I Wanna Be The Caretaker

Creator: Gizmo

Average Rating
9.0 / 10
Average Difficulty
47.3 / 100
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Tags:

Adventure (7) Needle (10) Gimmick (7) Special (3) Horror (3) Atmosphere (3) Everywhere_at_the_end_of_time (2) Dementia (5) Concept (1)

Screenshots

  • by Dog
  • by Wolsk
  • by Wolsk
  • by Wolsk
  • by Wolsk

Creator's Comments:

Gizmo [Creator]
My first complete fangame, made in ~2 months.

I like tier lists, so if you want to make a chart for the rooms in the game here you go (spoilers for all the rooms obviously): https://tiermaker.com/create/i-wanna-be-the-caretaker-621666

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[6] Likes
Rating: N/A       Difficulty: N/A
Mar 21, 2021

35 Reviews:

Cutiefruity
This game is a homage to Leyland Kirby "The Caretaker" and especially his work, Everywhere at the End of time, and it does a great job at mirroring the thoughts and feelings evoked by the original.

The Caretaker was a long running project by the musician Leyland Kirby, characterised by the exploration of memory and it's gradual degradation through 30's ballroom recordings, sampled into songs to tell a story, especially in Everywhere at the End of Time, exploring dementia as a subject, divided into 6 stages of deterioration. It is in no way necessary to listen to the original album, however I found the experience very eye opening and if you think you can, you should. Otherwise, this game is in my opinion a perfectly valid way to have a similiar experience.

This game begins on the menu with "Heartaches", the main leitmotif of the album. This was a superb choice.

STAGE 1

"Here we experience the first signs of memory loss. This stage is most like a beautiful daydream. The glory of old age and recollection. The last of the great days." -Leyland Kirby

Stage 1 is the setup for a very simple adventure game. The background OST is "It's just a burning memory", the most iconic and well known song in the original album. It feels mostly normal but there is something off already and you can tell. Bullets are a bit weird, and your blood is pinkish. But it's fine, maybe it's just the fangame you're playing being odd. You continue to traverse it, having some simple looparound structures. There's not much entanglement going on, everything is as glorious as it should be, you're still in control of your mind. This stage is pretty enjoyable.


STAGE 2

"The second stage is the self realisation and awareness that something is wrong with a refusal to accept that. More effort is made to remember so memories can be more long form with a little more deterioration in quality. The overall personal mood is generally lower than the first stage and at a point before confusion starts setting in." -Leyland Kirby

This stage features a different gimmick, bombs. This is a good choice for stage 2, as it makes it noticeably harder to beat rooms due to having to think ahead a little bit, which makes the path overall a bit more confusing. This arks back to the point of the original Stage 2: you're in denial of the degradation, even if the mood is far lower, colder, which is accompanied by the far gloomier song, "Misplaced in time". This is just a gimmick after all, how could this be anything worse?


STAGE 3

"Here we are presented with some of the last coherent memories before confusion fully rolls in and the grey mists form and fade away. Finest moments have been remembered, the musical flow in places is more confused and tangled. As we progress some singular memories become more disturbed, isolated, broken and distant. These are the last embers of awareness before we enter the post awareness stages." -Leyland Kirby

This stage features a shooting gimmick, where two screens overlaid on top of eachother overlap and you must shoot to see the other. The needle is quite simple, but its far harder to concentrate on due to the gimmick used. This is genius, as it makes the jumps far less certain if you just go into them recklessly in the much gloomier and mellow-colored landscape with the song "Long term dusk glimpses", which definitely slows down the pace, and shows how much trouble the player character is having concentrating on simple, daily tasks. While not the song I'd have chosen, it's a fine pick in the game that passes perfectly. All of this is still coherent, however, as he still knows who he is. Unlike...


STAGE 4

"Post-Awareness Stage 4 is where serenity and the ability to recall singular memories gives way to confusions and horror. It's the beginning of an eventual process where all memories begin to become more fluid through entanglements, repetition and rupture." -Leyland Kirby

This is accompanied excellently by the gimmick, and the visual change. Everything is a dark, gloomy blue, and nothing is how it was. The kid's face is blank, the saves are blank, and most of all you are traversing through empty static, a very iconic staple of the caretaker's fans, to represent dementia. You are no longer aware of what's happening as before, it's a point of no return now, and the very fitting song "Post Awareness Confusions (J1)" is playing.


STAGE 5

"Post-Awareness Stage 5 confusions and horror. More extreme entanglements, repetition and rupture can give way to calmer moments. The unfamiliar may sound and feel familiar.
Time is often spent only in the moment leading to isolation." -Leyland Kirby

This stage has a much simpler gimmick than the last, perhaps reflecting the Caretaker's description of "The unfamiliar may sound or feel familiar". Regardless, this is a very visceral stage, with a white and red color combination resulting in a very terrifying feeling, accompanied well by the song "Synapse retrogenesis".


STAGE 6

"Post-Awareness Stage 6 is without description." -Leyland Kirby

CLOSING THOUGHTS

I will try to keep these as spoiler free as possible. This game is not for the easily disturbed, and definitely deals with some dark topics that affect many. If you feel you may not enjoy this game due to them, or that they may be unhealthy and remind you of bad things, then maybe skip this one. If not, this is an outstanding game that should be played by everyone who can. From concept alone, this is a 10/10, and the platforming is not bad at all if you're afraid of that. Gizmo's first game is already a very promising one, and I await their next games eagerly.

