold, I found the original text which was indeed part of a Buddism scripture (part of a scripture of the Tibetian sect of Buddism actually, which was what I originally suspected, based on the style of the religious building in the first part of the game). It seems the authors of the game had misquoted, and the original text was actually:
诸缘若未绝,纵幻亦不灭,
诸缘若断绝,-中亦不"。

Which translates basically the same, except for the second part: "If all karma ENDS, then all birth within the mortal world will also cease."


P.S. Perhaps we'll further understand the game if the story behind it could be known, but I just now tried clicking on the story link on the website several times and each time all I get is a loading symbol and afterwards--nothing on the black background. Not sure if it's my browser's problem or what, but since everything else on the site seems to load normally, maybe it's the site's problem.

Oh and almost forgot, this is a rather simple "game" and if you look closely and click on everything you can find, you should get through to the end without any problems. In case there's anything you get stuck on, there's always the in-game hints, located in the upper left corner, with a white ?. Click on that and it will show you the steps to get through each part that requires user input, with the picture hints being pretty self-explanatory. Those who might have technical difficulties getting through the game, I've discovered that switching the web page to another window while the game is loading or in-between scenes tends to get it stuck, if this happens, just reload the game from the beginning, and make sure you don't switch windows while playing.

The site does have a guestbook, but it's not yet online, otherwise I would have left a message inquiring about the missing "story" section of the game, and point out the authors' misquote in the ending.

Wow. Excellent analysis, Reverie. It seems very plausible based on your explanation, including your rephrasing of the ending text. Thank you for the contribution to the discussion.

As for the missing story, at present I am mirroring an incomplete version of the original site that I managed to find once the site went down shortly after posting the review. This is often the case when finding excellent new pieces, especially when the files are very large as they are for Gwen. Hopefully the complete site will surface again soon and we'll get the full story.

Until then, this version of the original site will have to suffice.

Oh, I see. Thanks, jay. I'd read your post about mirroring the site, but I didn't realize the original site was still down at this time. I was considering writing to the authors of the game to inquire about the missing story and express some of my comments, but I'm glad I came back here to check this out again before I did.

I wish I could contact the authors of the game, though my efforts came up empty handed. I tried searching Google with some of the Chinese characters you posted in your previous comment, but it didn't turn up anything.

Please let me know if you find anything. Cheers!

Umm... sorry for another extra post again, but just thought I'd mention I noticed the changes in the site. :) Seems to be easier to find the game you're looking for now, although I haven't tried it out much yet. (Just returning for a look here after a month or so of absence.) But format seems to act a little weird on my Maxthon (IE intergrated and much improved browser), with the ad content filtering turned on, the entire side bar has disappeared from the left side and moved to the bottom of the page. @_@ (The ad content filtering is simply to block advertisment graphics and banners from appearing on page by filtering them out based on keywords on a list. Normally the blocked ads will simply not download and the space is either left blank or squeezed out altogether, with the web page appearing much cleaner, and usually in the way it was suppose to be viewed.)

The authors' contact info appears under the "staff" section under the "map" of the site. If you click on the individual pictures of the authors, three out of the four have contact info, including telephone! :P
Two of them have additional websites listed, but one seems to be not yet online, as there is no domain forwarding, and the other... seems to be just small an online album of pictures. Anyways, I think I'll drop them a collective letter to all that have emails provided, and hope it gets through to at least one of them. I'll be sure to let them know the site is down as well, although I think them should have discovered that by now.

Thanks for the bug report, Reverie.

It's tough making Web pages compatible with everyone's browser. I am happy to say that my site appears normal in many of the major browsers: IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Camino, because I use all of them to test my site whenever I make changes.

That being said, I do know there is some overlap with the two page divs that have caused the sidebar to drop down to the bottom of the page.

