Ever wonder what sort of computer games a lone individual could make in a single weekend? Well then boy do I have a website for you. Lumdum Dare is a thing I just learned about after I stumbled upon a little game called Dream Fishing (created by a Sophie Houlden) that was a product of one of these weekend challenges that they host. Apparently what happens is a theme is stated and people jump on board to make games based in the given theme. This time the theme was "Minimalism".

Dream Fishing has this in spades...if that makes any sense. The game is controlled purely with your mouse. There isn't much to the environment (shocking, I know) but you can use your mouse to look around the game world to check out the things that do exist. You can also traverse the, erm, implied landscape by pressing or holding your right mouse button down to move forward. The only other actions you have involve your fishing pole -- holding and releasing the left mouse button will cast your line out and your scroll wheel can be used to draw said line back in.

I think it's worth noting that I was having a really, really bad day and Dream Fishing managed to lift my spirits. To me, that's really something. There aren't any objectives to speak of; just a pond with some scattered fish just waiting to be caught. It doesn't take any brain power or critical thinking whatsoever to engage yourself in it but somehow it's really charming and I never found myself bored with it. I'd start it up, play around with it for a bit, and then leave it alone once I felt my mood brightened. And this has worked for me three times thus far.

Your guess is as good as mine.

So what exactly happens when you play Dream Fishing? Well, not a lot. There is no music while you survey the area and pick out your fishing spot, but pleasant tones sound as you walk about. It's when you catch a fish that the magic happens.

No caption can do this justice.
So pretty much you catch a fish, it tells you something thoughtful (i.e. gives you advice) and then punctuates that potentially profound statement with a bit of nonsense. And then your fish sprouts wings and soars away as though demonstrating its own enlightenment. Then it returns to the water -- presumably where it waits to share its fishy insight with the next person who happens along.

Oh, and the fish speaking with you and then flying away is the only part of the game accompanied by music. Yeah, I don't even know. This probably sounds really dumb but somehow I found it heartwarming every single time.

Sadly, most of the bits of fish wisdom that I enjoyed most made me hesitate too long to get a good picture. On the other hand, it made me actually stop and reflect a few times -- which is rare for a game to accomplish. I know a lot of people would probably dismiss this whole thing as pretentious or stupid. Heck, I'm not honestly sure how I feel about calling it a game. It's just kind of an interactive...thing since it's devoid of anything resembling a goal. But I simply can't get over how this genuinely brightened my day.

The funny about this is that the lack of an objective makes it a better experience. If you were meant to collect all the fish or something it wouldn't have nearly the charm. You can't win at Dream Fishing.
Alternatively, everyone wins at Dream Fishing.
I really wish my dreams had this much atmosphere. But more than that I wish that someday I can write something that will make someone laugh or pick them up or entertain them or do whatever it takes to make someone's day the way Dream Fishing made mine today.
Come back! You have so much more to teach me!
If any of this interests you at all you can check Dream Fishing out for yourself here.

You can also watch a time-lapse video of the game's creation. Amusingly, the creator stops to watch some Azumanga Daioh a few times over the course of the process. That might explain some of the surrealism actually. That video here:
And that's all out of me today. I'm going to rest up so I can go see Iron Man 3 at midnight tonight. And then next post I'll either tackle Neverwinter Online or continue on with Secret of Mana. No idea if anyone actually reads any of this but if they do; any input is always welcome. Until then!
02/05/2013 9:02am

I've heard of the Ludum Dare before. It seems like every year I spend some time playing one or two critical darlings from the project. In fact, I recently got EvoLand off Steam, which is a polished version of a previous Ludum Dare project.

So, yeah. Great project. I frankly assumed that you already knew about it or I would have pointed you at it myself.


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