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I love this game. I wonder what's Ollie's whole story

Here's my short review of Life Tastes Like Cardboard

The Positive

- An interesting & moving story dealing with the topics of depression, death, loneliness, memory and mental health.

- Several varied art styles & moods evolving throughout the adventure, from very dark, almost angry and raw to childish and luminous.

- The game puts us in the head and the heart of its creator, as if we were invited to read a secret diary or a confidence of a close friend. It always felt personal and genuine.

- Fantastic sound design & audio experimentations , I liked the industrial tones and noises used here and there. The progression of the music in certain areas was really well done and the sound effects greatly contribute to the overall ambiance.

- I never knew what to expect and that was a good thing, it's easy to fall into general & easy tropes while dealing with subjects like these. You can also tell a lot of attention was put into little details, something that was especially appreciated from this reviewer.

- I enjoyed a lot of the cultural references and suggestions you can find by looking hard enough. I spent nearly an hour digging through the links of the in-game PC.

- An orange-juice rythmn game.

- The small-talk segments remembered me of some people that I truly miss and hit rather close to home, bonus points for that.

- It's 100% free (which is surprising considering the overall quality of the whole thing).

The Negative

- Some areas are a bit confusing to navigate (which fits the theme of the game, it's just not my cup of tea).

- I encountered a small bug with the in-game PC where it would sometimes fail to size properly, making it impossible to leave and explore the rest of the appartment without closing the whole game.

- Some small & random slowdowns at time, nothing major.

Should you play it?

If you are currently looking for a deeply introspective & remarkably original adventure, You should definitely play this game.

I was quite surprised by the Steam store page at first glance and the tons of good reviews but people were right, it was indeed a special experience which I can highly recommend.

Just be warned that it tackles heavy subjects in a highly artistic & personal way and might not be for everyone.


Significant spoilers ahead.

In my experience, many works fail at depicting depression and mental illness, either completely misunderstanding or misrepresenting it or bombarding the viewer with walls of text in an egregious violation of 'show, don't tell'. Similarly, I'm not fond of most "walking simulators", as they often fail to replace compelling game mechanics or a game-driven narrative with something else to chew on: an interesting story, wondrous set pieces, or simply thought-provoking ideas.

And then there's Life Tastes Like Cardboard, a walking simulator so visceral and personal that it perfectly captures the essence of severe mental illness.

Visual abstraction is a powerful tool in achieving this aim. In many chapters, the game has frenetic, childlike art, which may feel offputting at first, but grows on you quickly. The errant pixelated strokes, vague depictions of space and broken perspective and abstract horrors perfectly reflect the neuroses of the artist. This is exhibited right away in the start, where a dreary grey realm closest to 'reality' transforms into a compressed mishmash of familiar dreary set pieces from the lecture hall and the unkempt apartment. The opening act is perhaps the most blunt of these visual metaphors, but it's apt: daily life literally blurs into a meaningless grey continuity of just existing, momentarily broken by the discordant refuge of digital entertainment. You're alive, but not living, existing in a stasis of shambolic obligations of work or school, subsisting on fast food and slumping into a computer chair passively watching the same dozen youtube videos and netflix shows for a dubious dopamine response that grows weaker by the day.

That's just the opening. As the real world and Jon's implied memories, experiences and mental state blend into a mix of dream, mood-altered perception and metaphor, we find other tactful explorations of social anxiety and depression, including:
-An unnerving moment where a glass path in an art museum puts Jon on display in a transparent box as an 'art piece', as passerbys wander forward and ogle him.

-Traversing a labyrinth and encountering a maze without a solution, forcing Jon to backtrack to another impossible maze that he simply phases through to complete the level.

-Bookstores full of peculiar, evolving titles on the shelves, with an attendant who constantly verbally accosts Jon to leave the premises.

-An esoteric and confusing 'museum', each with its own unique rules, most notably one where it would literally take infinite time to traverse to the other side of the room.

-A distorted village that flips the camera, revealing previously unseen, and often horrifying new things.

-The therapist is a cardboard cutout, and has nothing meaningful to reply with despite Jon's engagement with him.

-Jon's sprite often evolves based on the aesthetic of the current chapter, and often in a meaningfully representative way.

