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A jam submission

The Gadfly of GensokyoView game page

QUESTION arguments. PRESENT your ideas. Figure out LOVE.
Submitted by Jacoder23 (@jacoder234) — 3 hours, 2 minutes before the deadline
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CriteriaRankScore*Raw Score
Story / Writing#34.5054.613
Audio / Music#143.5603.645
Use of Theme#213.3083.387

Ranked from 31 ratings. Score is adjusted from raw score by the median number of ratings per game in the jam.

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Jam HostSubmitted(+1)

This one was a lot for my sick late night brain to handle, and getting back after each death felt tedious at times, but I really appreciate what went into this. It's an interesting implementation of philosophy and I like the characterization of everyone; especially how they represented each concept/values of love.

The process of coming to your own conclusion at the end, so to speak, was also a very nice touch.

Submitted (1 edit)

At the time of writing this, there is less than 5 hours left before voting ends (though I sort of wish to sleep earlier) and I have 16 other titles to go rate for, so it cannot finish the game within the voting period.

I can appreciate the writing (and the piano, it sounds like Bad Apple at times but sometimes not?) for this even if my head is certainly more of the kind that appreciates numbers more than words and mindless fun more than mindful thinking. Thanks for putting up the walkthrough because a feeble mind like mine definitely cannot survive through this subject. One personal gripe, though this might be just my head (that is unsuitable for this game, at least for now, after a long day at college) talking, is how rather vague the very first branch gets ("All material things...")


"What do you think?"

Love is formed in selfishness, and the act of loving is sacrifice. Each given sacrifice may be worth it, maybe not. But without taking a risk like that, we're left with little to gain. Love is, in this framework, a matter of if the sacrifices are worth it. I believe, yes, they are. A love without sacrifice is indulgence. Yet, "love is sacrifice" isn't quite complete in my eyes. Love with only sacrifice isn't a risk, but a burden. There must be a push and pull of indulgence and duty. Days when you can just lay in the sun, and days full of exhausting work. Lie down for you whole life, and those who love you will have far too large a weight to carry to keep that love. Do nothing but work your whole life, and sooner or later you will snap, unable to keep loving indefinitely. I find the former to be detestable, and the latter (virtuous as it is at face value) tragic when necessary and shortsighted when not. Love is living between a state of giving and receiving, and... my ideal kind of love is both at once. Where the feeling that comes from giving-- the feeling that your love is making a difference, enriching those you love-- is its own reward; and, of course, everyone involved has to be giving & nurturing. No love can be like that ideal all the time, for we all have selfishness and limits. But when it does happen, it's wonderful. And what little I've seen of that wonder leads me to believe that love is ultimately good, and worth the hardships that will always come with it.

"Are you still searching for something?"

Yeah. Real uh... real bad. I'm kinda lonely. Sorry. Aha, this ain't phrased so well anymore huh... I uh... don't have the time or energy to get into it right now. Ha ha, that's a facade ain't it? I'm just too uncomfortable with telling you this. And I also wanna be done with this game. Is that okay? I don't know if that's okay. I'm scared to love. Or maybe just prone to complacency with my current situation. Love is hard, and I'm pretty lazy. Dunno, maybe a day will come when I start loving full-time. Love hurts, but not loving hurts in a different way.


no u


I played this game expecting that it'll end in around 30-45 minutes but somehow it took me around 1 hour and 30 minutes to clear it. YOU LIED TO ME! /jk

I love how great the narrative is. Diotima feels alive as a character, and the other characters' conversations are also great. Having multiple ways to clear some stuff is also a plus. There was a time when I was like "oh no, I skipped X haunted part and didn't get Y argument, what should I do with this one that needs Y argument" and I found out that I can use another argument to solve them instead. The spoilerless walkthrough is more like hints than an actual walkthrough, but I get that it's kinda hard to make a real walkthrough without spoiling anything in this game.

The only problem that I encounter while playing the game is the one that I need to do to advance Suika's conversation. I didn't notice if there was any change after the first 'QUESTION', so I kinda stuck there until I open the spoiler walkthrough. But only for that one. The rest is kinda solvable if you think hard enough. I did try to do some brute force methods which fail miserably, but I actually managed to solve them when I stop and thought for a while.

Great job with the writing there!


I wish there was a save system or an "undo" button of sorts ( I know there's a guide but dang it I wanna figure out the game myself!) Very good! 


Genuinely impressed by how this game goes all out in the philosophical perspective while also keeping it understandable, engaging and interesting (aka not dry and not a slog to get through). Having multiple solutions to the argument was also a really good way of spicing up the gameplay, and I think the piano music elevated the experience. Good work!


I'm having massive doubts on the feeling of accomplishment on each correct choice I happen to make that advances the dialogue. Everything is so deep and the ideas are rich, but putting a steering wheel in my hands in the middle of a philosophical dialogue seems kind of er.. I mean, I guess there's always a correct/best answer at any given point, it's just up to me to find it. I couldn't make it all the way through to the end, but I'll definitely check out the spoilered cheatsheet!

I had a flashback scene of Diotima's past which sounded very pointedly like it would apply to Youmu's argument. I believe it even said I got that exact Idea. But when I went to present it to her, and the Idea just wasn't there. Which is frustrating, because the game was enjoyable up to that point...

...aside from the times that I presented seemingly applicable arguments and lost Credibility because Diotima couldn't figure out the connection there, and the fact that this is a jam game with no save slots, meaning that running out of Credibility meant I had to start over from the beginning.

I really want to see how the game ends, but I'm not sure I want to replay most of the game over and over until I figure out what arguments are right and how to not lose the important ideas.

Developer (1 edit)

Which of Youmu’s arguments were you on? That flashback does work on a later argument. If it doesn’t though you might have stumbled into a glitch.

I’ll be putting out a spoilered walkthrough later with exact solutions, sorry to hear about that! Glad you at least enjoyed it until that point.

"[Love] is a trade and a deal that manifests in many forms; but comes down to sacrifice and compromise."

YOUMU: I thought about what you said.
YOUMU: And I think you have a point.
DIOTIMA: What point would that be?
YOUMU: That love must be negative overall.

And like I said, the problem isn't that the idea doesn't work, it just doesn't show up. The flashback says...


...but the first two times I tried, the idea did not actually show up in my idea list. It did when I replayed to get the exact text, and I wish I'd paid attention to the exact order of events each time.

Two last notes:

1. How do you spoiler stuff on itch? I feel like some of this should be spoilered.
2. Should I be disappointed that you didn't include a single "baby don't hurt me" in this game about "what is love?", or impressed by your restraint?

Developer (2 edits)

Oooooooh well when I had to spoiler something for a review before I just linked to an image/text with the spoiler. Should do the trick.

And yes you appear to have stumbled onto a glitch! Welp, that’s not great. I’ll check the code and see if I can get a patch out since well, that is supposed to work.

I think you should be listening to the song while playing the game really. It’s really core to the story. Mute the piano music I just didn’t use the song because I lacked the rights.

EDIT: Patch is out, should be fixed.


This was a trip and a half. Said it in the feedback form, but this is the most a jam game has ever made me think. I like how all the philosophy still ties in an emotional core to the game's story.


Super fun game! I enjoyed the puzzles of deciding where to use each phrase a ton, and the checkpoint past the first bit was really appreciated. 

The writing was interesting and really made me take a while to think before I clicked past each page too.

Couldn't quite finish one of the alternate completion methods, so I'll come back to this later. 
Nice submission!


Awesome writing! First time playing a game like this and I enjoyed it.