Hide and Seek

Hide and Seek is a combination of a zine and a text-only video game made with Twine.

Both parts hare heavily interrelated, but could theoretically be read or played independently – both describe a game of hide and seek on steroids. The zine is supposed to be read interactively, but reading through it „traditionally“ does also work – in it a world that seems to be fundamentally different from ours is established. It stays unclear if it is a intro-perspective into the authors mind or if we deal with completely artificial persons here, but the zine does transport a very intimate atmosphere by addressing the reader directly and in a familiar fashion; this is counteracted by the otherworldly strangeness of the work. The zine is quite extensive, and the quality of the illustrations is astonishing.

The video game attaches to the story established in the zine but seems to be a bit more twisted and gloomy than it – the game of hide and seek might be deadly in this version, and there are – text only – horror, gore, and body horror elements in the descriptions. Your movement through the unsettling and alien world is partly determined by random numbers – resulting in an unbounded, dreamlike atmosphere. Your target is to scout through various places and find the other party within your turns or to hide from being found; while doing so, you enter strange, surreal, and mysterious places. In certain situations, a form of combat is done – there you’ll need to pick a card from your inventory. Choosing right will get you out of your current distress – choosing wrong will usually get you killed.

The interactivity is heavily utilized, resulting in a diverting, lively experience. The writing is dense, and – thanks to a deliberate mixture of jovial and aggressive intonations – somewhat psychotic. Again, the range of content is very extensive. While the zine is reminiscent of a weird and dark but in the end positive dream, the game skips fully into a nightmare – the atmosphere is in a unique way menacing, confusing, and hellish.

The mixture of media, the level of detail in both instances, and the sheer scale of the project allows for a deep dive into a world that is – at least to me – completely alien. While it is hard to say how much of the authors own personality went into it (and isn’t this question kind of futile?), there is a high amount of emotions and feelings transported and visible in this work. „Hide and Seek“ is a singular project that successfully utilizes the big leeway it creates by its mixed media approach.

The zine can be read by using a PDF reader of your choice; I was – however – not able to use the links within the files. The game is only available as in-browser version – I was able to run it using Chromium under OpenSuse Thumbleweed (had problems with Firefox, but that might be very well resulting from my dated hardware). The developer, Puka Muriska, describes themself as coming from an art background. They made another zine about a alien world that is well worth checking out, and associate themself with the concept of underground gaming. Welcome!

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