This is the essence of showing not telling. And for all the dialogue that does exist in the game (and there's plenty of it), it continues to give us a window into Jon's mind without the exposition ever getting too clumsy. The sessions with Rem grant small insights into Jon's past and present, ranging from subtle hints, to more descriptive explorations of the sources and nature of his anxiety. Jon's conversations with Ollie are also insightful and relatable: awkward pleasantries on gentle topics that somehow evolve into deeper conversation, akin to how I made friends back when I understood how to do so.

One might argue Jon's confession to Ollie in his home, or the Sick Enough arcade cabinet may have done the previous tactful encounters with Ollie and Rem a disservice, but given both are situated near the end of the game, rather than a tedious monologue, it comes off as brutal reckoning that drops the pretense of implication for an explicit confrontation with accumulated thoughts, many of which are frighteningly resonant with myself.

I guess this is all to say that Life Tastes Like Cardboard is effective when its being blunt and when its being subtle.

Interestingly, Life Tastes Like Cardboard was well designed around player experience in subtle ways. For instance, in the Sick Enough arcade game, the distance covered is always just enough for the text to be written out and read by the player, wasting no time. Its a subtle bit of excellent user experience so effective that you don't even notice it unless you pay attention. Similarly, the game tactically accelerates the introductory chapters without sacrificing the message, truncating the protracted trip from the bedroom to the classroom by the third outing, which in it of itself has metaphorical value in terms of how the world is perceived by a depressed individual: time blurs in this gray world.

A highly visual experience feels wasted without a proper soundtrack, and Life Tastes Like Cardboard has an excellent one. The somber guitar in Class I-III evolves beautifully into Jon's Theme, the main melody practically wailing in anguish as you explore a deteriorating reality terminating in a steady, heavy-hearted, low key rhythm. The Most Important Thing dances about in melancholic wonder, making you feel as though you're touching upon something sacred, nostalgic and beautiful as you collect journal-like memories. Most strikingly, the sickening murmurs of Drama and Drama II accompany exploration of a desert of vagrants and a decrepit hospital of static and death, before culiminating in a jaw-dropping crescendo in Drama III, where in the Dental Ward, victims and monsters writhe in real and imagined atrocities, depicted as if transcribed with a marker in the quivering hands of an innocent child. This escalation, music-wise, constitutes 19 minutes of continual evolution that invokes a similar soul-wrenching despair I'd hear on a Godspeed You! Black Emperor album.

Intriguing visuals, evolving set pieces, easter eggs and excellent, fitting music are all great, but my appreciation for this project wouldn't be so intense for it if it weren't for the last aspect: how deeply personal the project seems to be.

This notion is hinted at. X's are used to tastefully redact certain information, such as Jonathan's last name, or the names of bands that appeal to him. Moreover, the creator himself has stated that the game is semi-autobiographical, which admittedly is almost alarming given revalations of two family suicides, a children's book with a brutal progression and the final whimper of the climax: plain white text on a black rectangle implying a most tragic outcome.

Why is it that I can empathize so strongly with some of the content here? Why is it that the dialogue feels so real? Why is it that my heart drops as I enter the Dental Ward? Why do some of the lines in Sick Enough hurt so badly? Why is it that the dancing colors of Ollie's realm fill me with the same solace, despair and wonder as a powerful memory where I biked miles from my college campus, to find an endless sea of languishing suburbs, sparse woods and plains, indescribable beauty and hope dancing hand-in-hand sorrow and nostalgia?

It's because of how personal this game is. It is frighteningly intimate. I became most clearly aware of this in the chapter of Ollie's visit, exploring files on Jon's computer. Bravely and vunerably, Demensa had given us a window into his world, a rich glimpse into one's inner life so close I feel as if I'm an intruder stepping into a sanctuary lost to the ages. Despite social anxiety, individual people are a fascination to me: it's a wonder to think that on a busy street, immediately around you, hundreds of people are living their lives. Their complicated, unique story had momentarily intersected with mine, and perhaps never again. What were their experiences like? What brought them to this moment? Peering through old pieces of Jon's (or Demensa's) art, photos from two decades ago and fragments of music, I had found an answer to that question that I never had before, vicariously exploring another person's life in a way I'm not sure I'll ever experience again.

