Sawbuck Gamer

Fragments Of Him

Everything Must Go

Fragments Of Him is a minimalist exploration of loss, grief, and acceptance.

By Joe Keiser • May 23, 2013

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

Maybe the only way to deal with the loss of a loved one is irrationally. In Fragments Of Him, when your character loses his partner in a fatal accident, his solution to cope with the agony of absence is to remove all reminders of his dead love. That means photos, of course, but it also means memories. It means cars, because his partner died in a car, and all cars kind of look the same. It means mirrors, which show the visage of the man your lover loved. It means everything.

You click these things to remove them. It’s the only action in Fragments Of Him. This single-mindedness is why the piece works, and then doesn’t work—seriously, you have to remove the guardrails?—and then works again. The game makes sense as soon as the removals stop making sense. It’s the first step to accepting—and moving beyond—the tragedy.

Fragments of Him may not resonate with most. Built in the pressure cooker of the 72-hour design competition Ludum Dare, its featureless placeholder visuals and generic, saccharine voiceover lighten its emotional weight considerably. But those mouse clicks, they get me right there. Point-and-click grief therapy is an idea worth exploring further.

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6 Responses to “Everything Must Go”

  1. Marozeph says:

    The basic idea is great, but it’s painfully obvious that this was made on a strict time limit – everything feels rushed and unfinished. I would like to see the people behind it make something without harsh time constraints.

    • lokimotive says:

      That’s kind of the beauty of Ludum Dare, though. Most of the games that come out of it are like impressionistic sketches — if impressionistic sketches inherently had stability issues and bugs –they present the germ of an idea in the hopes that it can be developed.

      I don’t think you’re actually denigrating the concept of Ludum Dare, but I just wanted to bring that up, because as soon as I saw this I was like, well that looks like another conceptually interesting piece that kind of doesn’t work. And followed that thought up with, but that’s kind of the point of Avant Garde games. So, I just wanted to say that Ludum Dare forces the opportunity to just sort of say fuck it all and come up with something with ludicrous time restrains. Even though the finished products will probably be meh, at best, maybe they can inspire beyond the initial call.

      • Marozeph says:

        Yeah, i was far too harsh there. It’s undoubtely better than anything i could come up with in 72 hours.
        And as the “germ of an idea in the hopes that it can be developed”, this is actually really good.
        Isn’t Remember Me kinda going into the direction of “Memory Manipulation”?

  2. caspiancomic says:

    I really wanted to play this, but my cursor kept creeping outside the boundaries of the game and clicking on bits of the website, or my browser, or just nothing, causing me to lose control of the game. Full screen mode would probably render it more playable. Is there one that I’m just missing?

  3. Blatherly says:

    Loosely reminds me of “Eternally Us”. Similarly, a point and click about loss, but one which very much feels like a complete story. The art also looks awesome. If this is anywhere near as good as that, it’d be great.