A downloadable game for Windows

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a game about boredom and self-pity.

it's about me, mostly.

you walk around and press the 'interact button'.

Content Warning: This game deals with themes of mental illness, self harm and suicide.

this is my first game.

sorry.

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life-tastes-like-cardboard-windows-build1.zip 965 MB
Version 4

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hello! i have to say that the game really touched my heart... specially when was the ending

and i was thinking about make a fan server of the game... and are you ok with it? i am also trying to tell some people about this game and help they dealijg with depression if you want i share to u the link of it

yeah, of course! thank you!!!

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hey.... im curious bout the book: a sad fantasy... is it avaliable to read ingame? or it will be a future release in a update or other game

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1890624484

it's in-game!

hello everyone.... i have found the good ending this night.... and im releasing a video with it on youtube.... so soon i share the link.... i really loved the game and the alternative ending it was really cute!  even if the game is very serious and sad.... maybe is my favorite game story ever

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here's the link: times at description https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVs26bpAHDw

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Hey...just want you to know that this game was one of the most important games I played all year, so...don't be sorry. Sekiro was real fun and Pokemon was neat and all but...geez...this was really something else. It's in my "Top Games of the Year" list, okay? 

I started watching the playthrough AlphaBetaGamer did on YT for the first 30 minutes, paused, got out of my bed and was like "dang, this aint how i'm experiencing this!!" Honestly, really glad I did that. I had to...feel this game. Some youtube vid where they don't leave the text up long enough for me to read it without pausing wasn't gonna cut it. I needed to check every last detail and thing on my own. Needed to get lost in a maze, needed to get sad about school, needed to find things to talk to the therapist about, needed to check every tree to make sure it felt alive, needed to get frustratingly lost in the artist's house...

This game has so so so so so so much going for it and I'm honestly...well...it made me kinda sad? Really sad at times, because I saw so much of myself in Jon (er...you? Sorry but it's a little opaque to me whether or not Jon == You, sorry if I'm talking about you like you're not a real person if I am 9_6) that it made me want to get up and stop for a bit though I didn't. Hell, I've had a vegetarian phase myself that lasted long enough to be important but so short in the grand scheme of things I wondered why I even bothered...

Not to get too much into my own things though, sorry. This game, I get it. I get what it's saying. I know what's happening, happened. You did an amazing job on this. I consider your first game a success ^_^ but primarily because: You Did It, You Made The Game (And It Was Also Very Poignant And Touched Me So Deeply I Think I Can Begin To Feel Again).

It takes a lot to make something like this, though. And most of all I commend you on making what you thought was important enough to make. Your effort is real, it's here, and it's making people feel the same things I did. Thanks for the feelings, and the comfort knowing there will be a friend somewhere for me, even if it's in my dreams.

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I don't even know how to reply to this. Thank you so  so so much for playing.

Thank you!!!!!! <3

Thank you so much for making this game. I often times don't become emotional but this game really did it. It's just such a great game. I've been having to read stories for an english class and none of them came close to a free game that I just happened to come across on steam. I was just looking up "surreal games" and I found a game of the year. 

Thank you. 

Thank you!! I'm glad you liked it!!

(Also, I love your username... I was not expecting an NLSS reference here!)

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made an account just to say thank you for making this game. it's beautiful. i didn't know what i expected when i first started playing it, and i actually wanted  to make fun of it at first, it seemed so overly serious and silly.

but as i played it, it totally blew me away - not only is it incredibly creative at times and fascinating to go through each section and discover how  you've made them unique - the writing is really captivating and interesting in a very somber, gentle way. i loved all of the different styles, and how abstract and chaotic many of the areas got. that, and the soundtrack is really perfect. every part, even the clashy/noisy parts, it all sells it so well. i liked each chapter end with jon talking about random things to rem, it made me really connect with him and get a view into someone's life and i really loved that. the same with the conversations with ollie. i first thought it was silly how he and jon would over-analyse life but it grew on me very quickly. i adored their conversations, they all felt very natural and realistic to me. this game is really special because of the therapy bits and ollie, honestly.

most of all i'm surprised at how relatable and hard hitting a good few parts of this are. i wasn't expecting to be touched at all, and definitely not as much as it did. i've genuinely been sitting in awe from the ending of it for a good few hours now, it's totally scattered me and i can't focus. it was surreal to be seeing your game express things i've felt and thought so clearly. i didn't think i'd relate on such a deep level at times to a game of all things, but you've really made a piece of art here.

my favorite parts are the art museum, the hot chocolate/movie meeting with ollie, and the ending with all mementos. that small change made everything for me at the end, i really almost started crying.

i wish i could give you more. i'm telling everyone i know to experience this, you deserve all of the support you get and more, genuinely. 

now THAT'S what i call ART

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oh thank you!! that means so much

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I really enjoyed playing this game.

