Inspired by AsterF's "Sad games" topic: examples you applied/can apply?

Extremely personal and sad games is the original topic.

I didn’t want to take over the general ideas discussed there, so I started this one.

What are examples of sad games that really worked for you or showed you the way, or might show you the way, in case you wanted to write one?

Abigail Corfman’s The Absence of Miriam Lane, which placed 2nd in IFComp,worked very well for me. I included a how-and-why of my own which is (I think) the sort of thing I’d look for in other works that 1) is unlikely/unintended to drain the reader and 2) gets across a good example quickly.

There was a scene where you find a photograph of Miriam smiling at work with other coworkers, IIRC at a company party. And you are trying to show her happy memories, to get herself back. But if you show it to her, the status bar shows her shrinking back into herself. You’ve done something to hurt her.

Why? Because it seems like a happy memory for her, but it is not. It is her husband’s job, and she was secretary there, and she never got to explore the needs she wanted.

It worked for me because I remember how my parents would buy me Pepperidge Farm chess cookies because I liked chess and I liked cookies, right? So, combine the two! Synergy! But they might not be happy if I, say, checked a chess book out from the library, even if they didn’t actively discourage it. School being less frivolous.

There parallel with Miriam Lane is that she enjoys writing poetry or bird watching or botany, which her husband finds impractical.

I remember liking the cookies until I didn’t. I don’t have a violent reaction to them but I remember passing them by in the grocery store and having that thought.


While I don’t know how personal it was, After the Accident by @AmandaB is something I definitely want to take a cue from for writing the potential game I mentioned in the link above – the inevitability, flashbacks, and general linearity while still providing the ability to dig deeper into the presented tragedy along with the haunting and evocative prose were stunning.

In a similar vein, Will Not Let Me Go by Stephen Granade was gutwrenching. The realistic depiction of what it’s like to have Alzheimers–skipping over time and memory, searching for words, having options taken away from you over the course of the story–was terrifying and powerful. The core of the story too was…gosh. Getting teary eyed.


Amanda’s game After the Accident was a part of Seedcomp, where people made games based off of ideas (text, mechanics, cover art, etc) submitted by other meowmeows! The seed she chose was my poem, with the same title.

While I can’t speak on Amanda’s behalf, the original poem was written as a sort of reimagined reflection of a traumatic car crash I was in as a young child. I have PTSD as a result of the attempted double vehicular homicide-suicide.

It was written in a year I spent a great deal of time processing difficult experiences through the lens of poetry, as well as experimenting with how to capture both people and places’ core characteristics in a poem.

The original draft was tucked into a journal entry, and dusted off and updated many years later for the gamejam, organized by two good friends of mine.


If we are talking about ourselves… À la Campagne - that’s the one I made to process some weird stuff my brain decided to remember talking with my sister about our childhood (because I can’t remember much of my childhood).
Sometimes you don’t need to read another piece of work to so something personal. Sometimes it just needs to be processed in some way…


A well-known example that worked for me is Depression Quest

A Blank Page worked maybe too well: I don’t see myself replaying it.

Another instance of “it worked, I admired it, I probably wouldn’t replay it” is:


I think SeaMonkey Simulation is underrated! But then again, BJ Best has other works that are deservedly well-known. Perhaps looking at the source code boosted my opinion of it, since some events in the game really are random and rare.

I missed Spring Thing 2021. So it’s great to have a starting point to look around!

Thanks all for all the suggestions. There’s so much I missed.


I’ve never been in a car accident (knock on wood), although I absolutely did draw inspiration from intense, dysfunctional young relationships I was in a million years ago when I was a clueless wild child and didn’t know how to do anything but pick bad boys (well, also young and wild and clueless more than bad) and throw myself off a romantic cliff with them. Your poem struck me as a perfect place to explore that.



Wild child Amanda!


I just submitted a sad, personal game to the Neo Twiny Jam–Mother, Daughter, Sister. It is very short but hopefully effective! Others in this vein from the Neo Twiny Jam that struck me are (almost eleven) and Do Not Kill the Sleeping Beast.


My own highly emotional games, all jam entries so they’ve got bugs.

  • Manu: depression + grief
  • Succor: depression + recovering from abuse
  • Earthsong: grief and recovery from it (Manu + Earthsong for a sequel vibe)