Unfortunately, without a Maxthon system to test on, I am left no choice but to leave it unsupported for now. My apologies for the way it looks to you. =(

lol, jay, it's no big deal, and certainly not a big problem if I'm the only one who sees the site this way. I know how hard it can be to build a site these days, with all the different kinds of browsers and lacking a truely uniform standard for things. But honestly, I just had a thought and tried the website on plain old IE, without anything extra, and unfortunately the side bar still appears that way, moving way down to the bottom of the page. So it's not the ad content filtering after all, I was wondering about that, as there seemed to be no ads presend on the side bar, so it shouldn't affect anything there.
As for Maxthon, I know how some people hate IE, and to be honest I'm not a fan either, but it's the browser the most sites and content function with, (besides, it's there when you first install Windows, so I figured I might as well use it), and also after the customization and numerous improvements with Maxthon, you wouldn't even recognize it anymore! ;) In any case, Maxthon is a great browser that intergrates IE, and after getting it comfortably customized, I truely feel it's even better than most of the major browsers out there, at least in terms of customization and user-friendlyness, and I'm reluctant to switch to anything else now. For those who still stick with IE for whatever reason, I strongly recommend you give [URL=http://www.maxthon.com/]Maxthon[/URL] a try. There are many user created plugins to extend the fuctions as well, although the browser itself has already developed to a very mature stage, with so many convenient functions buit-in. And for anyone else, as long as you have IE in your system, you should be able to install and use Maxthon normally as well. (It's completely free, and very small, only 2~3MB after installation.)

What version of IE are you running, Reverie?

I have tested the latest versions of IE (6: XP SP2, and the beta for 7), and they both render my site properly.

I would rather not go into a rant here about how much lost productivity IE has cost me over the years trying to work around it's unacceptably poor compliance with standards. All I will say is that IE is finally rendering my pages without need for hacks and workarounds, and that makes me happy. So if you're not using a recent version of IE, I recommend that you upgrade.

There is a problem with the Millenium version of Windows and IE 6 that causes the same issue that you described. I won't be fixing that anytime soon.

Jay, I think I'm addicted to your website. is there a support group for this kind of thing?

haha anyway, thank you for your game reviews and giving me something to do when I can't sleep.

Jay, I am very sad. I just got my WiFi back and it appears the link is broken. On three different machines, two Windows™(lol :() machines and one Mac. Three different browsers (Safari, Firefox and then IE 6.) Help me! I want to play this game!!!

Oops. It appears that Dreamhost is down (again), that's where Fizzlebot is hosted.

That's why I moved this site to Media Temple back in January. Well, when they get it back online, then you'll be able to play. Sorry.

Hmmm... that's good to know, as I was considering using Dreamhost as my host for a site I am going to start sometime soon. If I ever get enough time (though it may seem to you as though I have too much time on my hands!)

I'm still stuck on "level 1" (the first screen). How silly of me.

That stupid venus flytrap is in the way.

yup yup Reverie this game is probably talking about tibetian buddhism because The design of the temple and the designs on the flags on the doors are tibetian (in the first screen)

hi1
already stuck in the first screen...
the lotus flower keeps passing by , sev things can b clicked but nothing changes...
there are hints but i dont understand the first worm like pic x3....somebody help!!!
at least the i can load the gaem now!!
thanks..it looks beautiful

Speaking of dreamhost, they were down because of a data center power outage - yeah my site is hosted by them. Apparently it was hot in CA and there were power outages due to higher electric use. (Remember the electric fiasco from a few years back?) The backup generators at the datacenter failed as well. Anyways this particular outage didn't seem to be their fault. :-)

Thanks for the report, Ted. True, there are situations beyond even a hosting provider's control that may interrupt service. A power outage late Saturday night even affected one of Media Temple's data centers, the one this site lives at, and we were down for about 30-45 minutes.

Still, with Dreamhost it seems that every other day (at least once a week anyways) some situation is happening that causes me to have to report an outage with them. Media Temple (also in CA) seems to just have more stable, and thus more reliable, server systems.

@Rita

The worm picture represents the root behind the little man. Try to click on it

Thanks for the info, I'll look into that. (Did you get my newest email, jay? Pester pester.... :P)

wow thanks, now i can keep going....
thanks jay for that beautiful game..
love your site...keep going :-)

I'd say the buddhism slant was apparent in the first scene, as the character is on the path to enlightenment (symbol: bodhi tree)

Ok here is the complete guide to the game first click on the little green wormy thing until you get down to the bridge
then you move into the middle of place where the flashing flower is
then you open each and every pink rose bud by clicking on them, watch out one is kinda hidden, the lotus will then stop and you will go on it
once the sun glares onto the top of the building click the shiney object
now once your in the little creepy place, click each candle, until your at the bottom
there click on all the skulls until it makes the bridge
then in the background, you should see a ladder in the left corner of the room, click and he'll use it to cross
Now click once more to bring him up
Click the mouth of Buddha, and click your guy, hell move up and you be inside
Now click the 2nd hole on the first row, youll be let in and will go into the walk sequence and all that jazz
Now once inside the heart place, click all of the red glowy thingies, then once the guy drops click on the yellow tag, and once more, now youve won!!!

this be the guide to a reallly good game

If I scored games, with Samorost2 as a 10.