This intimacy lends not only credence, but authenticity to these cathartic representations of Demensa's experiences, and by extension, the fundamental experience of depression, anxiety and mental illness. And to his credit, he also understands that mental illness isn't an all absorbing monster. It is a shadow that recedes, lunges, persists and fades; the darkness waxes and wanes. There are bright spots. The grassy field upon which Jon first encounters Ollie is punctuated by the chiptune march Track and Field that brims with momentum and hope. Whatever Comes To Mind, a wandering, comfortable and distinctly 'video game' tune reminiscent of comfortable blanket-couch titles like Animal Crossing accompanies a loveable sequence where Ollie and Jon hold pleasant conversation. The almost heaven-like pencil-on-paper look of Ollie's visit to Jon's apartment, accompanied with the glowing, atmospheric Is It Really Me returns us to an almost angelic solace contrasting the nightmarish conclusion of the previous chapter. And of course, the mesmerizing black hole Sunset of Ollie's world, set to his theme, a warm guitar that explodes into a lo-fi cathartic melody and breaking waves that in potent sorrow, reaffirms the delicate joy that is being alive.

What links these bright moments are a pervasive melancholy, often implied through the music itself and gameplay-wise through the impermanence of each chapter. In sparse few chapters do we find genuine joy, or at least, clarity, support or calmer contemplation is afforded. These moments are noticeable (in game, and in real life), and are cherished. But as always, we can't seem to linger in these spaces forever. The clock turns, our minds do awful things, the world changes, and we're thrown back into a frightening unknown. Jon says it best in his confession to Ollie: "I know I'm going to have to leave soon and I-I'm scared, Ollie. I don't want to leave."

Because when we leave, what can await us is frightening. The all-consuming climax opens with a distorted realm, reminiscent of the one from the opening chapter, only this time, Rem and his office are the recurring motif, rather than the classroom and apartment, accented, by dismaying, erratic red streaks. The musical introduction is meandering, almost directionless, settling upon radio static-like harmonies before erupting into an extremely loud, distorted repetition of that interlude as the terrain shifts and distorts violently. Jon's sprite is literally falling apart. Scathing, mocking commentary is offered by the monstrous Rems. Somewhere in the distance, the cadence wails once more like a dying bird. Cruel visions of death and suicide line the path, which becomes hard to navigate. The track stutters and thrashes, returns to a miserable melody reminiscent of Pigmented Triad (which preceded this scene) before finally settling on an uneasy repetition. The pain of loss has hit Ollie hard, and the heartbreak moment in The Quiet Kitten makes a reappearance. The music's repetition continues as more static and noise builds, each step getting harder to take, the pain of existence accumulating, the heavier it all becomes until...

'I'm so sorry and I understand if you can't forgive me.'

...

As someone who has idealized his own suicide once, I'd like to think Demensa meaningfully made sure not to end the game with that sentence as the last word. The cardboard of Rem's room falls away, and Jon sits down with Ollie (holding hands, if you've done your due diligence). The fact that Demensa, is still making art to this day on his Twitter is a thankful reminder that this project is not a beautifully elaborate suicide note, but a cathartic exploration of the furthest depths of depression, how it distorts one's perception of the world, and most importantly, the precious people and moments of hope and wonder that help us keep fighting through it.

Alright I had to make a account to comment on this game. I found this on steam while looking for dumb free games and saw its name pop up and honestly thought that it was gonna be something stupid like a cardboard eating simulator. Little did I know I just walked in on a f*cking masterpiece of a game. I started up the game and was immediately amazed at the art style, it is simple yet cool and effective in portraying the mood of a scene. Once the game started getting fucked up and spooky It got scary and interesting. I played the game half way through before I had to go to bed and it had me excited to wake up in the morning to play again. The game design is wonderful all the fantastic little details like lights casting shadows and the hung bodies swinging when tapped where amazing. And all the level changes always had me exited to se how I would maneuver to the next. It also had some of the best damn dialog I've seen in years the conversations with Ollie just seemed so genuine and real it was amazing. And the ambiance in all the levels was fantastic, in fact some of them had me shaking in my seat lol. And the art style changes when going into Ollie's dream where amazing. It was buetiful and hard to just not sit there and look at every line. And the ending i loved too, just a black screne and you and your friend hugging then going to the credits. Beautiful. And apparently this is your first game? I still have a hard time believing that the game was wonderfully designed and I was never lost on where to go to (except for the maze map) but all the levels worked together flawlessly and made the game fun and easy to move through. For your first game its amazing and I hope to hear that there may be something else coming soon because I would love to see more from you, you are simply amazing. I feel like this game deserves more recognition and praise and I want to share it with all my friends. Thank you for making this wonderful game keep on keeping on

