Ludum Dare 34 — December 11th-14th, 2015 — Theme Tied: Two Button Controls, Growing

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Melissa - A Game of Choice

by Imagos Softworks - Jam Entry

Melissa is a game of choice.

Downloads and Links




xWarZonex says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 2:15am

DUDE! THIS IS SICK! 0.0 So much blood... So what's the plot of the game? You are a bully punching the guts out of this kid? 5 star in every category, its defiantly the most innovative game I've ever seen.

Levi D. Smith says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 2:22am

Well that was disturbing. I was expecting that the twist would have been that he was standing in front of a mirror punching himself.

trueboolean says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 2:22am

Fantastic! Easily the best production value I've seen so far!

floppya says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 2:53am

Cool to see a live-action video game. Great sound effects. The punch scenes were pretty brutal.

PoV says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 3:01am


I haven't had much luck finding a hidden path.

Even though I know it's fake (and the amount of blood is a bit excessive), I can't help but feel sorry for dude.

He stands there like he's there by choice, only responding to the 'pain'.

I'm confused!! :D

Ezraen says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 3:20am

This was very visceral and gory. It was a little bit disturbing, but I still loved every moment of it. The production value was off the charts in comparison to the other games in this Ludum Dare that I've taken a gander at.

The parts where Geoff(?) got that fake blood in his eyes actually made me wince. Amazing actor.

Didi says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 3:33am

Too much sick for me sorry, not in the mood, but awesome makup and its really tense! Well done!

Interface says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 4:03am

Pretty disturbing. I guess the "game of choice" wasn't actually for the person playing through this since this was very linear, unless I missed it.

DeepBlueJeer says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 4:27am

I was expecting a nice game and you guys delivered it! Nice job!

ehgoodenough says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 5:10am

Saw this at SURF! So cool! I like the video use!

lawendt says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 5:29am

Nice experience

the31 says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 7:30am

I got a text message? Facetime? But there's no signal! ;)

Wow, what a gruesome game. I don't know if there's quite enough to go on for me to assemble a plot, but I've got a few ideas. Very interesting, and very impressively done.

Two nitpicks: even though the buttons were "Z" and "X", those keys don't press the buttons. Also, I spent some time watching the same phone choices over again because there was no way to tell if it was always just going to repeat. In the end I assumed beat = advance, and there's one phone scene per section.

Another thing I noticed is that when I first played the game I left it open on a tab for a while, and when I came back there were no Z or X buttons. So I guess I could have made the choice to stop there and be a decent person, but I obviously refreshed and played it.

kirbytails7 says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 7:39am

Interesting format! The intro sequence is lengthy.

Riftpoint says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 7:00pm

Well... That was intense... It was a different experience

Herzucco says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 11:00pm

I couldn't figure if it was possible to don't beat this poor guy, but the game is REALLY intense. The final result is amazing.

Good job !

Team Tree says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 11:21pm

This was pretty disturbing!

NSman says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 4:17am

Scary T_T

Dec 16, 2015 @ 6:13am

Really had me thinking in a few different directions this one, and not an experience I'll be forgetting in a hurry either! Bravo

"Voting is only available to participants." - but if I could vote, it would be for this masterpiece. Being the first game you've put together as a group bodes well for your future too!

NoWandStudios says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 8:05am

Wow! Very impressive! Congrats for the actor. Very good job.

mukult says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 8:13am

HOLY SHIT!!! Thats all I can't say...

Its just WOW! I never imagine there could be a game like this... HOLY FREAKING SHIT !! JUST WHOA!!! Respect man!!!!!!!!! HOLY SHIT!!! The quality is just amazing.....

blurryroots says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 8:19am

Intense and disturbing. I loved the effects and makeup. The whole experience felt pretty immersive. Very different from the stuff you would normally find here but cool nonetheless ;) But I think in order to progress I didn't really have had much of a choice.

Dec 16, 2015 @ 8:37am

Thank you so much everyone who has played Melissa so far. We are really proud that you've had a good (if not disturbing) time.

Thank you.

blackmagic says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 9:51am

Very disturbing and yet necessary. Contratulation.

blackmagic says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 9:52am

Very disturbing and yet necessary. Contragulation.

