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4.1/5 (197 votes)

The Day

Tia's birthday means a time for her to play with the other children in her struggling, isolated village... but it may also mark the end of her childhood. Of course, that all depends on you, and whether you do as you're told. Gregory Weir's experimental narrative might be too experimental to be a hit with everyone, but it's a clever game that deserves a play for the few minutes it'll take you.

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52 Comments

I like how his games are experimental toward the players reactions and interactions (like Mold Fairy and Majesty of Colors).
Happy that theres a new game too, thx JIG

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first :P
i loved the idea of the card game in this, but it seemed a little too simple.
loved the endings, but i would agree that its waaay too short. a longer sequel would be lovely *hinthint*

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What's the big white object she finds at the end of the leaving ending?

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I followed orders the first time, but then ignored Tia's father.
The second ending left me feeling "Um, okay? And...what?"

I read the review and the developer's notes. But...

Alright, I get that something bad happened.

The laser drone or whatever was on the one card attacked or malfunctioned or something and the "prison" was evacuated.

If the drone blew up, how come the camp was safe and everything else was destroyed?

"Internees" left to themselves? What? No sense this makes.

I'm not going to rate the game just yet. Currently I feel as though it deserves a two, maybe even a one.

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@Dafir

Read the developer's notes.

The characters on the cards are supposedly involved.

Remember the kid who told you not to use a tank? The "white thing" was her card.

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SkylerF,

Remember from the card game? The only thing stronger than a Laser Drone is a Missile Silo.

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I do/don't like it. Okay just kidding. From the get-go, I couldn't help but think of

M. Night Shymalan's The Village.

I agree with others - much too short. Though the notes said that Weir is trying to improve his pixel graphics, I found the palate he used to be hard to look at for too long. Is it just me, or does the grass/dirt ground change colors as you walk? I have not had issue with his earlier titles.

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About the in-camp ending:

The cake is a lie.

Just sayin'.

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So this is basically just the start of Fallout 3?

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This is what i think:

There has been a nuclear war and the internees were left to fend for themselves while everyone evacuated.

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Although I agree that the game itself was much too short, I think it really accomplished what it set out to do. If you're interested, here is what I think it was about.

The card game is obviously meant to parallel what happened in the reality of the game. Notice how the first card you are able to win is the "Citizen" card. Soldiers overcome citizens. Which points to the idea that the "internees" as they are called and which your society is presumably made up of (or at least the descendants of) weren't necessarily prisoners in the classic sense (criminals) but more prisoners of war. I feel like it has a sort of concentration camp/apartheid feel to it, especially given that the people all represented on the cards are white and the citizens of the camp are darker skinned. Anyway, clearly there was some sort of war, which culminated in a nuclear strike, and the "internees" were left to fend for themselves while the military personnel who oversaw them were evacuated.

As for elements of the game outside of the story itself that I thought really stood out - I really liked the music. The way it changes from a plucky banjo tune to a more hesitant, yet still similar song then to the all-out creepy background noise I thought was very effective at communicating the desired atmosphere. Overall, I thought the game was well done, but as has been said, short. I'd like to see more!

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I really like the atmosphere but there was little/no gameplay. They need to make a real game with the same atmosphere.

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I agree with everyone that the game was short, but I think that it is one of its main strengths. After completing the game by following directions, I almost quit, but something about all the warnings about not going near the trees made me curious and went back for another try. I loved the storytelling style. I'm kind of a sucker for stories or movies that only hint at major plot points.

I say it was a good story, executed well, and left me wanting more. It's better to leave the audience wanting more than making them sick of you or your work.

Bravo

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This totally reminded me of The Hunger Games.
I enjoyed it. I didn't mind the weak gameplay because the game was all about the plot.
I'd rather have a strong plot with weak game play over a weak plot with strong gameplay any day.

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So the laser drone was there to fend off the missiles, that's why they survived.

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My opinions:

I believe it was a prison, or a refugee camp... When the laser drone attacked, it was bombed, and the refugees were left alone to survive. The guards they feared would shoot had left long ago.

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Ezra
Thanks for clearing up how they survived.
I still don't completely understand the "internees" point, though. A concentration camp?

Mono99099,

No! Laser Drone (with no help) is beaten by the Missile Silo.

6+4=10 is less than 15

JIGuest
That's it! I KNEW the game reminded me of something, just couldn't think of it right away!

