The Crooked Man

released on Dec 31, 2012
by PLAYISM

,

Uri

David Hoover decides to move into a new apartment during a rough time in his life. After some odd occurrences, he decides to ask about the room's former owner, but learns little. So he sets off in search of him, strangely compelled to know more about this man...


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This review contains spoilers

"I wish... I could have known you sooner."

I found out about TCM the way a lot of people did: YouTube let's plays. I've never met one of these RPG maker (ackshually this one is Wolf RPG editor 🤓) horror puzzle-y games I didn't like. But even when I was a kid watching scary YouTube videos on my 3DS or the family computer, The Crooked Man stuck with me in a way most other titles of it's ilk have not.

It's a game primarily about mental health, which isn't an uncommon topic for horror to broach no matter the medium. But the way this particular game handles it resonated with me at 11, at 15, and now as an adult less than a month a way from my 21st birthday.

See, a lot of stories about mental health go one of 2 ways. The protagonist fights and fights and eventually conquers the worst parts of their mental illness, or they lose the fight and either sink into their despair or drown in it. And I'm not trying to discount those as valid experiences to write stories about, nor am I saying they're automatically bad stories. However, it's not something that resonates with me in particular. I am not swayed by the symbolic mountain climbing of Celeste, Undertale's ideas that you're still you no matter what happens, or Doki Doki Literature Club's depressing reality bending trudge through the aftermath of suicide. Not to say these aren't compelling games, they're some of my favorites.

But TCM takes neither approach, instead settling for an attainable middle ground. It feels more realistic or at least more applicable to my own life. Like, yeah! You're a deeply flawed person, maybe you're capable or guilty of bad things, sometimes you don't get to chase your dreams for reasons entirely out of your control. But that doesn't mean your only options are continuing on an ironically depressing push through with a plastered on smile, or throwing your life away altogether. You can't just rub some dirt on your wounds or dig your own grave.

There are still things worth living for, and the person that trauma and mental illness will have a hand in making you isn't a horrible irredeemable person to be. Life won't be easy. It isn't by default, but when you're dealing with things like depression or PTSD the cards are stacked even higher against you. And maybe no one in your immediate circle will come close to understanding.

But coming to terms with the fact of ups and downs, of unrealized dreams and burnt bridges, of death's inevitability, of your own cowardice or selfishness or weak will, your inability to save everyone or stop yourself from ever being hurt, everything becomes just that little bit more bearable. And sometimes, that's all you can ask for.

It's okay not to be okay. That's a message I will always need to hear.

"However off-kilter things get, we can set them straight. If that's what we want..."

I don't know why this game get so much hate, the story may not be the best but it's really enjoyable, it's really good for its age. Maybe ya'll not depressed enough for it.

There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile;
He bought a crooked cat which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile;
He bought a crooked cat which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile;
He bought a crooked cat which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile;
He bought a crooked cat which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile;
He bought a crooked cat which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile;
He bought a crooked cat which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile;
He bought a crooked cat which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.

this was like reading a 10 year old's scary story. i normally like horror rpgs from the same era and i could not get through this