Rfdshir says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 12:21pm

It's a great game, I would say - deep.
A great approach to the topic of violence in computer games, and the disclosure of human nature. This game gives a new perspective on yourself and causing a strong empathy with what is happening. At first I thought that lack of alternative endings. Actually, it's present - just not to beat this dude.
In technical terms, everything is done at the highest level. Thanks for the experience!!!

lekochen says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 5:22pm

Holy shit that was sick. Very well done.

shadow64 says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 12:54am

Thanks for stopping by and rating my game! :) This was pretty crazy! I would've liked a little more variety in the choice as people have mentioned or to know what I was choosing, but I guess that's kind of the point. The music is fantastic and the mood is really clear and incredible. Thanks for sharing and great work!

PrismaSlice says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 3:23am

Killed it. Great piece, very visceral.

Ildfuglen says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 11:31pm

Very disturbing game, acting was really great and there was some really dark humor in this. Good entry! A bit excessive blood.

LeReveur says ...
Dec 18, 2015 @ 1:14am

Very disturbing, good actor, lot of blood, and a questioning end twist. Was it really a game ? Did I choose anything else than continue till the end or stop the blood bath before ? Did this guy cheated the wrong person ? Is he dead ? And in case so, the sempiternal hard question : what to do with the corpse ?
I dunno, perhaps I need to rest a little after that strange weird experience...

jcmonkey says ...
Dec 18, 2015 @ 1:21am

this game was disturbingly awesome and innovative.

TheBreakfast says ...
Dec 18, 2015 @ 1:33am

The makeup and special effects were incredible (and grotesque). Is this a metaphor for self defeating? The texts and messages all seemed like someone who was struggling with low self esteem, and the way the character kept getting beaten, but tried to put on an unaffected facial expression (but ultimately looked a little sad) seemed to be about an internal struggle. At times I felt like the perspective looked like someone looking into a mirror, judging themselves. Amazing cinematography at work there!

Are there multiple endings? The early clues and messages made me pay close attention but I didn't see any other opportunities for interaction other than Z and X. Was there any significance to these letters in particular?

Great submission!

Drury says ...
Dec 18, 2015 @ 1:35am

There's a bug when you let the little progress bar fill up, you won't get the choices as it restarts.

esayitch says ...
Dec 18, 2015 @ 1:35am

Really liked this. What I especially liked is that the choice is actually whether or not to turn off the game. While I was playing 2 things were going through my head: 1) How is the story gonna end? 2) I really don't wanna keep beating this person up.
And the choice for me was between leaving the game and continuing. Once I realized that I just treated that as a game and myself as a not-sick person who enjoys seeing people get messed up, and I got to the ending.

It's a really personal choice and a powerful experience... a wonderful achievement.

Good luck!

crucknuk says ...
Dec 18, 2015 @ 1:39am

This was an interesting concept. It is really well made and I like it a lot even if it's kind of disturbing. Good job!

timeshapers says ...
Dec 18, 2015 @ 3:33am

I chose to only press Z.

Lukbebalduke says ...
Dec 18, 2015 @ 3:37am

I'm sorry, I couldn't get in to the end, really strong images. I don't actually knows what happens in the end, but an absolutely immersive game and different concept, good audio and the "scenes", I wish I could finish it.
Overall, solid and different game here!

Dec 18, 2015 @ 5:29pm

Amazing, immersive, disturbing experience! An intriguing mood permeates the whole game as you get tiny bits of an unknown story and begin to wonder what kind of terrible thing is happening, and what else has already happened to get to this point - and each possibility that comes to your mind is scarier than the other. Something must have gone so wrong!
Maybe the developers have an answer to all the questions that are left in the game, but maybe not - I have the feeling that all questions are intentionally left there for each person who plays the game come up with their own answers. The subtle hints of the story you get are just enough to make you think a lot and create your own explanations for it all. That's also where the "choice" come in - there's isn't really much of a choice in the game as you have to follow the linear "storyline", but you can choose the explanations. I don't know, I'm just guessing here hehe. Maybe it could also be that the player has no choice, but the "protagonist" had a choice of not proceeding with what he was doing at the various points of the game where you interact with the phone.
Overall, an interesting and very well-crafted experience! Certainly the most unusual of the LD games I've played so far, and I doubt there'll be another one which will top it.

Dec 19, 2015 @ 8:40am

It is a game of choice, and I choose not to play. I didn't realize that X would punch the guy, and once I did I refuse to press X again.

I continued to press z and wait out the red bar, but It seems that the only way to progress is to hit the man.

Dec 19, 2015 @ 9:34am

@thecatspajamas, that is a wholly valid choice, and one we give you from the start. You chose wisely.

JamesMowery says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 11:54pm

Really great stuff, guys. It's definitely an intense game, but I really appreciate what you guys put into it!

