4/29/2012

A MIND JOKE

Several years ago, an Italian teenager discovered a strange game on a blank CD. The game was, unsettling, to say the least, in it's minimalist appearance, and seemingly pointless existence. The game consisted simply of a checkered maze, with nauseating 8-bit music. He knew not what to make of such a find, and  immediately uploaded the game to show his friends


A MIND JOKE (PC)
Developed by: Barely Games(?)
Released in: 1997(?)
 
A Mind Joke. Just saying the title makes my stomach upset. A Mind Joke is a first-person puzzle(?) game in which you wander around a huge, disorienting maze, for reasons unknown. The game is faux-3D, not unlike Doom, utilized extreme squash-and-stretch techniques to create the illusion of 3D, using 2D assets. This, combined with the game's garish wall textures will result in any one playing the game experience feelings of vertigo, and dizziness. I can verify this from first-hand experience, gathering screens was an unpleasant experience.


Gameplay in A Mind Joke consists of running (walking?) around a giant-checkered maze, for no explicit reason. The lack of context, combined with the game's chilling, unworldly music creates a feeling of unease in the pit of your stomach. Spread seemingly randomly throughout the maze, are walls featuring red-painted letters. What are these for? The discoverer of the game found A, E, R and T, and eventually a door. At the door, he was asked to enter a word, but was unable to determine what he was supposed to make of the four-letters. I personally discovered an 'H" as well, but A Mind Joke researcher, and friend of the blog, known only by the name "Nate", which is his name, has informed us that there exists an A, B, R, T, two H's, and two E's. His theory regarding the anagram was 'Breathe', whcih has been verified. But he has since been having trouble locating the door again.

Does A Mind Joke contain the secret to what happened in the 7th season of Dallas? (spoiler: bad writing)

'Nate' is the mysterious founder of the RCPVGR, which is absolutely a real thing, and has likely done the most exhaustive research into A Mind Joke on the internet. He has further elaborated that the in-game architecture is not static; the maze seemingly changes as you progress, and further exploring the twists-and-turns will eventually bring you back to a different layout, which will confuse the spatial-reasoning of  almost anyone. Except 'Nate', who has determined that the map overlaps itself, and likely loads in chunks, based on your position. One of 'Nate''s researchers has also made note that the game's data is much larger than it's filesize should allow. He has stated feelings of discomfort...

Gamma House rules! And then they are taken by the government.

This data explains the 'how' of the game's mechanics, but not the 'why'. Who would create such a thing? And for what purpose? The title screen indicates that AMJ was created by Barely Games, apparently  in the late 90's. Who are Barely Games? Why did they create this seemingly innocuous game?

Theories range from the reasonable to the rampant, some believe it was a school-project, others believe it was commissioned by the CIA to study subjects mental-reasoning, which considering the game chaotic architecture, is plausible, but still unlikley. Others still, believe the game was created as bait to attract the attention of conspiracy nuts. But regardless of it's true origin, A Mind Joke is still unnerving to play. It's twisted combination of droning music, hypnotic visuals, disorienting map-tricks, and generally mysterious nature can't help but make a subject feel at least a little uncomfortable, if not out-right nauseous.

The 'Options' and 'Load Game' options don't function on the main menu, but people have managed to hack their way in. The normally inaccessible options menu contains dip-switches for the games' various subliminal affects. Still can't save, though.


So without further adieu, here is a video presentation,
 discussing, and demonstrating our 'research' into A MIND JOKE:


Do you want to test your spatial-reasoning skills so the CIA can enroll you in a super soldier program? 

A Mind Joke via MediaFire; Hard to track down via search engines.

Don't forget to read up on the origin story of A Mind Joke.

"NOT ON MY WATCH"

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