"You play Eimear, an innocent little girl with reprehensible parents."
February 6, 2012 7:17 AM   Subscribe

Oíche Mhaith (Good Night) is a game by IGF Festival Finalists Stephen (increpare) Lavelle and Terry Cavanaugh about families, bereavement and resurrection. With some potentially NSFW language and content, the game represents a collaboration between two well-known players in the field of micro and art games. Lavelle has more than 100 games on his website. Cavanagh is less prolific, although he has just released the first of five planned "small games", ChatChat, a simple graphical MUD/chatroom in which the players are all cats (previously).

Both Cavanagh and Increpare have games nominated as finalists at the 2012 Independent Games Festival - Increpare for English Country Tune, and Cavanagh for At A Distance, a two player puzzle game "about solitude in shared experiences", with a mechanic players are asked not to reveal to those who have not yet played it.

Oíche Mhaith is reminiscent in gameplay and some themes of Cavanagh's earlier work, the simple, 5-screen RPG Hero's Adventure, and of increpare's (very NSFW and potentially triggering) The Terrible Whiteness of Appalachian Nights. However, this (spoiler-heavy) review by Kill Screen, from which the post title is taken, sees more to it than the simplicity of its gameplay.
Yet while Eimear's situation pertains to her gender and the specifics of her personal tragedy, the player develops a sense of empathy for her. You internalize the role of this child, and feel the yearning she has for her family's affection, and the confusion and sadness of its denial.
(Note: "slut/slutty" in Ireland has an alternate but associated meaning - a woman who does not keep a clean and tidy house.)
posted by running order squabble fest (15 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Well, that was depressing.
posted by yeoz at 7:41 AM on February 6, 2012

Oh, and turn on sound for this game, because you'll miss something if you don't.
posted by yeoz at 7:50 AM on February 6, 2012

I couldn't finish it. Just dreary and ugly in every way.
posted by empath at 7:52 AM on February 6, 2012

I have no interest in the game, but my hattic mandate impels me to point out that "Oíche Mhaith" is pronounced, more or less, "Ee-huh Wah." Irish is fun!
posted by languagehat at 8:05 AM on February 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

I have no interest in the game, but my hattic mandate impels me to point out that "Oíche Mhaith" is pronounced, more or less, "Ee-huh Wah." Irish is fun!

(Almost exactly like the punchline of the joke about why Edward Woodward spells his name with four Ds, in fact...)
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:17 AM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Is anyone else finding the gameplay funky? Sometimes the arrows on my keyboard work and sometimes they don't do anything. Is that just me?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:41 AM on February 6, 2012

Cavanagh also made VVVVVV

Cat chat was also an offshoot from the last Ludum Dare 48. One of the proposed themes, kittens, was rejected outright, and there was a small movement to make cat-themed games in protest. Cavanagh spent the 48 writing the back-end to his cat-MMO and then kept going for a few weeks.
posted by hellojed at 8:42 AM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

That was really painful. I admire it greatly.

This addresses one of the things I think is interesting about the still emerging medium of interactive games and that's sadness. Something about giving you even limited agency to act within a world somehow gives even quick sketches of a situation more potency, IMHO.

This probably isn't of interest to a casual game player, but to anyone who cares about this as a medium Cavanagh's games are pretty crucial.
posted by lumpenprole at 8:58 AM on February 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

"Oíche Mhaith" is pronounced, more or less, "Ee-huh Wah."

Really? I was going to guess "ash bət", but that's because I only know that Irish spelling is crazy, but not exactly what kind of crazy.

Also, 'hattic'? As in this: "The Hittite term for Hattic was hattili after the city of Hattus,". I'm dying to know the connection.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:03 AM on February 6, 2012

Wow. That was uplifting...
posted by TheCoug at 11:39 AM on February 6, 2012

Um sorry, but in no way can "slut or slutty" mean a woman who does not keep a clean or tidy house. I'm a mid 30's irishman, and this struck me as so wrong I laughed out loud. I'm happy to be corrected on this, but there you go...
posted by kev23f at 1:17 PM on February 6, 2012

Sure thing:
1. a dirty, slovenly woman.
2. an immoral or dissolute woman; prostitute.
I know what you're thinking: "slovenly?".
1. untidy or unclean in appearance or habits.
2. characteristic of a sloven; slipshod: slovenly work.
It may not be in use in rural Ireland, although I've seen survivals in the Celtic Fringe on the mainland - "slut" meaning a woman who doesn't take care of the house survives as far south as Yorkshire, from memory. The characters are speaking in a pretty stagey dialect, though: at one point the father says "Whisht", meaning "be quiet", which I've mainly encountered in Scots- rather than Irish-dialect English.

So, Eimear's mother might just be calling her sexually overactive, but it seemed to make sense in context that she was calling her untidy, since she wanted her to tidy her room. It might tie in the other way, because Eimear is named after Cuchulain's wife, who embodied the feminine virtues, of which one was chastity (it was a long time ago!) - but that might be overthinking.
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:36 PM on February 6, 2012

Well I didn't mention slovenly, you did, so no, that's not what I was thinking... I was just pointing out that the alternate meaning of slutty that you propose was bizarre and unusual to me, an Irish person from the city with friends and family from all over the island. The word may have that meaning in parts of England (by which I assume you mean the mainland?) but almost certainly not in Ireland.

Anyway, I'm approaching derail territory here, it's a great post, I look forward to exploring it some more...
posted by kev23f at 1:55 PM on February 6, 2012

No problem - I assumed that "slutty" here was being used in the sense of "slovenly", here, because it was a mother talking to a young girl. So I thought I'd share my understanding of the term's alternate use on the Celtic Fringe of the island of Britain (that is, Scotland and Wales) and also parts of Northern England.

(Fun fact - "slutty" started out as an epicene adjective - a slutty man was an untidy or unclean man. But the sense of sexual immorality was definitely in the language when applied to women by the turn of the 16th century.)

I assumed that was also a usage in Ireland, but apparently not, so I stand corrected. It's fairly archaic in the parts of Great Britain where it's still used, but the dialogue had an archaic feel to it, and seemed to be a sort of mix of Celtic inflections...
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:43 PM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is the worst thing I've ever played. It's terrible.
posted by codacorolla at 3:09 PM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

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