One more thing:

in the facility, you find a dead body (you can interact with it - part of the plot). South of that there is a blue-ish green skeleton (just a part of the design). It piqued my interest. Did someone not escape in time? Did an earlier villager investigate?

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My interpretation of the backstory:

Call the army in the bunker side A, and their opponents side B. I think the laser drone was part of side B's army, attacking the bunker and surrounding areas, and Operation Omega was side A launching nuclear missiles at the area in order to wipe out side B's army. The soldiers in the bunker were allowed to flee before the nuclear attack took place, and side A decided to spare the internment camp because it had no military value after the surrounding area was devastated.

Not that this is very profound; I just think it makes more sense, and possibly explains how the people in the camp survived, if the nuclear attack came from the side that owned the bunker rather than being part of the attack on the bunker.

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I'm not going to lay it on heavy like the other comments. All I am going to say is:

Don't make this a deep exploring game that makes the player think about the moral, but just make a full online or more challenging version of this simple card game!

Yaaaay!

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I love games like this and sorry for saying this but it was simply to short and simple.

I believe the forest half take longer to do then the cards if you know what you are doing which seem sad to me as this game easily could be expanded with the simple enjoyable card system and the forest ending was good enough to get the message across by having that white thing and the fact that you need the white thing card to destroy the base(?) card really bring the message home.

I would love to see a longer version of this but I can understand why it is so short due to the ending and the game may be broken if it was made any longer. Sadly I feel that it could have been made better/longer so I only gave it a 2/5. It would have been a 3 but the pixel art seem a little "off", look like the graphics was made to be bad and not simply "old school" which turn me off as it reminded me of playing a poorly made RPGmaker game.

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These kids are(seemingly) the descendants of these prisoners.

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I just noticed the doctor's comment about

running out of antibiotics months ago.

I think that speaks volumes. It's a fairly disturbing game if you look at details like these.

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cinder calhoun September 30, 2010 3:39 AM

I agree with Nat's comment. Also:

I think the bunker ending tries to emphasize that everything around you is destroyed. I also think your uncle was killed by the guards that the adults warn you about - probably during their evacuation. I kinda got the impression that they were evacuating because the bunker was a general target for a missile attack, but the bunker survived and everything around it was destroyed, including the fleeing soldiers. But that's just my take.

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Another interesting thing:

Though it's not made clear exactly how long ago it was when "Uncle Jack" left, it's quite clear that he left after all the military since he's the only body there. Also, maybe it's just me, but I feel like he left a significant amount of time ago. This probably ties in to how the nurse ran out of antibiotics. Also, it seems unlikely it was a nuclear explosion, since the camp is still there. How long have these people been on their own? Months? Years?

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muffinmonkey Author Profile Page September 30, 2010 7:16 AM

Both endings far too simplistic and obvious in my opinion.

As soon as Father mentions not going into the woods I though of The Village. The only question I don't think we've resolved is how Uncle Jack's hacking of the computer relates to anything.
A few nice touches, like the linking of the game to the war and the dialogue of the old people (if you talk to them again they say different things) but overall, not great.

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Note that one of the terminals says unauthorized login, and then "dispensing lethal countermeasures". For me, Uncle Jack found the place abandoned, went in, started to try and use the computers, accidentally set off the defences, and was killed by the computer.

I see the place as an example of the American internment of Japanese citizens. They are not prisoners of war per se, but at the same time there was a fear that they could not be left as free citizens either.

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A few points to make:
1. Love the pixelart
2. That card game is awesome!
3. What's a bunker?
4. I wish the person could move faster
5. The music's annoying
6. Sequel needed desperately!!!

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Okay, so I got the ending where

Tia beat the other kids and her dad tells her that mom made cake.

How do I get the other ending? I'm not sure what to do differently.

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@ray9na,

Do what your dad tells you not to do!

Go into the forest

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Anonymous October 1, 2010 8:12 PM

"the state of the outside world"... What's that got to do with

nuclear war?? And how do you know it's a prisonerofwar camp? And... What do the cards have to do with it??? Citizen, soldier, sniper, tank, laser drone, missile silo... They all have something to do with war but how do you know it's nuclear???

And lol

Dad told me not to go into the trees or the guards'll kill me so I just thought 'stuff the card games!' and ran at the trees flinging myself at them while the camera watched me go crazy XD

And was that thing out there

the laser drone? It must have been dead 'cause it didn't attack. I wonder what happened after Tia saw it?

And how old IS Tia anyways? This game is SO COOL! I NEED a sequel!!! C'mon GW!!!
And sry 'bout the long comment.

