Today while searching for weird little indie games to play I stumbled upon a free game called “Entertainment Software For Lonely Children”. Made as part of the recent Ludum Dare 31 game jam by developer Folmer Kelly, ESFLC is a game about reliving a childhood spent trying to play multiplayer games by yourself and reassuring your inner lonely child that everything is going to turn out okay. As someone who grew up socially isolated from my peers for a number of years to the point I used to buy both Pokemon editions and trade with myself, this game certainly caught my attention.

ESFLC 2

For the purposes of ESFLC, you are tasked with playing two player pong by yourself. Rather than both sides of the board trying to score points, you’re rewarded for keeping the ball bouncing back and forth for as long as possible without it getting past either side. The tricky aspect is that your keyboard’s up and down arrows control both sides of the game at once. When you press up the left paddle raises but the right paddle lowers and vice versa. You have to keep changing your frame of reference for the controls and you’ll inevitably end up failing as you try and learn to play by yourself.

ESFLC 3

Each time you do fail, you’ll find a cartoonish face greeting you with a message seemingly written by the game’s adult developer directly to his own inner lonely child. From messages about how your parents actions may have impacted your world view to reassurences that your insomnia will one day pass, several of the messages in the game hit quite close to home for me in a way I certainly had not expected.

Entertainment Software for Lonely Children is a simple game sure, but well worth a quick look. You can download it for free on Itch.io or play it in your browser on Newgrounds.

About The Author

Founding Member

Laura’s gaming journey began in the 90′s when she was given a SNES by her older brother with Mario paint. From that day video games were all she thought about day or night, be it playing them, designing them, discussing them or writing about them. Why does she want to write about indie games? Because indie devs are awesome and she wants to be their new best friend by telling them how terrible their games are. That’s how it works right? Twitter: @LauraKBuzz Email: Laurak@indiehaven.com

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  • Loon of Nature

    “the point I used to buy both Pokemon editions and trade with myself”

    Ouch

    Right. In. My. Inner Child Insecurity.