New Video Game Combats the Ultimate Villain—the All-Too-Familiar Feeling of Exhaustion

Candleman Games
Candleman Games

Maybe you're up late working on your dissertation, or you're binge-watching every episode of Game of Thrones (again) before the final season airs. Either way, you know how drained this midnight crusade will leave you in the morning. Sleep is a vitally important part of our health (and makes us better people, too), and yet our cultural insomnia often ranks it lower in priority than finishing just one more chapter in that latest page-turner.

In Yet Another Exhausting Day, from indie developer Candleman Games, this feeling of constant fatigue is the central conceit. The player moves an overtired avatar through a series of obstacles, with the endgame being to finally collapse in bed. The visual representation of this debilitating lack of energy, however, results in a hilarious (if oddly relatable) ragdoll physics that forces the character to physically crawl through the game's setup.

The inspiration for the game came during a 2017 Ludum Dare game jam, a 48-hour gaming development competition. The event's theme was "running out of power." From there, Beijing-based programmer and producer Gao Ming began the process and developed a prototype based on the idea that "one can only crawl because of exhaustion."

Speaking with Wang Hao (who goes by Maxine), a level designer from Candleman Games, the main inspiration for the game originated from a very specific word. "Gao came up with an idea about a person who is running out of strength," Hao tells Mental Floss. "This reminded him of a cultural buzz word in China: 葛优躺, a term describing a person's gesture of lying on a sofa in an exhausted way."

Another inspiration for the game, they say, came from an old internet GIF about a middle-school student crawling through desks like a worm. From that, Gao developed the rest of the game by combining the idea of a collapsed person with the crawling action in a 3D space.

The original prototype had an absurd, humorous vibe. But as with the development of any creative endeavor, the design and editing process has been, well, exhausting.

"We did experiments in many directions: combat, puzzle solving, linear progression, and an endless mode with random level generation," Hao says. "But many of these game prototypes were abandoned because they are not fun enough or had no development potential. It really is exhausting."

gif from "Yet Another Exhausting Day"
Candleman Games

Even if the process was tedious at times, Yet Another Exhausting Day was always intended to be a relaxing, therapeutic experience. The game, the developers say, wasn't made to have any clear answers, opinions, or solutions on the real-world issue of sleep deprivation—only to make the user think about what keeps them awake when they're extremely exhausted.

Unlike their previous game, Candleman, a game about a little candle who wants to be a lighthouse in order to illuminate the surrounding darkness, they didn't want players to act as a hero of a pre-scripted story. "We want players to simply have fun, and be the protagonist in their own stories," Hao says.

image of game "Not Another Exhausting Day"
Candleman Games

You can play an up-to-date prototype of Yet Another Exhausting Day on the game's website, where the team provides updates every three weeks and discusses many of the features that will be implemented. A final version is slated for an early-access release some time during the spring for Steam. Non-PC gamers can expect it to be released soon after for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, as well as on mobile platforms through the App Store and GooglePlay.

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Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels.com
Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels.com

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See What a Trailer for The Empire Strikes Back Might Look Like in 2020

Do or do not watch this trailer. There is no 'try.'
Do or do not watch this trailer. There is no 'try.'
Lucasfilm Ltd.

Special effects, cinematography trends, and acting styles may have changed over the last 40 years, but Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) remains one of the most beloved film sequels—even among younger generations of Star Wars fans—to this day.

The trailer, on the other hand, seems pretty outdated, mainly due to the voiceover narration that expels lofty phrases like “an epic of romance, of heroes and villains,” and “a galactic odyssey against oppression.” To see what The Empire Strikes Back would look like with today’s trailer standards, YouTube user AD_edits created a new one, which relies on dialogue from the film itself to set the stage for the galactic odyssey against oppression.

As Nerdist points out, AD_edits’s trailer also manages to hint at important plot points without giving too much away, like mentioning that Luke must find a great Jedi master without revealing Yoda’s identity. The original, meanwhile, contains a couple outright spoilers—it shows, for example, Darth Vader sitting at the head of the table in Cloud City, waiting to ambush Han Solo and Princess Leia. Viewers might not have realized the significance when they saw the split-second clip in the trailer, but it would probably ruin the surprise when they watched the actual film.

Of course, there was always the possibility certain parts of the trailer could’ve ended up on the cutting room floor before the movie hit theaters, which has definitely happened before. The Cloud City scene made the final cut, but some storylines from earlier in the filmmaking process weren’t so lucky—in fact, most of the first draft for The Empire Strikes Back was completely scrapped. Find out about Darth Vader’s gargoyle-filled castle, Han Solo’s stepfather, and other axed ideas here.

[h/t Nerdist]