Tapehead says ...
Dec 20, 2015 @ 12:02am

this was .. interesting! overall good work

Akhera says ...
Dec 20, 2015 @ 12:04am

Is this one of those games where the only way to win is to stop playing? If it is, I won.

Dec 20, 2015 @ 12:51am

I have been thinking about why I chose to play this game to the end for days. And I think I am OK with this. Do i care who Melissa is anymore? Maybe not, maybe I just embodied the character who ignores her and goes about his business, whatever the hell that business is. Going In to this game blindly i was not expecting so much after thought about my decision to finish it.

publicidadeba says ...
Dec 20, 2015 @ 1:45am

I think the controls were a bit miss leading, I mean it took me a while to realise that I can't click z x on the keyboard.
I think things like pressing Z twice opening the same live action video was a bit breaking from the overall groomsmen experience, other than that a bit too gruesome for my taste, but undeniably good.

batmanasb says ...
Dec 20, 2015 @ 6:31am

wtf did I just play... what was the point of using 2 buttons when Z just repeats the same scene over and over again... why were they called Z and X if the keyboard keys don't work... why an I beating the shit out of this person... who is this girl... why did I play this game right before bed... but either way this game was amazing :P

Dreyan says ...
Dec 21, 2015 @ 3:05am

That was some really cool acting. Way different than anything I've seen before, and I'm really intrigued by the story.

525 says ...
Dec 21, 2015 @ 9:21am

Thats great.I cant stop laughing.
five star !

SHLFStudios says ...
Dec 22, 2015 @ 12:36am

Music is great. Had a real "It Follows" vibe. The acting was great. the effects were pretty nicely done, excessive at moments, but cool. I didn't like that the keyboard Z & X didn't actually work. Also seems weird to call it a game of choice, my choices didn't seem to change the end or path, because of repeats. I am not sure If I played a "game" really, but it told a story and that was fun.

caryoscelus says ...
Dec 22, 2015 @ 2:26pm

Well done, but felt pretty pointless. I wonder if there really was any choice except for "close the tab"..

Also the game relies too much on fast connection :/ You should've made offline version or not start game before everything is loaded.

CMG says ...
Dec 22, 2015 @ 2:47pm

Disturbing. A violent video game where your target looks you in the eye and you know you're inflicting meaningless pain. Even though the video clips are short loops, the acting is good!

Galvesmash says ...
Dec 22, 2015 @ 7:06pm

Maaan, that was really weird. Great graphics haha, but seriously the game scared me, awesome job!

UncleChris says ...
Dec 22, 2015 @ 7:08pm

I echo the excessive blood (made you realize it was fake) - but it was very interesting and interesting commentary. Awesome production values.

akirassasin says ...
Dec 23, 2015 @ 12:33am

I'm confused... the only way to continue is to punch the poor guy (Melissa?) ?

OberynMartell says ...
Dec 23, 2015 @ 1:27am

This is deeply disturbing. I didnt want to continue, but I could not stop hitting the poor guy, I wanted to see how it ended. Really nice game. Congrats!

qkerguelen says ...
Dec 23, 2015 @ 1:34am

Wow, I wasn't expecting something like that but hey that was really cunfusing but good! I don't know if I understood everything but I think I know what is the point. Good job!

tanis says ...
Dec 23, 2015 @ 10:58am

It's disturbing.

Dec 23, 2015 @ 2:14pm

Interesting approach.

Keyboard input didn't work.

Stending says ...
Dec 24, 2015 @ 1:53am

Wow, BIG production here oO
Awesome make-up, story (really, there is just enough stuff to interpret for me), and mood.
A great and disturbing experience, especially for a LD game ._.

srakowski says ...
Dec 24, 2015 @ 3:03am

Incredible. Well done!

radmars says ...
Dec 26, 2015 @ 2:12am

Damn, this is really really impressive. Obviously great production value on the video, and I love the music & sound design. The main thing I take issue with is that it's obviously not much of a "game of choice" if the only way you can progress is by doing both options. (IMO choosing not to play is not much of a choice.) Making one of those necessary choices extremely violent also comes a bit too close to implying an accusation of the player, like how with torture porn-type movies they say "oh the audience is complicit since they saw the movie!!" well yeah, but the producers had something to do with it too. (not like I necessarily think you're making that point) Regardless it was a really cool experience, and though the story hints were awesome, I would've liked to see them amount to something more. Awesome work.