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Tagged as: Adventure Needle Special Horror Everywhere_at_the_end_of_time Dementia
[8] Likes
Rating: 10.0 100       Difficulty: 42 42
Mar 21, 2021
YaBoiMarcAntony
I Wanna be the Caretaker is based off of the famous Caretaker album, Everywhere at the End of Time, each stage being based on one section of this massive musical experience - one that I have not personally partaken in both due to my own disinterest in it and just not really wanting to put in the time to do it. Nonetheless, it is not a necessity that you are familiar with the album sonically, the game can be consumed quite easily without having never heard it once, as I did. In fact, I might even suggest it to be a superior way of playing this game as it allows you to develop a stronger connection to the game itself rather than it being carried by your connection to the album.

Nonetheless, Caretaker (which is how I will be referring to the game from here on out), is a damn fine gimmick needle game which actually manages to innovate on some of its chosen gimmicks. Particularly, I found the last few stages to be especially good, the last one ESPECIALLY so thanks to its intelligent combination of the various gimmicks within previous stages. Visually, Gizmo chooses a more simplistic approach, succeeding greatly in what they set out to do. The game is at its best in this respect also at the last stage. Truly, the only problem I had with this game was with the platforms being a bit goofy, not allowing you to stand on them without issue. This made a couple saves more difficult than I'm sure they were intended to be - unless this was on purpose. If so, I do not get it, though I could come up with some reasons for it, I'm sure.

All that, however, doesn't truly matter. Whether or not Caretaker was made purely to recreate the album its based on or to meditate on the themes of that album, I do not know; however, speaking on Caretaker purely on its own merits, I believe it to be a genuinely thought-provoking experience. I have little experience with dementia, but I do know how it feels to see someone you love deteriorate, and the end result is one I don't think anyone should have to see. As such, if you have had the unfortunate weight on your mind of such an experience, then this game will likely resonate heavily with you. It offers insight into how it might feel to be on the other side of the wall, feeling yourself become all static and unfamiliar, suffering a fate worse than death - the death of one's own mind.

Do I even need to tell you this is a game well worth playing?

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Tagged as: Needle Gimmick
[5] Likes
Rating: 8.5 85       Difficulty: 55 55
Mar 21, 2021
phgQED
Caretaker is a game that caught my eye in a stream and compelled me to play it on aesthetic and visuals alone. The brain-apples and moving blood water spoke to me, and the rest of this game is just as daring in terms of its looks: visuals include tv-static-water that moves you linearly in the direction you were moving when you entered, the aforementioned moving blood-water, and a giant eyeball that extends pulsating vision cones and will chase you if you're foolish enough to enter its visible dominion. The visuals change regularly and always in unsettling and refreshing ways. In particular, I enjoyed the implementation of fruit throughout—needles are far sparser than other obstacles, or at least feel so, and this gives the game a more 'open' and 'forgiving' sense despite its otherwise hostile atmosphere. Screens are usually one save, but the difficulty curve is very forgiving, and no jump in particular will demand an intense grind. Usually you'll have just gotten used to one gimmick before you're whisked away and introduced to a new one, which keeps the sense of wonderment up while perhaps leaving a whisp of melancholy at unexplored potential. There is, blessedly, a 'smoosh all the gimmicks together' at the end section, and while it's a delight to play, it's as mercifully short as the game is itself, showing you an overwhelming depth without overstaying its welcome.

It occurs to me I forgot to mention the 'shoot to see the other dimension of the screen' gimmick, possibly because it's too hard to describe even as it feels implemented in an incredibly intuitive and easy to understand way. You, uh, shoot your gun, and it shows you one layer of spikes and obstacles, even level geometry... then you shoot, and it shows you the other layer. You can see the whole 'screen' at the same time, but the things that occupy it are different. So you may have to shoot mid-jump to see the upcoming geometery or... you know, you might want to watch a video for this one. Or play it yourself. Maybe just play it.

Easily one of the best fangames I've ever played, in terms of aesthetics, level design, and gimmick implementation. If anything one of my only complaints might be that it's too short—but keeping up that standard of creativity throughout a project this long already requires an immense talent. A definitely masterpiece overall imo.

Time: 1hr50min
Deaths: 752

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[2] Likes
Rating: 9.9 99       Difficulty: 39 39
Dec 29, 2021
SolarOddity
A very fun and relatively long gimmicky needle game. I like the atmosphere and the music that is based off of the Caretaker's album "Everywhere at the End of Time". Definitely recommend.

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[1] Like
Rating: 10.0 100       Difficulty: 47 47
Sep 20, 2022
roaming97
A horrible yet artistically beautiful experience translated into a fangame.

People have analyzed this game from top to bottom already, and I shall agree, if you can bear the slightly dark theme, this game is a must-play.

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Tagged as: Needle Gimmick Special Dementia
[1] Like
Rating: 8.9 89       Difficulty: 51 51
Dec 29, 2021