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Indie Nation: 78641 - A Targ Adventure

3:00 PM on 08.31.2009 // Anthony Burch

Our "Indie Nation" series highlights worthwhile, independently-produced games.

Oh hello I did not see you come in! You have played with the Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden game and enjoyed, yes? Good news! GZ Storm, a group that was having been worked on the first game, now has another game that they did call 78641 - A Targ Adventure (translated from the original Esperanto with all permissions and rectitude). 

78641 is a game for people who enjoy! Is it to be an adventure game? Yes. Is it with an humor dosage? Absolutely. Is it unlike to be like any game you have ever had to play? Without a question. How unlike to be any game you have ever had to play is this game, should you choose to ask? Consider this: you are playing a character who is a frying pan who goes back through into the past time to pay off his car insuranced. 

This is the game for you!

Alternately, you could always have hit the small button below and inform yourself by read many of my further thoughts of mine on this game.

I've never so much enjoyed something whilst having no fucking clue what is going on. Why is my roomate a large, floating human head? I don't know. How many items do I need to complete the game? Can the game even be completed? Did I just blow up the fucking moon with a fucking toaster?

I don't know. I don't care. It feels right

The whole weird-for-the-sake-of-being-weird humor style is the comedic equivalent of a Gila Monster: it looks incredibly simple and easy to handle, but even the slightest misstep around it will probably result in a great deal of biting and poison and heart failure. One need only read, oh, pretty much any bad web comic in the history of the Internet to understand how easy it is to slip from "weird enough to be confusingly funny" to "too weird in an obviously self-conscious and pathetically pandering manner."

That 78641 - A Targ Adventure manages to stay in the former category throughout its entire running time is a testament to its creators. The graphics will suddenly change style with no explanation, and you'll have to accept it. You'll meet David Lynch in a bathroom stall while he films a toilet, and it will be the most normal thing you've seen or done in the entire game. Visit the Napkin Museum. Don't talk to the homeless  toothpaste salesman.

As you can no doubt tell, it is borderline impossible to describe 78641's game world without sounding like a schizophrenic.

There's some actual gameplay here amongst all the weird characters and situations, but it takes a backseat to the general atmosphere of pleasant confusion. There are a couple of neat puzzles here and there, and a few that actually make some sort of sense, but the game's structure as a whole is equally as confusing as the world and narrative wrapped around it. You'll do something, but not know why you did it. Then you'll find out that maybe you shouldn't have done that and you probably just prevented yourself from getting an item you would have needed, except maybe you don't actually need that item, but you don't know because the game doesn't tell you. 

If this were a game at all focused on telling a logical story or accomplishing anything other than putting the player into a sense of persistent bewilderment, this sort of opaque game design would irritate me. As it stands, the confusing puzzle design functions as just another extension of that "oh Jesus Christ this is so weird but in a good way wait did he just say that Frying Pans are segregated from the rest of society oh Jesus what am I doing and why is this so enjoyable" sort of vibe.

I mean, you can get a walkthrough if you're really worried about "winning" the game, but it's equally fun to just run around 78641, examining things and getting into trouble to no real point or purpose. It's about the journey, not the destination. 

That this particular journey includes a protagonist whose day job requires him to sell dicks to people is a bonus.

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