Bumblepie says ...
Dec 27, 2015 @ 12:18am

Man, that was a little messed up. Not my kind of game, but I can see why people would find it compelling, so I rated it based on that rather than my own enjoyment. The production value is very high which is impressive.

Dec 27, 2015 @ 12:02pm

Great game,
Very disturbing, I'm a bit disapointed their is no "escape way" or alternative path if we keep pushing Z, thay make the experience very linear, more like a film than a game.
Good realisation, blood and sound effects are a little to much sometimes but the acting game of the guy is pretty good and photography is nice.
I will be looking for more. ;)

dollarone says ...
Dec 30, 2015 @ 3:00pm

Excellent entry. Should've been in the previous one really, where the theme was "you are the monster". I certainly feel like one. Not sure I got the ending, but it was an interesting experience anyway. Awesome music/theme and fantastic acting.

Tselmek says ...
Dec 31, 2015 @ 6:42pm

Wow, what an experience. What an excessive amount of blood as well. The video-like UI is pretty nice. Very professionnal work, I don't know what to say after that.

Gjarble says ...
Jan 1, 2016 @ 11:46pm

Wow. This is deeply disturbing and thought-provoking. You truly succeeded in creating an impactful work of art. I notice you wisely opted out of the "Fun" and "Humor" categories, though I'm very curious how people would choose to rate it there- and what that would say about the people in question.

After pressing each button to find out what they did, I tried advancing through the game by pressing only Z, to avoid hitting the poor guy anymore. My heart sank as I found out it only looped the same animation, and that pressing X was necessary to progress. After that, I quickly figured out that the true choice was whether or not to play.

I immediately started rationalizing away my decision to continue- I had made it a personal goal today to rate back everyone who left a comment on my entry, and I can't fairly rate an entry if I quit it 10 seconds in, so dammit, I HAD to finish, whether I liked it or not. And indeed, after every single punch, I was hoping it'd be the last, staring at the bar at the bottom of the screen to try and figure out how close I was to the end.

But then again, what does it say about me that I prioritized that personal goal over not subjecting myself to this imagery? What about the fact that I actually felt a wave of relief when the guy fell to the floor- the moment that in real life would likely be the worst part of all? Because I made it to the end, does that mean the artists are calling me a bad person?

That last question is what always bugs me about works of art that examine the people viewing them (not just games, I've seen films and short stories that take this kind of approach too). It can feel like the artist is leading you to a certain conclusion, then judging you for reaching that conclusion. My instinct in these situation is to get bitter- to argue against the message, to call its reasoning unfair, to proclaim myself the exception to the rule- but perhaps I'm just continuing my rationalizing after it's all over. Perhaps it is as simple as saying I did a bad thing. Maybe the lesson I should take from this game is to accept the way I played as a mistake, instead of taking it an affront to my character from which I cannot redeem myself.

Or perhaps I'm assuming too black-and-white an intent on your behalf. Perhaps the goal is not to pass judgment, but simply to get the player to question something to which they would ordinarily give no thought at all. And no matter how one approaches this game, I bet they'll be leaving with questions. That's what makes this game so powerful.

Guard13007 says ...
Jan 3, 2016 @ 6:52am

The only way to win is not to play.

After 2 punches, I decided that's the moral of this game to me, and stopped.

g12345 says ...
Jan 4, 2016 @ 8:54pm

Having seen all the pictures on the blog I know it has somewhat special effects.

Great production values you've got here. Great to see the actor can keep so many stuff in his month, or the red eyes.

The sounds are pretty good too.

I also like the times on the phone is chronological.

As for the game, it's very linear. And the clues are not enough to piece out the mystery (at least for me). Also, many actors are in the credits but I can't piece together who was who in the movie.

Is there any reason that I can't skip the credits after seeing it for the first time? It's very long.

Overall, a lot of production value and very little game. Then again, it's great production value for 72 hours.

emmes says ...
Jan 5, 2016 @ 1:09am

This is the most difficult "game" for me to vote on.
On the one hand, it's an extremely interesting experiment, it has good production value, acting and filing was well done, and it delivers its weirdness.
On the other hand, this isn't a game. It's NOT about choice, because there is none (it's linear). The effects are way over the top, at one point I had to laugh out loud because of the massive amount of gore.
And I didn't "play" to the end, because the theme just bore me. There's nothing going on except there's a guy beaten to piecese because of no reason. Which is actually part of the possitive side (interesting experiment).

Overall, thank you very VERY much for trying something completely different. Giving you maximum innovation and high overall points. Even if - in the end - it didn't work out for me game wise.

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