Books, Please!

Prepare for gulag!

Welcome to the literature department of the Ministry of Truth!

Your job is to check that books adhere to the Rules. Any books that violate the Rules will be burned.

The game features multiple endings!

Controls

Mouse: click to interact, move books by dragging them

Special mentions:

  • Jokatti additional writing and playtesting.

Voting results

Overall
2nd
50%
7.125
Graphics
1st
7.111
Audio
2nd
50%
7.000
Gameplay
2nd
50%
6.667
Originality
2nd
50%
6.444
Theme
1st
9.222

This game entered in the Team competition (2 entries).

Comments (15)

toasty
 • 3 months ago • 

Another book burning game! We should probably form a union 🤔

Baconinvader
 • 3 months ago • 

Nice game! Liked the concept a lot and felt it was well executed.

toasty
 • 3 months ago • 

Great stuff. Well contained gameplay, quite tense, and I get the hint of multiple endings which is exciting. The artwork is nice and the music helps set the scene. The bag was an unexpected but appreciated turn. Sometimes I disagreed with a book's designation, but maybe I was just bitter about getting it wrong ;)

mesonpi
 • 3 months ago • 

As for the game of toasty, I really enjoyed the concept behind this game.
I also liked the music. The only problem is that sometimes when finish reading a book, I was not able to recognize which one was the one I just read, and I ended up burning or saving the wrong book many times for this reason. Maybe using a bookshelf or a glowing effect tu underline the last readed book would have helped.

Juutis
  • 3 months ago • 

Thanks for the feedback, guys!

@mesonpi, it's probably not obvious but you can freely rearrange the books on the table. The new books will stack on the left side so a good way is to eg. move a book to the right side of the table before reading it.

M2tias
  • 3 months ago • 

@toasty, writing is not my strongest suit and it's really hard to write books that are supposedly "ok" in a very dystopic country… I guess there's some good old trial and error. Some books required you to read more than 1-2 lines. Thanks for the feedback

toasty
 • 3 months ago • 

@M2tias yeah, I think even very innocuous-seeming books sometimes end up getting burned in real totalitarian places ;(

heyheyhey
 • 3 months ago • 

This game reminds me of several articles I’ve read recently about censorship in Ukraine and the collective West. Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Maxim Gorky, Nikolai Berdyaev — these and countless other great Russian thinkers are now deemed to be “taboo” not just in Ukraine, but in many parts of Europe and North America as well.

The best thing about this game is that it motivates me to continue to speak out against the Ukrainian government and its allies. In that sense your game serves as a strong motivator. Aside from that, I think you’ve done a very good job of creating the mood of intolerance and oppression — what it feels like to live in the U.S. The music and drab colors fit together well.

M2tias
  • 3 months ago • 

@heyheyhey I've never felt this much disgust and sadness from a jam comment. Not only do you completely misunderstand and pervert the game we made, you talk about things you should probably leave to other platforms. Jamming is all inclusive and fun. It's not for spamming your propaganda. The game is fictional.

Bun since you started: You should probably pull your head out of Putin's ass and read media that wasn't written by the war criminals running Russia. I'm sure Ukraine is not perfect and USA is far from it. Russian writers are considered taboo? Those writers are dead. Russia considers at least 10% of their population taboo. When Russia stops killing innocent people of Ukraine, come talk to me about who's the oppressor here. And while we are waiting for that wonderful day, maybe go spout your disgusting shit to a local policeman so he doesn't feel that bad imprisoning local heroes who have the balls to go against the dictator you so hold dear.

heyheyhey
 • 3 months ago • 

@M2tias Let me be clear: I believe your game is a solid entry; it is imaginative and well-designed, and it conveys an unusual mood. Don’t be saddened or upset — that was not my intention. As for my interpretation, it should not be dismissed as irrelevant. Interpretations that express opposing political views should be encouraged, not denigrated. Denigration and belittlement are regressive tactics — they are the same tactics used by those who wish to intimidate and oppress. In general, each one of us, regardless of political or religious beliefs, should be respected as a human being, myself included. This is what I hope to see here.

As for Ukraine, when a government bans opposition parties and censors free speech, it is harming its own people. People who speak Russian are especially vulnerable. We have every right to speak up for them.

This brings me to my next point. Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, et al., are “dead” in body only. In spirit, they are still with us, and they continue to enrich our lives. They play a crucial role in higher education — for many, they are role models. If you treat these writers as they ought to be treated — as intellectuals of the highest caliber — you will not be disappointed. This is also true of Russian artists such as Alexandra Exter and Natalia Goncharova, to name just a few. We should criticize the governments who wish to censor them. Creative works — games included — can serve as a springboard for such criticism.

Jokatti
(@jcatie) • 3 months ago • 

@heyheyhey I think it is ironic that you point the finger at Ukraine for censorship when Russia is riddled with it, especially in terms of this war that Russia started. Any criticism or even mention of the war in Russia literally means some legal consequences. It is not merely taboo and social agreement. It is enforced by Russian government and police force.

The merits of Russian artists have nothing to do with the situation in Ukraine. There is an active war going on. Time for any criticism related to that is for after this insane war is over, Russian troops are out of Ukraine, Ukraine is free again and rebuilt after the horrid pillaging done by Russian troops. Peace for Ukraine.

I hope any people interested in this game can move past this sad conversation.

The Jamician
(@administrator) • 3 months ago • 

Following reports about the current conversation, we admins want to point out that a game page is not a fitting place for a political debate. We will not delete any of the comments so far due to everyone being mostly civil, however we'd like to state that:

  • Alakajam! fully supports Ukraine and its allies in their war against the ongoing Russian invasion ;
  • Alakajam! equally condemns any racism and censorship against the Russian people and its culture in general, which must stay distinguished from the actions of their government.

Any continuation of the debate on this game page will be burned like forbidden books.

Papaver
 • 3 months ago • 

Fun little game! Time seems to fly while making decisions about the books. I also had the problem of being unable to see which book I just read, but I found out that I could move the books to the side. But this extra action took too much of my precious time!
Maybe it's because I was playing without a mouse and just my trackpad, but I was too slow to finish the game the first time. But I did finish all 5 days in another attempt.
I didn't understand at first when my time was up, but I figured out I worked a 12-hour shift from 8 till 8, nice touch. :)

Cuddl3s
 • 3 months ago • 

Cool little jam game!

As Im onmy steam deck right now, I didnt manage to pass the 2nd level, but I really enjoyed the fact that there was the additional option of the bag in the second level. The music is fitting and doesnt detract from the game.
The sentences kept repeating quite often, but that is fine for a jam game. Overall, very solid entry!!

thomastc
 • 3 months ago • 

Took me a while to memorize all the rules, and then to learn to interpret them correctly. For example, I think y = ax + b also counts as science with numbers. And "negativity" is of course pretty subjective. But the "in case of doubt, burn it" rule nicely covers such cases.

I didn't try ignoring the revolutionary with the bag, but I imagine it would lead to a different ending, if I were good enough to reach an ending in the first place.

Some quality of life features would not go amiss:

  • clicking the entire page to turn it
  • not stacking incoming books on top of others
  • an animation when you close a book so you can see which one it was
  • full keyboard controls would be nice, but not essential; using the mouse might be more immersive

Would be cool if there was an actual fire instead of just an X!

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Authors

Juutis
M2tias

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