The Fabulous Screech


This very short game has a peculiar background. A few months ago I was approached by someone called Angie to create a present for her boyfriend, Matt. Money being short, this was to be a combined Christmas, Valentine’s Day and anniversary present. He was a fan of my games, especially the ones set in the Lands of Dream, so this could be a really special gift for him. Now, this isn’t how I normally work, and there were other things I was supposed to be working on, but how can you say no to being part of something so sweet? So I said yes.

I thought a bit about what sort of game to make, until eventually it became clear to me that I needed to go back to Oddness Standing, the setting of The Book of Living Magic, and make a game about one of the most memorable characters from that town. Strangely enough, it probably ended up being the most personal game I’ve ever made.


  1. Michelle

    Damn it all, stop making me cry every time you make a Lands of Dream game!

    Although this made me cry more than the others, of course.

    Oh, and I never cry.

    This is a beautiful game, I adore it. Well of course, I cried, which I never do. But it any case. This would be the most beautiful present anyone could receive, and thank you for making it.

    (Also; ‘With regret, the people of Shropshire’ made me laugh hysterically, which tells you I’ve lived there.)

  2. Lukas

    Thank you for this. It wasn’t made for me, but it reminded me just what my priorities in life should be. To make the most of the time we have with the ones we love.

  3. Callidy

    I posted a comment over at JIG, but I was so touched by this game that I wanted to personally thank you here. This game is beautiful and made me cry. I wanted to express this more eloquently, but my emotions seem to be getting the best of me just remembering the story. So I will simply say this: Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  4. lin

    I didn’t cry myself. I’d have tried, but I kept getting distracted by laughing at the book titles and trying not to miss the silly jokes while figuring out the references. I particularly liked hell. My favourite new curseword is “Go to the LZTBZ, you fiend!” Also Mr. Denmas Klaneis took me a bit, then I remembered I was greek. You just gotta love people who understand how childish it is to be above childish jokes. Thanks a bunch for a fun coffee break!

  5. Pingback: [ meme - hazard ] » The Fabulous Screech – A Short Game for Cat Owners, and Others

  6. James Patton

    I’d been putting off playing this for days, since I’ve been eye-deep in a long, long, hysterical, postmodern novel that I really have to finish soon. Tonight I finally decided to give myself half an hour to play this (which I’ve been anticipating ever since it was released).

    The postmodern novel is “Infinite Jest” by David Foster Wallace, and is about irony, the difficulty of communicating and of being truly sincere when one realises that all communication is necessarily artificial, how life can become devoid of purpose and how most people become dependent on something, be that drugs or ambition or love, and how the main character feels that he can produce just enough “personality” to convince those around him that there is something “in there”, inside him, but that he feels there’s just not very much at all and that he’s only an echo-chamber for people to speak into. It’s also hilariously, painfully funny, possibly one of the funniest things I’ve ever read, but the joke is life itself, and it turns out that people turn out to be the butts of all its cruellest, most depraved jokes.

    I mention this because this game was a truly wonderful antidote to that. Don’t get me wrong, I am fascinated and consumed by “Infinite Jest”; as I laugh and cringe hollowly at the miserable, suicidal characters and watch in horror as they sort of crumple from mental inertia, I have a horrible feeling that I’m reading a book which is reading *me*. I’ve said elsewhere in comments here that miserable, postmodern fiction can be ridiculous, but this is not ridiculous, except to the extent that life is. It’s… what’s the word? Resonant. It’s like the book and I are both peering at each other and seeing our reflections and going “I’m sorry, I don’t think I can help you.”

    And then The Fabulous Screech. There’s always a sense of bitterness in your games, I think – the soul-eating towns in BoLM, the money troubles in this one – but you have a way of taking them onboard and saying “Yes, these are your problems. There’s no denying that and I won’t try to. Now let me show you your blessings.” Your sincerity isn’t just refreshing, it’s revivifying – and, following up the etymology of that word, it’s deeply *vital*.

    I’m not sure how much sense I’m making: it’s late here and I’ve had my nose in this book for the past twelve hours, and the week before that. Let me end with this thought. “Infinite Jest”‘s deepest problem is that Wallace’s style is witty, ironic and hilarious; it’s detached. And he wants to say such important, sincere things, and sometimes I’m not sure he can. Wallace killed himself, he hanged himself in his garden so his family would come home to a tableau, a few years after writing this book. James Franzen, one of his friends/rivals, pointed out that it was awful Wallace had done this, but if you hang yourself as part of a tableau then you’re putting the perception of your death, the artistic picturesqueness of it, above your own family’s state of mind. That, to me, seems like a failure to communicate without pretense. These games don’t worry about that, they just *give*, they simply *are*.

  7. MKS


    your soul shines brightly through this. i didn’t expect to be hit, after playing such a whimsical game, by the sudden, beautiful feeling of loss; such exquisiteness in such few words and images.

    i lost my best friend last year — he was 16 years old and it still hurts. i only hope that when i die i can be as brave as him when he growled at death

    thank you

  8. Sarah

    I…I…The timing of it all…My best friend, Kimmy, she died yesterday. I have been an emotional wreck because of it…
    This made me realize something. She’s safe now. She’s in a better place. She’s away from all the pain and sorrows she had while she was here.
    Thank you Jonas. Thank you for making this. Thank you for telling your stories. Our old school, where I graduated with her, thanks you. Her friends and family , myself included, thank you.
    And I’m sure, somewhere, Kimmy is thanking you too.

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