Sawbuck Gamer

jerry clouds

Keep It Simple

jerry clouds is storytelling at its most austere.

By Jason Reich • September 30, 2013

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

In an oft-told bit of apocrypha, Ernest Hemingway was challenged to write a short story in just six words, and he came up with this heartbreaker: “For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.” As the tale goes, Hemingway earned his daiquiri on the story’s completeness. It had a beginning, a middle, and an end. Had Papa gone on to design internet entertainments, no doubt he would have come up with something like jerry clouds.

The delicate, lonely piano notes that creep in as Jerry emerges from his waterfront home set the mood. The artwork is crude, as if drawn by a child, but its lack of detail makes the game’s mysteries all the more compelling. There appear to be blueprints plastered to the hut’s exterior. Did Jerry create the ominous machine perched at the water’s edge? Or is he instead the delinquent caretaker of the crumbling cemetery mere steps away? Is Jerry’s sinister black fedora a wink toward Breaking Bad’s tragic Heisenberg? Is this guy’s name even Jerry?

Not all these mysteries will be solved by the time jerry clouds comes to an end. Like many good stories, it raises more questions than it answers. But according to the criteria by which Hemingway’s mini-masterpiece was judged, it’s unimpeachable.

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10 Responses to “Keep It Simple”

  1. Enkidum says:

    My parents once bought some second-hand but surprisingly new chairs off a guy who was selling some chairs (obviously), a loveseat and sofa combo, a queen-size bed, some other furniture, and a diamond ring. They couldn’t bring themselves to haggle.

  2. Brainstrain says:

    It’s a neat game, but it doesn’t have a story. There is a narrative in the sense which is unique to games, in that things happen in a certain order and in a way which could imply connection, but then the end.

  3. boardgameguy says:

    The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door.

  4. BowserPress says:

    I like to think it’s a post-apocalyptic story about the last man on his (country, island, continent?) attempting to reverse the ill-effects of climate change which brought about his fellow humans’ destruction only to be done in by his ingenuity. It’s a very nihilist work. 

  5. TyreeNoone says:

     It has Lots of Creativity in playing the game.

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