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Oh man really good I say it is a good project 
I just can't say something I can only say WOOOW
It's so specific I love that graphic style and music so well when you just go-go-go to-to-to place after then another place 'then other place... and that all like non-stop all your mind is full of one thought find the fuckin' way and see what'll be next
It's cool really cool and the best part: cool story (storytelling too cool and sad, ending is so depressive) in some moments I-I just think 'that me? that really like me!' IDK how you made this but I just can say IT'S DAMN-GREAT-GAME Man!

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I usually don't write comments, but now I could not pass by and created an account. 
accidentally found this game  a couple of days ago and ... uGGHHh, I can't describe how deeply it touched me. your game is amazing and incredibly emotional. you really put your soul into it. 
routine life, depressive thoughts, weird vision of reality - all this makes me feel it so clearly. I'm done already, but... can't stop crying ?? 

at first I thought it would be a short game about depression, but it turned out to be much deeper and longer. thorough exploration of all locations (especially 'breakdown' moments, Jon's home and his computer), all friendly dialogues with Ollie, looking for meaningful thing and then communicating with the therapist, like, return in grey reality from dream again... just admire these details.

besides, the soundtrack was SO FUCKING GOOD AND INSPIRING TOO, it accurately conveys the atmosphere. will definitely listen to them again and again.

this game is an art and I am glad to have this experience. 
I'm. in. love. 

Thank you so much for creating this masterpiece, you are awesome artist!! 💕
(and sorry for possible mistakes, haha)

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Thank you so much!!

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I felt weird having played this for free thanks for making it. 

Thank you so much for the support <3

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Whens the next game coming out? Life Tastes Like Cardboard 2?

i would love if come out a game exclusively bout ollie's life... seems his life is very complex... but wat i can do is seeing demensa's yt and fur affinity where have some more content not always game related... also demensa have a bandcamp and twitter... i ever get updated with his content hoping for a new game

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hope you're in a better place now and doing well <3 

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Hello there! This game is great and very inspiring! As a lot of other people here, it really touched me deeply. I'm really happy you choose to share this with us, a huge thank you for that (^0^)b

 As a musician, i've made a remix of some of your music, would you like to hear it?  Where can i send it to you, if you're interested? If you don't like the result, please tell me, no problem. <3

Thanks again for all your hard work!!


All the best and much love,

CTB 

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Thank you so much, I'd love to hear it!  You can send it to asnemed@gmail.com.  I'm also @demensamusic on twitter if you want to DM me a link instead!

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Hey man, I freakin love your game. It speaks to me in a lot of ways that I couldn't even think a game could replicate. Thank you.....Thank you so much for your time and effort. Don't be sorry for releasing this. This game is a fucking masterpiece....Thank you. I'm also thinking about remixing your music from this game and autumngoodbye from your youtube channel (i make boom bap beats btw).  But anyways, thank you for making such a great piece  of  art...you are one awesome dude! I would love to see another game like this or even a sequel! I hope life doesn't taste like cardboard for you and I hope that you are in good spirits! (again for the 100th time) Thank you very much for a great playing experience for me!!!

thank you so much, feel free to remix that, by the way <3

oh and I also want to say that this game connected with me on another level. i can't really explain it but at the part when the cardboard cutout talks to Jon near the end and the part where the guys where jumping into the hole really surprised me on how this game is really like my story. I have autism spectrum and most of these events were relatable to different parts of my life as a kid or when I was 13-15 (i'm 17 btw). So, thank you very much for (in a way) a wake up call on how my life should be.

I also hope that i finish this EP that i'm working on soon so i can show you what i did to autumngoodbye on one of the tracks.

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I'm not one for words, but I really wanted to let you know that your game is something that should be cherished. You put your heart in this game and it really hit hard. I can't stop crying, can't even tell what emotion I'm feeling.

Thank you.

Thank you for playing <3

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?