This game was relatable in some areas, and foreign in others, but at the end of the day it left a lasting impact on me, one I won't forget anytime soon.

I liked Jon as a protagonist. I found myself relating to his outlook on a lot of things, and I quickly established an emotional connection with him. I loved reading his thoughts that the various mementos hidden throughout the game unlocked. That character building helped me appreciate him more as a regular dude going the hell of mental illness. 

Ollie was a great character, and I found myself wanting to rush through the various areas just so I could speak with him again. His interactions not only helped Jon as a character, but myself as well. It's nice to have someone that can listen and relate to you, (even if he is a fictional character). 

With all that this game did well, there are a few things that it could improve upon. I found myself often wishing for a faster walking speed, especially in the larger areas, which brings me to another point; many of the areas felt too vast and without a clear direction. While I realize that this is appropriate as a metaphorical representation of depression, from a gameplay standpoint, it was less than ideal.

I think my biggest criticism is the fact that I found myself feeling somewhat disappointed at the end. This is more of a personal nitpick, but I wish that Jon and Ollie got together by the end, or hugged or held hands or something. They deserve to be happy, especially after the sunset intervention scene.

Regardless, I think you did very well with this game, especially considering it's your first one. Regardless of whether or not you agree with my criticisms, I hope you continue to make games, or update this one in the future. I'd look forward to it.

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Thank you so much for all of the feedback! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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Okay, so...

I first played this on steam because it was free, and I was in the mood to wollow in a downer mood. And cause it was free, I thought like it would be a 20 minute game like 'The Static Speaks My Name'. Much longer than I expected, so that was great. Unlike the other people who said that they finished the game in one sitting, I couldn't because it became a bit too stressful to continue, hehe... By no means do I feel as if I'm this depressed. I don't feel like I'm entitled to that, but some lines in the game did hit hard.

As for the whole gameplay, I agree with some people that some parts of it were dragged out(I had to look up gameplay footage for a few parts), but I think it's right because that's part of what makes the game feel like itself. Sometimes it's just boring. What you do doesn't really get you to the next place, you're just there going around in circles.

Parts of the game that felt like real horror was made because of the clever mechanics but also because of the music. It made my head hurt, which I guess added to the experience? I liked it a lot(I wonder if I could buy it elsewhere?).

Ollie is such a good guy, too. If he weren't in the game, I don't think I would have been able to finish it. After some segments, I was just looking for him, but also didn't want him to see me like the way I was and didn't want him to feel down because of me... Some parts made me feel like there was another part to him, also. Like, to us, as the player, he was there to be a companion, to help support us. And I thought, 'Who would support him?'. I don't know, I just wanted Ollie to be happy.

Anyway, sorry for the comment being so long. I hope you do get to read it though, because you made something really good. I did donate; I wish I could more but I'm still just a student.. If you make any other games, I'd love to play it also. Thanks for making this.

Thank you so much for buying it!  I really appreciate that you took the time to leave some thoughts here as well.

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For some reason I keep getting into these situations where I start playing emotional games in the middle of the night thinking it'll be a quick and easy experience only to find myself completely blown away a few hours later at five in the morning. I think this game in particular benefited a lot from me being in a half-asleep state most of the time. It helped to ease my mind and thoughts into the bizzare dream world while still having a decent understanding of what's going on. I did have to do a second playthrough to actually remember a lot of the minor details though.

Anyways, this game is pretty great. Despite the movement speed being just a tad bit too slow, I was always motivated to keep moving and exploring just to see what kind of unique places and things awaited me. It's a very surreal experience but not too surreal as to be obtuse or completely nonsensical. The music also helped tremendously in keeping me going, especially during the giant maze section which has my personal favorite track. Ollie is adorable and the conversations he has with Jon are even moreso. I'm a real sucker for lighthearted stuff, especially when it's a shining beacon of hope in an otherwise hopeless or depressing setting.

My favorite scene is either Ollie's final intervention with Jon in the sunset area or the game's finale. I think I enjoyed Ollie's last intervention because of how much of a stark contrast it is to Jon's dreams. It's a straightforward, casual conversation with a friend in a gorgeous environment in a game that's otherwise bizzare, depressing, and frightening at times. I definitely enjoyed Ollie's other interventions for similar reasons, but the final one absolutely has the biggest impact for me. The game's finale is also amazing. The visuals, sound, and text combine together to make something that's just screaming with emotion.

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Thanks for playing and thanks for buying the game as well!  I appreciate the feedback a lot.

