CONTROLS: Use the Arrow Keys (Up, Down, Left, and Right) to move your light bulb avatar. Select the game to get started if it doesn't respond right away.

CONTENT WARNINGS:
Mature Themes: This game contains intense descriptions of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. These sections are clearly marked and the player is able to skip them by choosing the path that leads outside the cave to the sun. 
Additional Themes that may cause distress:
- Descriptions of sleep paralysis, including a realistic nightmare. 
- Unreality and dissociation moments where the player is not sure which way to go to the exit and the loss of their playable avatar. (Right arrows indicate to press the right key to continue to the next dialogue in these cases.)

SUMMARY:
This bitsy game is a visual essay about when I pursued my childhood dream of becoming an animator and all of the hardships and joy that came with it.

HINTS: 
Look for flashing sprites to continue to the next section (usually this is shown as an arrow, but sometimes it may be other pictures). You can talk to sprites by bumping into them with the arrow keys. 

DEV NOTES:
I made this game during another dark period in my life as a way to reflect on where I've been and where I'd like to go next. I encourage anyone who's also having dark thoughts to reach out to the people you love. If you don't have anyone to talk to, you can always call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 which is available 24/7. You can also find more information and additional resources on their website: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

To all of you with me in the darkness: Stay strong. You're a survivor too. <3


Comments

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(+1)

I am HERE!!!!!!!

(+2)

This is a beautiful game. I think we thing we're admitting defeat by "giving up" on our dreams but really we're moving forward. It just might not look like that at the time.

(+2)

A Bitsy Masterpiece. 💗

(+2)

Thank you so much for sharing your story... You have created a powerful, beautiful, and emotional experience by utilizing the limits of Bitsy to your advantage. I graduated with a graphic design degree not long ago, and I had some of my darkest times in college due to my perfectionist tendencies and complicated things that my family was dealing with... Thank you for your kind words at the end of the game, and please know that your story has made an impact on me (and countless other players like me). Your story matters. You matter. <3 

Thank you for your comment. I've been going through a dark time and it helps to know I'm able to help someone else even if just in a small way. <3

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magic of animation studio attraction, school, graduation, feeling lost, ready for unpaid internships, desillusions, dark thoughts, always pushing forward, making more and more effort while questioning "being adult should be knowing what to do", being back and stuck in parent's house after being graduatued, looking for "regular" job, being over qualified for some, being rejected or not answered, not being qualified for available jobs, after all these efforts and maximum notation in schools...

There are so much things I understand and know in your story. Thanks for sharing this in this way, with a great use of Bitsy. Each new screen is a new scene, beautiful and so emotional.

You're a survivor

Anything related to any art industry is a lottery

Hope you're feeling better now, hope you're OK

take care

(+1)

Thank you for sharing your game and intimate story. Despite its simplicity, or perhaps its because of its simplicity, I found the experience gripping. I fell silent and couldn't stop playing until I got to The End. An enlightening and powerful story.

After playing the game, I searched for a link to your website as I had to know how the story ended after the last scene of the game. I'm glad to see the other projects you've made and been a part of. It was nice to be able to read the commentary surrounding the game like audience reception, the challenges and post-mortem. 

Some of the text animations reminded me of Twine Games. Twine is an open source tool used for creating interactive fiction/story games. I'm not sure how robust the system is for pictures, but I've seen some great games like Temple of No come out of it. But, Wayfarer by Idrelle Games on itch.io contains more visual assets.

(+3)

This is one of the best games that I've played in quite a while and definately the best that I've played of it's kind. Stirring up emotions in an individual through art indeed a tremendous feat, one which is achieved here). Keep up the great work

I finally made an account specifically so I could write this

(+5)

Hey, thanks for this experience you created. I'm in a very different situation regarding the field of study and type of job I search, but I might also end up doing some video games at some point in my life ^^. Anyway, also hard time finding a job and feeling bad to still be in my mom's place at 30 yo because I don't find a job. You helped me feel a little bit better by seeing I'm not alone and things just keep changing, sooner or later.


Thank you again <3

(+1)

ok, i enjoyed this
thank you very much :)

(+1)(-1)

This is dark and i may have this period of my life soon when i finish highschool... or not , definitely. The things about human is "learning from mistakes" , will learn from your past in order to improve my future to not at least be in this situation , 13 years have passed since the period i think? and u probably... ok... for now , well , keep alive , the people i hate most is the people who gives up their life easily , i freaking hate them , i have sworn that i will never have suicide till the day i truly die by other causes... World gives u a life for many reasons and u can't just throw away it like that.... I know , Life is a b*tch , Society is an a**hole but listen , if u lose Life and Society rn , u are a freaking coward , so... be alive , be a survivor , be a face for others know so that they can survive from this also...