Gwen : 3-4

Maybe I am just angry

try link labeled "staff" for people who made the game

Hey Jay I was wondering how i can recommend a game. There is this great game I'm dying to tell you about. Post back I will chek back everyday

click the "?" at the top left corner for hints

Beebs a.k.a.Paige - to suggest a game click on the green "Suggest a Game" link a the top of the home page. It can be a bit tricky to find, but it is there!

http://mymailer.url.com.tw/bbs/bbsmain.asp?email=bbs@gwen.url.tw

our guestbook ....

thanks your support . Jay
i 'll fix it. Gwen will come next Monday.

Great news Sam! =)

Looking forward to seeing the complete site back online again.

cheers!

Hi
thanks for yours comments
we'll translate our story in English next time
thanks your support . Jay
Where did you find us,I'm very curious about that!!
anyway we are very glad to share GWEN with all .

It learned of Gwen from the German site, Flash Gamez.

I'm pleased you found us, too. =)

Gwen is one of the most surreal games I've played. It's beautiful and engaging.
Good choice jay! I love your site.

The original site for Gwen is back online! =)

(I've changed the links above to point to the game authors' site once again.)

It's down now. 404 error. Looks interesting...

in the frist level pull the line 3 times. next when the pink lily apers click on it you will flow whith it. when you reach the pales click on the top something will shine.soon enoth you will be in it.
you will be on top of the stirs click on all four candels.when you reach the bottom click on all of the skulls and thay will form a brige.at the back there will be a ladder.click on it. he will carry the ladder and walk on the skulls.click on your guy.then click on the stateaues lips it will open and somethig will come out.click on the guy again.next chose the second cave.
click on the guy.repet.next click all of the red dots.click on the stick tingy.the heart will start beating again.click your little guy.click on the yellow papper.click on your guy.the end your done!

ps:wonder when the second part showing up?

Hmm..it's harder this game as compared to Samorost. I seen the walkthrough twice to end it. :P

Regarding some players' determination that this game must be based on Tibetan Buddhism, I most respectfully disagree.

Aspects of both Buddhas (Amitabha, Shakyamuni) and Bodhisattvas (Kuan Yin / Avalokitesvara) point more to a Chinese/Japanese school. I would suspect perhaps Zen (though whether Soto or Rinzai sect I've no idea) or - more likely - Amidist schools of thought. I also failed to see indications of Tibetan puja ("ceremony" or "worship") implements, which feature prominently in the Tibetan school

As a strong tree grows, Buddhism branches out from the central tenets put forth by Shakyamuni ("Historical" Buddha), and each branch is affected by locale, history and cultural leanings.

Not that it matters in the end. The final statement ("If all karma ENDS, then all birth within the mortal world will also cease") applies to Buddhism as a whole, be it in the Mahayana or Hinayana vehicle (see Wikipedia if you'd like to learn more, or visit http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/ with any questions you may have).

Om Mani Padme Hum.

With palms together,

Miz Merricat
(Mahayana Buddhist now undertaking her formal Bodhisattva Vows.)

level 1:

click green thing three times
click long grass to go there
click stop flower to sit on it
and go to house
click top of house to see a bird flying to you
click bird
fly away
END of part 1

I'm actually working my way through your entire list of P-n-c adventures...this one was easy, but at the end of every level I had to "restart" the entire game. It would start over, then the new level would load. Sort of strange.