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Canimia

Thanks!

That never occurred to me. I just took it for granted that edges=game over. But having read the notes now, it all makes sense.

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I found a glitch that lets you go out of bounds.

Escape the forest, and right to the left of the building is an invisible spot where you can go through the fence. I'm not sure why that is there, or if it is just a mistake, but you can't do much but enter the building backwords or get stuck in the forest.

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It took me 2 playthroughs, but I'm sure as glad that I took the time to do so.

I admit that it is not exactly good for the game when you have to play both endings again after reading the developer notes to appreciate the game story, but it does throw a lot of light over everything we see in the game.

Here's some food for thought:

First of all, it should be rather clear that Tia and everyone else in the "village" are normal citizens. I feel that they are prisoners of war not only because of the (nonexistent) guards that they fear will kill them, but also because of the "kitchen" and dining tables that you see inside the hut in the north. It could be built by villager hand, though, so that can be arguable.

Both the father and Mrs. Jessop (the woman tending to the farm) warn Tia about going into the woods. Mrs. Jessop goes a point further by stating that if Tia "goes near the fence", the guards will kill her. This implicitly implies that the adults are fully aware of the fact that this was some sort of containment compound. Of course, no one (except probably the dead Uncle Jack) knew the guards that they fear have left the compound, but then again, there is no point in wasting lives just to find out.

Old Man Bilk (the old dude in the northeast hut) is old enough to remember that the villagers didn't always live where they were. The war started when he was young, and that there was a world to travel but can never "leave the camp". He even points out that Tia's father was a baby when he entered the camp. This does point out the sustainability of the camp, further pointed by the limited availability of both food and medicine. There is no visible source of water, but with such abundant amounts of vegetation around the camp, there has to be water somewhere.

The Doc (in the medicine house) mentions that he was out of antibiotics months ago, and was looking through books on making medicine. This shows that the doctor was not expecting external help. It can be argued that their camp was surrounded by guards that did not care for their well-being though. It also makes me wonder how the doctor got a hold of antibiotics to begin with, unless the doctor's father brought them along.

The destroyed laser drone outside the bunker kinda paints the tie between the card game and the game story, although it does make us ask whether this monster was project Omega or the project to stop it was.

I find it amusing that all the cards the kids were playing were all army based. It does tell you the story in another way, but why the parents let kids play this is beyond me. One thing to note though is that the card game existed when the father was a child too, so that needs to be thought about.

Okay game in general.

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CARD GAMES in a camp you're not allowed to leave?!?!? Cool. I like this game. I think the music is cool to.

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That what I think:

Past- there was a war. The people think that it will be destructive, and they built an camp-the village. The villagers should suvive after the war will over, and keep it as a secret for the next ages. They put guards to keep them in.
The war ended in a terrible way: nuclear disaster- the enemies send the laser drone, everyone died except of the villagers, that wasn't: the guards send a missle when the drone was close, but it hurt themself. the explosion was like that:

!-drone !
^-missle ((((( ^ )))))
@-village ((((( @ )))))
()-explosion (((()))

Future-The food will finish, the poor villagers go out from the woods, and will UNDERSTAND.

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Did anyone else think to

read the computer consoles? Uncle Jack wasn't killed by the guards, he was killed by an automated defense system after he tried to log into the system. The facility, though still operational, had been abandoned ages ago.

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Wow, I think Anon hit the nail right on the head there. And I seem to be the only one who noticed - on the main menu, there is a child's drawing, with Tia's name written in the corner. And what did she draw? A cat? A house? A stick-people version of her family? No. She drew a camera.
I was also horrified at the first card game I played - Soldier VS Civilian, and the Civilian card clearly showed a missile falling in the background, with the civilian running and screaming. It also showed a skyscraper, I think, which leads to the question, what on earth do the children think that skyscraper is?
Reading the screens in the bunker really cleared everything up for me, so if anyone played the game through without trying that, you didn't get the whole thing.
But what got to me most of all were the words of Old Man Bilk, the doctor, and Mrs Jessop. Old Man Bilk tells of a world outside the camp, a world of travel, without Trouble. As for the question of whether the adults know what is going on in the camp - Old Man Bilk certainly does, but as he said, Tia's father arrived at the camp when he was a baby, so perhaps he doesn't know the truth, only the lies fed to the children.
Mrs Jessop tells Tia not to walk on the plants, or she'll have less to eat, so clearly the camp receives no food from outside and has to completely sustain itself.
As for the doctor, the fact that he ran out of antibiotics months ago is another clear pointer: the camp is completely alone. However, the doctor's father apparently knew the truth, as he wrote a book about making your own medicine, and probably brought the first medicine along with him.