(+2)

God, this was emotional. Thank you for creating this little experience, I felt like crying reading about some of the stuff that you were going through... It was a powerful story to say the least. Glad you made it to be with us today. Take care and good luck in your life ^^

(+2)

Mashing arrow keys seemingly made a rather simple story all the more entertaining, would recommend.

(+3)

i have no words....... just,,, wow.

(+3)

incredible... i have no words. thank you for making this, you should be intensely proud of yourself for making this piece of art

(+2)

Back during my short-lived stint at art school, I used to cry every time I did my homework. I'd do it in 8-hour nonstop stretches because I had procrastinated so badly due to my mental health issues. Having to do work that would be critiqued and graded made me so anxious that I couldn't function. I got bad, coped in ways I'm not proud of, etc.

Just now, I accepted a job at... a fast food restaurant. Part time management after I get trained up. I'm going back to school for computer science after I settle a debt that I incurred 100% because of my procrastination and mental illness. I always thought I'd be a writer, but now I see a future of screens and lines of code. Life doesn't always work out the way we want it to, but that's okay. Your passion doesn't need to be your livelihood. Sometimes your livelihood can just be a means of being able to comfortably pursue your passions.

You didn't get to animate Saturday morning cartoons, but... you created this. You touched people's lives with your work, stirred up emotions and memories in your audience (which, as I recall, is a tremendous feat).

Thanks for creating this interactive essay. I really needed to see this. I've been feeling really lost. I'm 26 and I'm just now figuring my life out.

(+4)

Thank you! I'm glad my experience made a positive impact on you. I'm 38 and I didn't start finding myself until I was 30-something (so you're already ahead of me!) - and to be honest, I'm still learning new things about myself and exploring the world. Wishing you good fortune and time to follow your passions too. <3

(+3)

Y'know what? I just checked your portfolio and I feel like I put my foot in my mouth a little! You ended up firmly positioned in the arts after all. That's... well, even MORE encouraging. I loved the Lifeline series and Whiteout was one of my favorites! You did a great job. You're absolutely awesome. I have discarded pitches on my Google Drive from back when Lifeline Universe was accepting submissions. I guess you could say that you inspired me!

Anyway, thank you for the kind words. I'll do my best to make time to indulge my passions. I wanna be like you when I grow up, haha.

(+1)

I'm so glad you enjoyed Whiteout! It was my favorite project at Big Fish! Never give up on your interactive stories. <3 I'm currently unemployed again (got laid off in September 2020) so I've been trying to reinvent myself too. Mainly I want to make more games and post them here on Itch. I was so delightfully surprised by how well this game has been received, because I originally made it just so I could vent my experiences and reflect on my journey. Seeing comments like this really makes me want to create more. <3

Also! I heard through the grapevine that there will be more Lifeline games! Check their twitter: https://twitter.com/lifelinegame I'm hoping I might get to work with Adams and Blue again, but even if I don't, it was an experience I'll treasure forever (I even have a Blue plush on my couch, haha).

(+2)

"Never give up on your interactive stories. <3" I'm gonna carry that in my heart for the rest of my life. ;_; Since reading this comment (and thinking about what to say for an entire day), I felt inspired to sit down and break through my writer's block. I joined a few different narrative-based jams and I'm working on a few projects! Actively! There are actual words on pages for once! You lit that fire in me. Thank you. <3

I'm glad you're planning on creating more games. Like, extremely glad. You're a fantastic writer! I think you have a lot to offer the world and I'm excited to see what's next for you. I wish I had something more articulate to say, but it's 4:13AM and my last remaining braincell is in freefall.

:O MORE LIFELINE? :OOOOO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS IS THE BEST NEWS AHHH THANK YOU <3<3<3 I HOPE YOU GET TO WORK WITH THEM AGAIN TOO!! 

(+1)

I can't wait to see what you make! :) Keep writing. Your words have meant so much to me as well!

(+2)

the Best Bitsy game ive Played

(+2)

Thank you for sharing your story with us. I can imagine it must have been hard going through what you went through. I hope you are doing well now. 

(+2)

Awwwwwwwwww! fuck disney holy shit, castmember with a broom.