When I began typing this, I meant to create a walkthrough. Now I found that it was too hard, and I really don't want to do this is there are more levels, so I deleted everthing I wrote (sorry). But heres a translation.
Clicking on the upper-left most hand and the upperleftmost chinese symbol, it will say:

■Closes ■ [ view to fall cloudyly ] is one kind of special Taiwan folk ceremony, the average person mystical ceremony embraces the doubtful manner regarding this. Therefore we will treat as the story by the life and death question embarking, interacts the game way to cause to play the family to experience the entire process. We will play the family to locate the person which participation view will fall the cloudy ceremony, will play the family as soon as to start certainly not to know this will be so-called view falls cloudyly, in the process on the picture will be a risk game. We have created a 奇幻 world, three checkpoints use alone 特造 Jing Jangwan own to feel the body to occupy what kind of world, perhaps perhaps is the heaven is the hell. The story uses the technique which but actually narrates, only can think the distance has filled each kind of strange spell of good or bad fortune. We can use the intense fine arts style and the special situation, causes to play the family in the game process, moves the brain to ponder in the checkpoint the element, makes between the element and the element to establish contacts, is has the logical game. Last moment we only then can open this mystical veil until the game, lets play the family to faint from fear original this is a netherworld risk, lets play the family to be able to have wants again to experience a time of desire. We take advantage of this the game, describes in everybody heart "cloudyly to fall a matter question to view", describes the so-called heaven and hell by ours angle. Takes advantage of this the story, lets everybody know must have to treasure the side the human affairs, was the affection person left we, no matter he were in the heaven or the hell, he or forever lived in ours heart. The death only is the infinite life which feels emotion in surmounts one kind of transformation which when the space and time experiences, from previous generation angle view is an issue of life end, will be transits from next life angle view to the next issue of life start.

I also managed to get through level 1. It was stupidly easy. It also ended at... a dead end, with some guy worshipping. But i can understand where people have gone wrong. DO NOT CLICK ON THE VENUS FLYTRAP. Heres the answer, only if you really can't figure it out.

There is a floating flower on the river. It will flow in circles. When it lands, click on it quick, or it will float away. This should bring you to the temple.

. For those of you having trouble crossing the skull in to the fallen statue:

Click on the ladder in the background. Your character should now cross the skulls. Click again then click on the mouth of the statue. Click the person.

If anyone can read chinese (traditional), then heres the origanal:

■-■
[觀落陰]是一種特殊的台灣民"儀式,一般人對此神秘的儀式抱持-半信半疑的...度。所以我們將以"死的問題當作...事的出發,以'動遊戲的方式來使玩家"-整個過程。
我們將玩家定位成參加觀落陰儀式的人,玩家一開始並不知"這就是所謂的觀落陰,過程中就像是一場'險遊戲。我們創造了一個奇幻的世界,三個-卡利"獨特造景"玩家自己去感-身處在何種世界,或許是天堂或許是地獄。...事採"'敘的手法,只會覺-路程......滿了各種奇怪的際遇。
我們會利"強烈的美"風格'特殊的...境,使玩家在遊戲的過程中,動...去思考-卡中的...素,將...素'...素之"做一個串連,是一部...有邏輯性的遊戲。直到遊戲的最後一刻我們才會揭開這神秘面-,"玩家驚覺原來這是一場陰"的'險,"玩家會有想再"歷一次的...望。
我們-此遊戲,描繪出大家心中對"觀落陰"一事的疑問,以我們的'度來描寫所謂的天堂地獄。-此...事,"大家知"...須要珍惜身邊的人事物,就-是喜愛的人離開了我們,不管他是在天堂或地獄,他還是永遠活在我們的心裡。死亡只是有...的無限"命在跨越時空之際所"歷的一種轉換,從前世的'度觀之是一期"命的終結,從來世的'度觀之則是過渡到下一期"命的開始。

Sadly, i don't like this game at all. I do like the cute little creature stick figure dude... heh heh. Well, good luck with the game everyone.

I love this experience (can't call it a game). I guided that sweet lil guy to his destiny all by myself!

I'm still on the first screen...I click on the flower in the river and nothing happens...what am I doing wrong? Well, after I click on it, it sits there for a moment and then floats on again.

It looks like the links for this domain expired? It worked last night.

the little stick figure reminds me of the stick figures in the grow seriese

I can't get it to start. I press Game from the drop down menu and the top Chinese sign which seem to be the same because the thing drops down in the middle and fades off but then nothing happen.

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