When the inventor/magician known as Old Man Bill suddenly disappears from his house in the middle of the desert, his friends, companions and pets start worrying: what could have happened? To solve this sinister mystery, they call upon their old acquaintance, pretentious game designer Jonas Kyratzes, who builds a magical portal into the Lands of Dream. Using this portal, YOU can now interact with the wondrous and colourful world of the house at Desert Bridge, and help Harold the Talking Picture Frame and his friends locate their master, Old Man Bill.
In reality, The Strange and Sinister Tale of the House at Desert Bridge is a transdimensional portal – but if your friends don’t believe you, tell them it is something of an old-school adventure game, with wonderful hand-drawn graphics, beautiful music and a lot of humour. Or, if they’re more into feature lists, you could say something like this:
- Colourful hand-drawn graphics!
- Beautiful music!
- A lot of humour! (Some of it funny.)
- And some serious bits, too.
- Red herrings! (Literal and metaphorical.)
- A dinosaur in the garden!
- Many fascinating characters to meet!
- Non-linear structure! (More or less.)
- More content than you can shake a wet carrot at!
- The only inventory system ever to feature the “gerbelize” option!
- Not a single annoying action sequence or minigame!
- Brew potions! (Even some useful ones!)
- A lot fewer exclamation marks than this list!
And now for the game’s requirements.
- Windows 95/98/2000/XP/ME/Vista.
- Linux + WINE. (Tested, but may need some tweaking.)
- 50 MB of free space on your hard drive.
- A mouse or similar rodent.
- A keyboard.
- Monitor set to standard 96 DPI.
- A sense of humour.
Some people have apparently said things about this portal:
Desert Bridge is a wonderful work to behold. It’s a story book for grown ups, a fairy tale for philosophers and parents. It instills in you the memory of what it is like to view the world as a child, to see everything with wonder, and at the same time it bears the burden of age, conflict, and struggle.
- Kyle Moore, Jay is Games
This is a game (excuse me, a portal) that has what so many modern digital games lack: a love of the medium and a willingness to be serious and silly at the same time.
- Gregory Weir (creator of The Majesty of Colors and Looming)
The Strange and Somewhat Sinister Tale of the House at Desert Bridge (a name so long it breaks TIGdb) is one bloody funny adventure game.
- Derek Yu, TIGSource
The humour’s quite sophisticated and sometimes subtle, there’s a distinct hint of sadness throughout, and without giving away the ending, let me just mention that the word ‘sinister’ doesn’t mean that everyone is left handed.
to kyratzes, it is joy and whimsy which keep us from being suffocated by nihilism: in the daily struggle of death versus life, death is humourless. life survives because it can laugh. i can’t think of a medium better suited to relate this theme than one whose opponents deride it as being mere entertainment, one that’s been accused of being too preoccupied with its audience having fun to be considered real art.
- Anna Anthrophy (author of Rise of the Videogame Zinesters)
The cute crayon graphics, the beautiful music by Helen Trevillion and the excellent writing build a very atmospheric world you don’t want to leave easily. I had to force myself to quit and write down some lines to communicate this to you, fellow reader! Oh, yes, and TSASSTOTHADB (as insiders call it) is also an adventure game which features one of my all time favourites: A well-filled bookcase. Seriously, you should play the game for the bookcase alone.
Now, before you download the game, please read the following disclaimer from Bob the Spider:
This is not a game for children. It’s actually not a game at all, of course, but a transdimensional portal to the Lands of Dream – but if you can’t grasp that, and would like to think of it as a game, then you have to understand that it’s not a “game” for children. Yes, both the house at Desert Bridge and its inhabitants are bright and colourful, and occasionally even funny, but that does not mean that they are meant for children. It’s not an adult “game” either – many young people may enjoy this. But not if they’re six, or can barely read. We like to use long words. And some of us even use words that are naughty (very rarely, but still).
So, if you belong to that group of people (in the words of Donald Trefusis), “whose grip upon the world is so tenuous that they can be severely offended by words and phrases and yet remain all unoffended by the injustice, violence and oppression that howls daily about our ears” then please fuck off.
If you complain anyway, I will be forced to assume that you cannot read, and should not be raising children. Should you persist in your complaints, I will send my arachnid army after you. You would not like that. We are hairy.
Bob the Spider
You may now proceed to download the game by clicking here.
(The filesize is 39.5 MB.)
For those few of you who have encountered an odd problem with Windows not liking Desert Bridge (which is odd, considering it is a type of window itself) and causing the portal to scale improperly: the problem is caused by your DPI settings, which are not the standard 96. This is an annoying issue, and a group of wild gerbils is currently trying to find a way of making it work.
NOTE: Bob the Spider recently told me that an updated version of this portal will be made available in 2011. Then he changed his mind and said it would probably take until 2012.
The following people are responsible for the creation of this portal:
- Jonas Kyratzes – created the portal itself.
- Verena Kyratzes – marvellously illustrated the world of Desert Bridge for human eyes.
- Helen Trevillion – composed and recorded the beautiful music.
- Harold the Talking Picture Frame – designed the menus you interact with.
- Bob the Spider – wrote the manual.
The portal was tested for transdimensional safety by (in random order):
- Cees Porck
- The Nameless Betatester
- Len Green
- Madeleine Williams
- Carla LeGall
- Nige Copeland
- Astrid Beulink
- Kevin Clancy
- Patricia DeVries
- Paul Davies
The Strange and Somewhat Sinister Tale of the House at Desert Bridge by Jonas Kyratzes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.