So, all in all, none of us are exactly sure what happened and why, but I think that any game good enough to make us wonder what happened and why is worthy of 5 mushrooms.

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I think that (maybe) the war is still going on somewhere and the camp is still kept a secret to keep them away from the war. Also, that would explain the antibiotics loss, and the low amount of food. The country they live in is too busy with the war to provide for them, and they keep them under close surveillance to see how they're doing.

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InsanePenguin Author Profile Page October 16, 2010 4:16 AM

Man this game is creepy.

It was, however, somewhat enjoyable, but I think that the thing I liked most was the developer's notes. I'm all freaked out now. I'm gonna go play something light and happy.

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It won't load for me. =/

[The problem should be gone now and the links in the review have been updated. We're now hosting the game here at JIG. -Jay]

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Yes, the 'disobey' ending is a bit too abrupt, but seeing as the game was an experiment I'm not too upset about that. A bit more exposition wouldn't have been out of place, really.

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Walkthroughs:

Card game ending

1) Play against Deak. Use Soldier card.
2) Play against Mina. Use Soldier and Citizen cards.
3) Play against Pan. Use Sniper and Citizen cards.
4) Play against Caro. Use Soldier, Sniper and Tank cards.
5) Play against Thod. Use Soldier, Soldier and Sniper cards.
6) Play against Lis. Use Sniper, Tank and Laser Drone cards.
7) Talk to your dad.

"The Truth" ending

1) Walk all the way to the left and then down a bit.
2) Follow the path into the trees.
3) Go up and follow the path until you get to the hole in the fence.
4) Go through the hole.
5) Go left and follow the path. When you reach the fork, go left and then up.
6) Follow the path until you get to the entrance to the building.
7) Enter the building.
8) Go right, then up through the gates.
9) (Optional) Examine the blue computer screens and the body.
10) Leave through the door in the top right.
11) Discover the truth.

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Anonymous72 November 27, 2010 5:01 PM

Ugh, I'm actually scared to go into the forest. I knew something was up when everyone told me not to go into the forest, but now I'm just creeped out.

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This was so scary:

It felt... alone.

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Axyraandas Author Profile Page December 26, 2010 6:02 PM

This was good. I wonder what the stars in the bottom left-hand corner of the main screen were for though. I wanted to do something with them, but I couldn't. :(

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Ooh, I think that the stars represent the endings one has been in. ;) Played once, one star. Played twice, two stars...

I was spooked, seeing the body...

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Dave Lopo Author Profile Page April 3, 2011 9:45 PM

Well, that was a bit unsettling.

My opinion:

I think that at one point (possibly a generation or two before the beginning of the game- Uncle Jack was curious about what happened.), two of the older residents of the camp were interns (as suggested by the screens in the bunker) or prisoners (as suggested by the prisons in the bunker). At some point, there was an attack on the bunker, and the officials at teh base left the prisoners/ interns behind, leaing them to fend for themselves in the forest.

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Daisy512 Author Profile Page April 25, 2011 7:34 PM

Does anyone know what I am doing wrong?

I went straight to the forest after the dad was done talking, and came straight to the building with blueish skeleton. But now, I can't get through the gate in the top right hand side, which would lead me to the upper area of the building. Was there something else I was supposed to do before coming to the building?

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i noticed something really cool!
when i got to the forest ending(as it was zooming out), i noticed that if you look at the white figure on the ground you'll recognize it as the laser drone from one of the cards in the card game. so that must mean that the building you go through must be a the silo!( if you look at the laser drone on the card, you see a tiny human figure by it, so it's pretty big).

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Something interesting:

If you go to the forest and then into the building where you find your uncle's corpse, but instead of going on you go back to your dad, he thinks you've beaten everyone at cards and you still get the cards ending...even without EVER playing at cards during the game, LOL

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Anonymous October 17, 2011 4:03 PM

jay you should keep adding more games that have deeper meanings like this one.

[We love games like this and add every one we can find that's good enough. You can find more games like this under either the experimental or the narrative tag listings. -Jay]

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Did anyone else notice how large the infirmary is?

And how few people live (are left) in the camp?

I found the disobey ending very unsettling. Felt even worse after reading the developer's notes about one of the components of the music for the guard station.

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