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I got this game on steam first and played through the whole thing in a single sitting (i was transfixed). I decided to buy it here afterwards because, in all honesty, it felt criminal not supporting something that I think absolutely deserves it. This game is, in my opinion, a masterpiece. It has its lower parts, as do all things, but the main problems I had with it (Some backtracking and confused wandering around some parts) honestly only managed to give me a sense of lost hopelessness that worked to further the game's message. The soundtrack is hauntingly beautiful, and the art style fits perfectly with its themes. I found myself completely drawn in to the setting, the characters, and, I suppose unfortunately, found myself able to relate to a lot of it. 

Thank you so much for making this game. I cannot describe why, but I feel as if i'm able to look deeper into myself after playing through your story.


also Ollie is best boy <3

Thank you so much for the support.  It means a lot to hear that you liked it so much.

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God where do I begin

I guess i could start with the few things I wasn't fond of, as the game focuses on those aspects of itself primarily too. I found certain segments dull and monotonous to struggle through between the slow walk speed and a lack of obvious direction forward, but I would probably guess those aspects were on purpose to deliberately drive that specific mood home. So I guess this isn't even a critique, Oh No! My true form revealed: a fan!

I loved how you used color to contrast the dullness of the waking world vs the splendors/horrors of the dreaming world, not to mention segments where it was hard to tell if what was being witnessed was even a dream at all. Is Ollie a real person? Did the two of them actually meet? Questions without answers. Speaking of color, I was often floored by the fantastical shades thrown about, especially the sunset scene. The atmosphere had me on the edge of my seat in misery and terror, the three strongest scenes that affected me were: children's book, hot chocolate, arcade machine (kept nondescript for spoiler-free enjoyment). I was also legit impressed by the computer scene, specifically the mspaint gadget. That cant have been easy to code... unless it was... in which case still good job!

wait, I lied, one last critique... why must you prevent me from seeing my boys just hug, or hold hands for a brief moment ;n; they both deserve happiness.

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Wow!! Thanks so much for the detailed reply, I'm happy to hear you enjoyed it.  (i agree with both of the critiques too!)

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relating to the concept of this project, i hope you're doing well. ollie reminded me of a guy i met, pretty much a partner i could go to for at least an iota of comfort. as symbolic as this game goes, thank you so much for making it. please take care 

thank you so much

I hope you're doing well too.

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Hi, I made an account just to comment here:
so just a few hours ago, I found this game at a very particular point in my life, and watching a playthrough of it was both soothing and reassuring. The longer I watched the harder my jaw hit the floor. I feel understood by it, I don't know. The honesty of it all really spoke to me. Thank you for sharing this game, it's inspired me to keep creating things, thank you

(Also, I really love love love the music and if you have an OST placed somewhere I would listen to it regularly. Quick edit: the mention of Untrue by Burial sealed the deal, no wonder I love the style of music in this so much... I knew it reminded me of something)

I actually wanted to approach on twitter if the soundtrack could be uploaded to youtube or something. There are segments I would probably listen to on repeat.

I should get around to doing that!  It's on bandcamp for now, in case you haven't seen:  https://demensa.bandcamp.com/album/life-tastes-like-cardboard-soundtrack

Thank you so much!! I didn't see unfortunately, so ty for responding

Thanks so much for watching that playthrough!  I'm glad you liked it.  The soundtrack is here: https://demensa.bandcamp.com/album/life-tastes-like-cardboard-soundtrack

trying to run the game freezes up my computer, what can i do

Oh man, I'm sorry.  How much RAM do you have?  The game uses at least 600MB and sometimes up to 900MB because I'm dumb and lazy and didn't spend the time to lower it.  Can you get to the menu alright?  It takes between 45 seconds and a minute for the initial load, but it might take more on other machines, I didn't get a chance to test it on more than a couple of computers.  Any details about the problem and the specs on your computer would be appreciated. If you could close any other applications first, that might help.

i have 4 GB but usually only 3 GB available. ill try making sure everything is closed

For some reason the game will not work for me, any idea why? It'll  say it's loading then abruptly close

Ah, sorry, I haven't seen that before.  What version of Windows are you on, what graphics card do you have, and how much RAM do you have?

8GB, Intel 4660 HD(I'm on a laptop) and Windows 10, do you need the exact version?

Huh, I can't think of what the problem is... I'll try to do some research tomorrow.  This project was cobbled together with no experience in programming or shipping games, so I apologise because it should just work.

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:p
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are there multiple endings or only one?

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There is a way to make something very very very slightly different happen at the end, but again, I emphasise the 'slightly'.

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im guessing get all optional items?

My theory is that the difference in 'ending' depends on leaving/staying and the like with Ollie?