Sawbuck Gamer

400 Years

Aging Gracefully

400 Years is a browser game that thinks in centuries.

By Joe Keiser • February 26, 2013

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap game ($10 or less).

Most browser games are fun-size, disposable things, meant to be consumed alongside a sandwich and a soda to bring a bit of joy to an otherwise unremarkable lunch hour. So it’s a curious choice of medium for 400 Years, which seeks to use those forgettable minutes to explore a broader perspective on the nature of time. It’s like some kind of Zen pizza bagel.

You play as an Easter Island head that foresees a great calamity 400 years in the future and seeks to prevent it. The path to the impending disaster is impassable for a slow, heavy boulder with a face, but that’s okay, because a rock has all the time in the world. Press a button and time dilates—the seasons passing like heartbeats. As years and decades pass, trees grow and civilization encroaches, sometimes with your nudging assistance. This changes the geography and allows your centuries-long journey to continue.

I was not a fan of Deep Sleep, Scriptwelder’s last game, mostly because the dark horror themes clashed with the puzzles in a way that diminished both. 400 Years is much more successful. In bouncing a short play session off a story that extends through multiple human lifespans, it finds a contradiction that is interesting and provides a meditative experience with which to ponder it. Enjoy it with a koan and a side of fries.

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5 Responses to “Aging Gracefully”

  1. Effigy_Power says:

    The idea is good and all, but the pace is so slow as to be crushingly boring.
    A bit of a tune-up wouldn’t have harmed the pace, which after all I measured in years, but would have made the game a lot more playable.

  2. CNightwing says:



    • IntotheNightSky says:

      Have you considered changing your reference frame?  He walks at a pretty reasonable clip in mine.

  3. Autoinducer says:

    With the limited I time I have, I almost never venture beyond this site to look for browser games. That being said, just last night I was having a severe fit of procrastination and played this very game on Newgrounds.  

    Next thing I know you’ll be standing right behind me…

  4. Horatio_Scornblower says:

    Edit: never mind. Figured it out. Interesting game!