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.

The ChopBox Smart Cutting Board Has a Food Scale, Timer, and Knife Sharper Built Right Into It

ChopBox
ChopBox

When it comes to furnishing your kitchen with all of the appliances necessary to cook night in and night out, you’ll probably find yourself running out of counter space in a hurry. The ChopBox, which is available on Indiegogo and dubs itself “The World’s First Smart Cutting Board,” looks to fix that by cramming a bunch of kitchen necessities right into one cutting board.

In addition to giving you a knife-resistant bamboo surface to slice and dice on, the ChopBox features a built-in digital scale that weighs up to 6.6 pounds of food, a nine-hour kitchen timer, and two knife sharpeners. It also sports a groove on its surface to catch any liquid runoff that may be produced by the food and has a second pull-out cutting board that doubles as a serving tray.

There’s a 254nm UVC light featured on the board, which the company says “is guaranteed to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria" after a minute of exposure. If you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to cleanliness, the ChopBox is completely waterproof (but not dishwasher-safe) so you can wash and scrub to your heart’s content without worry. 

According to the company, a single one-hour charge will give you 30 days of battery life, and can be recharged through a Micro USB port.

The ChopBox reached its $10,000 crowdfunding goal just 10 minutes after launching its campaign, but you can still contribute at different tiers. Once it’s officially released, the ChopBox will retail for $200, but you can get one for $100 if you pledge now. You can purchase the ChopBox on Indiegogo here.

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How the Trapper Keeper Trapped the Hearts of '80s and '90s Kids

Courtesy of Cinzia Reale-Castello
Courtesy of Cinzia Reale-Castello

No matter when or where you grew up, back-to-school shopping typically revolved around two things: clothing and school supplies. And if you’re an adult of a certain age, you probably had a Trapper Keeper on that latter list of must-buy items.

Like the stickers, skins, and cases that adorn your smartphones and laptops today, Trapper Keepers were a way for kids to express their individual personalities. The three-ring binders dominated classrooms in the '80s and '90s, and featured a vast array of designs—from colorful Lisa Frank illustrations to photos of cool cars and popular celebrities—that allowed kids to customize their organizational tools. 

In this episode of "Throwback," we're ripping open the Velcro cover and digging into the history of the Trapper Keeper. You can watch the full episode below.

Be sure to head here and subscribe so you don't miss an episode of "Throwback," where we explore the fascinating stories behind some of the greatest toys and trends from your childhood.