Ludum Dare 37 — December 9th-11th, 2016 — Theme: One Room

Well, Mike ran in to problems getting working properly with about 12 hours left in the Compo, so this is the backup plan.

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The Chinese Room

by Pierrec - Jam Entry

"I heard a lot of crazy stories about the Eternal Flame Triad.
Some say they inject parasites in corpses to take over their brains.
Others say they implant chips in their spines to control them remotely
Like a robot made of flesh.
Tell me Yu-Jie...
You’re not a robot, are you?"

Try to follow a conversation while dealing with that fucked up machine called a human body.

A game by Pierrec & Julien Delample

WARNING: The game must be played on a QWERTY keyboard.
If you're on AZERTY+Windows, press Maj+Alt to switch to QWERTY
If you're on AZERTY+Mac/Linux, there should be way too.

Downloads and Links




dunin says ...
Dec 13, 2016 @ 1:17pm

I am pretty confused. I'm so bad at typing and in english that I lost the thread...
Too sad...
(but have to worry about heart and lungs during playing is pretty fun and stressful...)

(and, there is a simple problem with the ith app: it says that there is no windows version, I think you just don't tag it?)

Pierrec says ...
Dec 13, 2016 @ 1:56pm

Hi! The issue with itch should be fixed now thanks! We also added a Mac and Linux version and fixed some minor bugs.

In our minds, losing the thread is part of the game, that's why it's probably best to play the game twice or thrice to get everything. (Maybe it was a bad idea? We'll see ^^ )

BubsyPoochies says ...
Dec 13, 2016 @ 3:58pm

Hey, I really enjoyed this entry. It has a very special control system, really confusing at first due to the amount of inputs, but I think its uniqueness is the heart of the game.

The setting and atmosphere here are fabulous (great use of pixel art in a 3D environment) and keeping up with the conversation provides to be quite a challenge. I guess the authors were looking to create both an immersive and unsettling experience, which I think is achieved by the constant demands of the body. Great work!

nikitapash says ...
Dec 13, 2016 @ 4:36pm

Great art!

Dec 13, 2016 @ 4:40pm

I found this game a bit confusing to play, but I think that's part of its charm. :)

I really liked the artstyle and still enjoyed the game even though I wasn't entirely certain what I was doing.

buckle2000 says ...
Dec 13, 2016 @ 5:11pm

Manual life simulator.

Mark Ffrench says ...
Dec 13, 2016 @ 5:22pm

Brilliantly weird. Pretty tough as well, I was never able to fully work out what I was doing. It maybe needs a slightly gentler difficulty curve to start.

Dec 13, 2016 @ 5:45pm

Incredible entry! Very cool way to weave gameplay and story together, assuming that you're in the shoes of a zombie meat robot trying to masquerade as human. Cool idea and top notch excecution. Only complaint is that the progress(/distance between choices) is a little bit too slow to encourage several replays.

ex3c says ...
Dec 13, 2016 @ 5:53pm

Realy liked it. Art is amazing. But its very confusing to play.

hadesfury says ...
Dec 13, 2016 @ 6:07pm

Ahaha that was weird but hilariously so.
I couldn't find the patience to try again after a couple of minutes I accidentally pressed the zap button again, being such a typeklutz.
But nice atmosphere, the dialogue was pretty well written for what I've read while trying to breathe and making throat sounds.

harusame says ...
Dec 13, 2016 @ 8:48pm

Oh that's an interesting game, very innovative !
Good job and great art.

C'est un jeu très intéressant pour l'OUJEVIPO :)

gdcvdqpl says ...
Dec 13, 2016 @ 10:06pm

That was tough, but excellent !
Very stressful experience, and a bit confusing at first.
The art is amazing !

Tonasz says ...
Dec 14, 2016 @ 10:50am

Awesome game! I love everything about this game, from idea (Chinese room is an interesting subject I tend to return in thoughts), to execution with brilliant mood thanks to cool graphics concept self-made critical sounds. It's also the most interesting theme interpretation from these I've already seen. I haven't completed it yet, but I will try in a future - time between decisions discourage me, but I think it will be worth. Also: I find concept of sustaining your body crucial in this game, it's not redundant like somebody said in a comment section.

TeamCryo says ...
Dec 14, 2016 @ 11:31am

Hahaha that was really cool. I liked the idea of being a manually activated humanoid robot very much and the realization works very well. Well done !

Mike Mezhenin says ...
Dec 14, 2016 @ 4:22pm

That feeling when you realize that you have to blink, oh boy. Great idea! Out of my first 10 retries (three out of which ended with laser-beaming my mother) I managed to get out of there alive and find out the Triad Head's identity. It feels like the introductory thing in the beginning is too long; also, I more reactions for weird behaviour would be cool.

panurge says ...
Dec 14, 2016 @ 6:11pm

You know I'm predisposed to like your games but this may be my favourite yet, in concept at least. I really hope you expand on it in the future - the idea is so cool and (as is not often the case with cool ideas...) it really works in terms of gameplay too! Story, visuals, sound, all spot on. Top Marks!

(I couldn't complete it, by the way, but will definitely be returning to it later.)

SbstnC says ...
Dec 15, 2016 @ 3:06pm

As usual your writing is spot on, and the game is fun, witty and charming.

And as usual, it's worth the time spent trying to understand how things works, realizing you have to blink is quite rewarding, for example. I'm glad we don't have to "manually" keep the all the sphincters closed, but the fart button is, of course, a great feature.