(+1)

Thank you for making this. Extremely powerful stuff. I can definitely relate with some of the feelings expressed in here and know people in my life going through similar circumstances. I hope you're still surviving. I hope we can all survive together.

(+1)

Incredibly powerful, one of the best Bitsy games I've seen! I wish you the best in all your future endeavors <3

(+1)

Going through a very similar experience with disillusionment and the games industries. This was a super helpful and meaningful work to play through while reflecting on my own experiences. 

(6 edits) (+4)

That was intense. My life is so bland in comparison. So happily bland. Accepting parent, laughting at crowded and wanted places I won't even consider any competition ("it's silly") and when I failed repeitively finding jobs I reflected to myself "if I don't have it, it'll go to someone who needs it more, I'm okay with it, more free time for me !"...

Regarding back I had a lazy passive non-challenging life, mostly. Maybe affraid deep down of trying too hard like the story tells. Trying hard means gambling quite a lot. I hadn't (and still don't) have it in me.

I don't have much to offer to this world tho, and I sometimes loath myself for my blandness. If I could meet the protagonist ? She could see my teary eyes saying "goddamit, you are some heroic figure and i'm in aw. And I hate the world that made your tragedy possible. I wish I could make you see yourself by my eyes : some proud human who was pushed by stupid cult for success and economic struggle. You should have a guarenteed income and made lot of art so I and my like could enjoy it. I'm proud and happy you are here, and I'm weeping thinking this sad story isn't yours only, but a massive systemic phenomenon."

(+3)

this was hard to play through but very powerful. i hope you're doing better now!

(+2)

Thank you for making this!!

Thank you for playing! <3

(+1)

Thank you for making this. As someone who had to put pursuing a creative career on hold all together. Along side too many of my friends in the same boat, this strikes a dark and resonate chord with me. So thank you for sharing in such a lovely lovely medium. Stay strong we are survivors. <3

(+1)

Maybe life is not fair,but livinng in the life and being happy everyday it everyone's right,hope everyone would find your life spark,also hoping you will be real animator one day!Go away,DEPRESSION

(+1)

hey, as a fellow cartoon lover/weird kid/someone who thought their value hinges solely on what they do, I really enjoyed your game! It made me a little emotional, too (and I can't believe you met Pendleton Ward tbh). 

I'll be looking forward to whatever you post/do in the future! 

(But if for whatever reason you don't, it's also ok. This experience still mattered to me) 

(+2)

I loved this!!

(+1)

I´m really really scared, the game it´s lovely ( not in a normal way), but i feel really bad...(thanks for sharing this story)

(+1)

its okay, we all feel like that sometimes. you will do great things!

(+1)

Hey, I think this is a cool game. I really can feel what the main character felt in this game. We have the same problem in life, feel useless, questioning the same thing if we should suicide or not. So, once again, the story of this game is cool!

(+2)

Hey Kurus, I hope you'll keep fighting your depression. <3 It can seem impossible at times, but it is possible to find moments of happiness again. <3 Take care out there!

(+2)

Beautiful game, Joanie!! This is so powerful, and well made. I appreciate your willingness to share something so personal <3

(+2)

Amazing, more people should play this

(+2)

this hit me hard; thank you for sharing it

(+2)

Lovely game. The simplicity of the art and the music allows the story to really consume the player. It all goes so well together, keep up the good work and I wish you the best.

(+2)

thank you for sharing this. your way of weaving a narrative is so compelling. and i really appreciated how you gave a warning and an exit option for the parts of the story that could be potentially distressing (if that's the right word?). it's a really thoughtful thing to do. wishing you happiness and good things :)

(+2)

this really resonated with me as a student in a game development program in college - they really teach crunch mentality in american schools and no one should have to go through so much suffering. thank you for sharing this!

(+1)

Stay strong out there! Always remember to give yourself time to breathe. <3

(1 edit) (+3)

my friend reblogged this onto my tumblr dash and saw it was a bitsy game so i just had to play it...

fantastic work! particularly appreciate that you give the player an "exit" before proceeding into the darker parts of the story, it's really smart and kind of you.

thank you so much for sharing your experiences in such a personal way. i cheered a little bit when at the end you accepted to move to seattle lol. 

i hope you're doing well. 

(+1)

Thank you! I wanted to make sure no one would be made too uncomfortable by it. I know I have to be careful not to ingest too much depression-related media when I'm in the middle of a heavy episode myself. <3

(+2)

😭