The Average Gamer

Indie Rock: Safety Blanket

Safety Blanket - Bed
One morning recently I wasn’t fully awake. I was in the intermediary stage between consciousnesses. Functional, but still entirely dreaming. I can’t entirely remember the context for this, but within my dream I had to lean over and attempt to scare someone from behind. Channelling Jigsaw of Them Saw Movies crossed with a bit of Psycho Mantis, I recited words similar to “So, you like to play games?”

I’d said that out loud, it turns out, right into the ear of my partner. Who practically made sure the entire street was up given the volume of her laughter.

I have trouble sleeping. You might say that I’m, ha ha, “bad in bed”, ha ha. To drift off I used to listen to podcasts. Recently I’ve graduated to watching professional Dota 2 matches. I have to trick myself into believing that sleep isn’t my aim. Nah. I’m doing something else. The eyes are getting shut just ’cause I don’t need them open right now.

For some people, getting to sleep isn’t just a matter of forcing yourself to accept the necessity and inevitability while you soak in entertainment. It’s a struggle to overcome fear of the unknown surrounding you, along with the vulnerability that comes with being physically incapable of confronting whatever might be there.

Safety Blanket is about that. It’s a game about a blanket that is far too small to keep all of your limbs inside comfortably and a monster that can only Get You if your parts are exposed for too long. You have to manage the time that your limbs remain exposed in order to fight back the encroaching darkness and survive until it’s time to get up.

I love the game’s irrational rule that a monster is somehow incapable of hurting you unless you’re protected by some fuckin’ cotton and down, like it’s made of magical sleep-demon repellent. That rule is the sort of thing that a dreamlike-mind, or at least one intoxicated by dreamy bullshit, might create. It’s a believable experience even as one that’s so magical, and especially given my aforementioned experience living in a half-dream, I can absolutely believe that this is the kind of thing that actually goes through people’s minds as they try to sleep and can’t because they’re overcome with fear.

Safety Blanket - MonsterYou drag the blanket around by clicking sides of it and dragging. The thing flows in a way that feels natural and uncomplicated, like a blanket should. It adds a lot to the theme, that the blanket – as a concept that works well in execution, along with protecting you from the monster – is an inherently Good Thing.

It’s a silly game that you can play and pay what you want for. Maybe give it a shot. And maybe you’ll actually be able to beat it because i sure as heck can’t. Not because I’m necessarily bad at it, but later in the game the monster’s face starts appearing and I keep thinking “Dang, that’s someone I’d really like to hang out and be friends with.”

Safety Blanket was developed in 48 hours for the Ludum Dare 29 game jam and is available for Windows, Linux and OSX.