My only grief is, that keeping the character alive is a big task in itself, making it difficult to follow the story. So I have yet to beat the game.

elmoGames says ...
Dec 16, 2016 @ 2:53pm

So polished! The games is fun even though you have to read so many things but it has a nice tutorial. Well done I enjoyed my time with it. I know its a jam game but it was hard to read all that so voice acting even though impossible would have been neat

DoubtfulGames says ...
Dec 17, 2016 @ 5:00am

Nicely done! I actually really enjoyed this one. Neat idea for sure. A little hard to control, but then again if you were actually someone remotely controlling a parasite I imagine it *would* be kind of hard to control. Neat trying to figure out the different options in the storyline.

bigbuggames says ...
Dec 17, 2016 @ 5:47pm

One of the best mechanics I've seen so far! The game is really good if you know how to touch type. At first it was confusing but once I've got the hang of it it got pretty interesting although I couldn't get the information from her. Keep up the good work!

Dec 17, 2016 @ 7:02pm

Really complicated controls but a lot of interesting ideas here. Cool stuff. :)

parias001 says ...
Dec 17, 2016 @ 7:05pm

Oh my God! I zapped her a lot of times!!! I almost finish the game but I got my troath sliced...
I enjoyed it a lot, it is truly an amazing game!!! Great job!!!

Sean says ...
Dec 17, 2016 @ 8:04pm

This is a very clever entry! Controlling a Chinese Room-inspired robot inside a literal Chinese room made this possibly the best use of the theme I've seen.

I did manage to "win" eventually, though I get the feeling you're intended to play multiple times in order to complete all the objectives (I only managed to get the location, identity, and survive). The length made it get quite repetitive, and the thought of having to play another dozen times trying to figure out how to trigger the other paths was demoralizing. At one point (when you're prompted to prove who you are) it feels as if you even know that's the case; that moment definitely feels like "HAHA NOPE! Now you have to do the whole thing again!"

Tedium aside, it's an interesting game and well-worth playing a few times!

Ithildin says ...
Dec 17, 2016 @ 8:53pm

It is a bit challenging to understand what's going on at the beginning, but eventually it all clicked (and as the conversation with the other character I remembered one meaning of the title).

Very innovative concept with some cool graphics, I liked it a lot :D

akirassasin says ...
Dec 18, 2016 @ 11:07am

Breathtaking (haha) game!

indrkl says ...
Dec 18, 2016 @ 11:55am

That is the most innovative thing I've seen so far, though I'm a bit confused by all the mechanics... the highlighting of different pieces is an excellent start. Though managing your heartbeat breathing and then trying to notice what that woman is saying at the same time... brilliant experience.

kik0729 says ...
Dec 18, 2016 @ 12:08pm

Pretty hard, but the mood and idea is amazing!

Ellian says ...
Dec 18, 2016 @ 6:17pm

This was just fantastic. I wasn't able to reach the end because I couldn't tell how to get her to move forward in the dialog after she spoke about eating; but the idea in general was fantastic. :)
Congratulation, you made a pretty great thing!

Karai17 says ...
Dec 20, 2016 @ 10:48am

What a curious game! I will have to try this again later when I have more time, but what a great little experience! This was a great game, thanks!


ValiaP says ...
Dec 21, 2016 @ 11:55am

Cool idea and settings! Very special control system. The heart and lungs were really good design.

caranha says ...
Dec 25, 2016 @ 2:10pm

Haha! Double Chinese room! I loved this game, the whole idea of trying to control the body while trying to play spy.

It is super hard though, I really have no idea of what I'm supposed to be doing, but that is the idea right?

I did not get what the two buttons related to digestion were... it seems that one is digest, and the other is throw up?

Marvelous game! If you could post a walkthrough video it would be awesome!

pkenney says ...
Jan 1, 2017 @ 5:58pm

What a very interesting and well-executed entry! Great work! I checked your entry out because you'd played my game billiard dungeon earlier this year, and I'm glad I got to experience this unique game you've made.

I enjoyed the initial confusion since it's not like other games. I had some shock and lack of understanding at first about why I had to manually pump my heart and blink my eyes, and I enjoyed the way this confusion blossomed into understanding that drove the plot. Like, you never explicitly *told* me what's really happened, but respected me enough to let me figure it out from what the control scheme implies - very cool.

I played through four times. In my final run I was able to get out alive, although I only accomplished one of my other goals. My shortest run was when I was totally honest. ;)

Even after several runs one thing I never understood was the alarm that comes up around the stroke. I don't know if this is hard-coded or if I was mis-operating my lungs. I had a habit of steadily tapping the heart-lung-eye to keep my body stable, but about midway through this fails and I get an alarm I don't know how to fix.

I would have liked to explore this more and play a bunch of times. There's a delicate tradeoff here between an immersive experience and too much repetition... I'm not sure you could have done better but eventually when I escaped alive I felt pretty satisfied, and my feeling of not wanting to repeat slightly outweighed my curiosity about the paths I had not explored.

Overall this is a fantastic LD entry, with really novel mechanics I haven't ever seen before, and interesting mental space to explore. The execution was also spot-on... very impressed!

Jan 6, 2017 @ 6:54pm

Really solid game! I included it in my compilation video series of the Ludum Dare 37 games, if you’d like to take a look. :)

May 4, 2017 @ 11:30pm

I also included this game in an article of my favorites!

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