I Like Weird Stuff; take on the Submachines


How to Spend Friday Night At Home: The Submachine Series

They take seconds to load, cost no money, and can last for hours of gameplay. Point and click games are mega popular in the world of internet gaming. What started as an internet trend with the likes of Myst, MOTAS (Mystery of Time and Space) and Crimson Room exploded into a bustling genre of free internet gaming. While most waver between pleasant distraction and wall-punching frustration, only one series is smooth to the touch, fun, and deeply cerebrally discomforting. Meet Submachine.

Sidenote Preface: I know most of you are on a high after the fruits of weeks of hashmobbing got us a renewal of Community. The behavior of obsessives never ceases to amaze me, considering I can only retain a passing interest in the things I absolutely adore; I can’t imagine that level of organization and determination being continuously carried out for months at a time. It is a skill I do not have anymore. However, those lovely Communies have now earned a pleasant evening off, and this is a great way to immerse yourself into something else and let the Community fever subside for a while.

The Submachine series is by no means a series of horror games. Things will not go bump in the night. Slenderman won’t come and get you. The fright comes in the story, and in the eerie surroundings. You see, you, the player, are alone. You are alone in a world so far removed from the standards of your own that one step could land you in a different season, in a different gravity, in a different time. The rules don’t apply here, because this world was made without conventional rules, by either a genius or a madman.

That genius madman talks to you. He leaves you little notes giving you clues on how to continue going deeper into the machine. He wants you to travel deeper and explore it like he did, and change it like he did. You’re the only one who’s made it this far and survived. There were others, but you never meet them, or find their bodies. All you see are notes, loosely taped to brick walls or crumpled beneath machines powered by anything from steam to psychic crystal.

That genius madman is Mur, short for Murtaugh, the man who binds the series together by putting you on his trail. It is no surprise that fans lovingly refer to artist and creator Mateusz Skutnik as Mur himself. There is some meta to this building wave of puzzle insanity.

Play it in the dark, with headphones, listening to the deep beats and spine-tingling ambiance of ThumpMonks. Play alone, at night, with a closed and locked door, while the world is asleep. Play when you feel nothing but alone. There are no ghosts and goblins that can scare you the way being the only person alive in an empty dimension can. Play while cannabinized for added effect, it is mind-altering.

The Submachine series has spawned eight games, three side-quest games, and an extended observation and mini-puzzle known as the “Submachine Network Exploration Experience.” The fan community continues to theorize about the purpose of the Submachine and its mysterious and convoluted existence as it awaits the last two games of the series. Often compared to LOST, Submachine has been keeping online gamers guessing for eight years. But will the payoff be worth the years of mystery, suspense, and deep guttural fear? There’s no way of knowing, but just like LOST, the journey is most of the fun, and even with a lack of payoff it was all worth it.

And if you like getting freaked out by that same sense of loneliness, but want to amp it up with some fucking weird circus sideshow creepy town dudes, check out Daymare Town. The only thing creepier than a nightmare is a daymare.