New Video Game Combats the Ultimate Villain—the All-Too-Familiar Feeling of Exhaustion

Candleman Games
Candleman Games

Maybe you're up late working on your dissertation, or you're binge-watching every episode of Game of Thrones (again) before the final season airs. Either way, you know how drained this midnight crusade will leave you in the morning. Sleep is a vitally important part of our health (and makes us better people, too), and yet our cultural insomnia often ranks it lower in priority than finishing just one more chapter in that latest page-turner.

In Yet Another Exhausting Day, from indie developer Candleman Games, this feeling of constant fatigue is the central conceit. The player moves an overtired avatar through a series of obstacles, with the endgame being to finally collapse in bed. The visual representation of this debilitating lack of energy, however, results in a hilarious (if oddly relatable) ragdoll physics that forces the character to physically crawl through the game's setup.

The inspiration for the game came during a 2017 Ludum Dare game jam, a 48-hour gaming development competition. The event's theme was "running out of power." From there, Beijing-based programmer and producer Gao Ming began the process and developed a prototype based on the idea that "one can only crawl because of exhaustion."

Speaking with Wang Hao (who goes by Maxine), a level designer from Candleman Games, the main inspiration for the game originated from a very specific word. "Gao came up with an idea about a person who is running out of strength," Hao tells Mental Floss. "This reminded him of a cultural buzz word in China: 葛优躺, a term describing a person's gesture of lying on a sofa in an exhausted way."

Another inspiration for the game, they say, came from an old internet GIF about a middle-school student crawling through desks like a worm. From that, Gao developed the rest of the game by combining the idea of a collapsed person with the crawling action in a 3D space.

The original prototype had an absurd, humorous vibe. But as with the development of any creative endeavor, the design and editing process has been, well, exhausting.

"We did experiments in many directions: combat, puzzle solving, linear progression, and an endless mode with random level generation," Hao says. "But many of these game prototypes were abandoned because they are not fun enough or had no development potential. It really is exhausting."

gif from "Yet Another Exhausting Day"
Candleman Games

Even if the process was tedious at times, Yet Another Exhausting Day was always intended to be a relaxing, therapeutic experience. The game, the developers say, wasn't made to have any clear answers, opinions, or solutions on the real-world issue of sleep deprivation—only to make the user think about what keeps them awake when they're extremely exhausted.

Unlike their previous game, Candleman, a game about a little candle who wants to be a lighthouse in order to illuminate the surrounding darkness, they didn't want players to act as a hero of a pre-scripted story. "We want players to simply have fun, and be the protagonist in their own stories," Hao says.

image of game "Not Another Exhausting Day"
Candleman Games

You can play an up-to-date prototype of Yet Another Exhausting Day on the game's website, where the team provides updates every three weeks and discusses many of the features that will be implemented. A final version is slated for an early-access release some time during the spring for Steam. Non-PC gamers can expect it to be released soon after for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, as well as on mobile platforms through the App Store and GooglePlay.

A Handy Map of All the Royal Residences in the UK

Frogmore House, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's primary estate on the grounds of Windsor Castle.
Frogmore House, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's primary estate on the grounds of Windsor Castle.

Somewhere along the way, you probably learned that Buckingham Palace is home to the ruler of the United Kingdom and many unflinching, fancily clad guards. And, if you watch The Crown or keep a close eye on royal family news, you might recognize the names of other estates like Windsor Castle and Kensington Palace.

But what about Gatcombe Park, Llwynywermod, or any of the other royal residences? To fill in the gaps of your knowledge, UK-based money-lending site QuickQuid created a map and corresponding illustrations of all 20 properties, and compiled the need-to-know details about each place.

quickquid map of royal family residences
QuickQuid

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip kept eight estates for themselves, and divvied up the rest among their children and grandchildren, some of whom have purchased their own properties, too. Though Buckingham Palace is still considered the official residence of the Queen, she now splits most of her time between Windsor Castle and other holiday homes like Balmoral Castle in Scotland and Sandringham House, which Prince Philip is responsible for maintaining.

quickquid illustration of royal family residences
QuickQuid

Windsor shares its grounds with two other properties: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s home, Frogmore House, and the Royal Lodge, where Prince Andrew (the Queen’s second youngest child) lives.

illustration of frogmore house
QuickQuid

Southwest of Windsor is Highgrove House, Prince Charles’s official family home with wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. They also own Birkhall in Scotland, Clarence House in London, Tamarisk House on the Isles of Scilly, and the aforementioned Llwynywermod in Wales. Much like the Queen herself does, Charles and Camilla basically have a different house for each region they visit.

illustration of highgrove house
QuickQuid

In 2011, the Queen gave Anmer Hall—which is on the grounds of Sandringham House—to Prince William and Kate Middleton as a wedding gift, but they’ve recently relocated to Kensington Palace so Prince George could attend school in London.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s only daughter, Anne, resides in Gatcombe Park with her daughter, Zara Tindall. Anne also owns St. James’s Palace in London, where her niece (Princess Beatrice of York) and her mother’s cousin (Princess Alexandra) sometimes live.

Lastly there's Edward, Elizabeth and Philip's youngest son, who lives with his wife in Bagshot Park, which architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner called “bad, purposeless, [and] ugly.”

illustration of bagshot park
QuickQuid

If you’re feeling particularly cramped in your tiny one-bedroom apartment (or even regular-sized house) after reading about the royal family’s overabundance of real estate, take solace in the knowledge that at least you’ll never have to follow their strict fashion rules.

A Book Fair for Grown-Ups Is Coming to New York

seb_ra/iStock via Getty Images
seb_ra/iStock via Getty Images

Amid all the prepubescent drama and uncertainty of elementary school was one glimmering spot of hope and happiness: the Scholastic Book Fair. Getting to take just a few minutes out of your regular school day to wander the temporary bookshelves seemed about as enchanting as walking through the wardrobe into Narnia.

For folks who’ve been chasing that particular brand of ecstasy well into their adult lives, we have some big news. Next month, Penguin Random House is hosting a book fair for grown-ups. The Pop Insider reports that the event will take place at Lightbox in New York on Saturday, November 23, and you must be at least 21 years old to attend.

It’s not intended to be an exact replica of the book fair from your own school days, but rather a full-fledged recreation of your entire grade-school experience. The electronic invitation promises pop culture trivia, Mad Libs, an “awkward school photo booth,” spin art, snap bracelets, Mr. Sketch markers, cubbies, and “severe middle school flashbacks.”

There will also, of course, be books for sale, though it’s not clear if the inventory will include throwback series like Junie B. Jones and The Magic Treehouse, or just books for adults.

In addition to tsunami-sized waves of nostalgia, the event will feature appearances from some of Penguin Random House’s beloved authors. The list hasn’t been revealed in full, but Viking Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, tweeted that its author John Hodgman will be there to promote his new book, Medallion Status.

Tickets are $25 for a one-hour time slot, or you can pay $50 to stay for the whole five hours. And your afternoon of embracing your inner kid will benefit actual kids—Penguin Random House will donate a portion of ticket sales to Read Ahead, a non-profit that uses reading to help students learn life-long social and emotional skills.

While the Scholastic Book Fair is still going strong in schools today, the same can’t be said for card catalogs, dodgeball, or these other things.

[h/t The Pop Insider]

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