I went in to this in the Haunted PS1 Demo discs and thought it was just a simple horror game since I didn't read the warning, but when I played the FreeFall chapter, I felt really bad for the people in this. Honestly I felt awful due to Charlie Passing away. I didn't even know who they were and I still felt sad. And I thought I would stop playing due to this mildly scaring me.
The Drowning Machine
A downloadable memorial for Windows
In memory of Charlie Schulz
SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE: 800-273-8255
Donations will benefit a Trans Lifeline in Charlie's honor
In February of 2019, my best friend Charlie took his own life.
In the months preceeding his death, the two of us had begun working on a game together, but due to unforseen circumstances the game had to be shelved. Through all of this, Charlie was insistent that "if anything bad ever happens to one of us, the other has to finish it."
In his memory, I think it's time to finish that game.
VI // IV // III //
I // II // V
Movement VI: Eulogy
After what I'd seen, I couldn't bear the thought of having to see you in that coffin. The makeup artist at the last funeral could barely cover the marks...
Eulogy was created in 3 hours, using the poem "Your Actions Will Have Consequences" written by Charlie, provided before his passing.
Movement IV: Wanderlust
During a period of grief, sometimes it's better to fight your way the surface, trying desperately to breathe again. Sometimes, it's safer just to sink beneath the waves.
Wanderlust contains excerpts from the poem "Break (It) Down" written by Charlie, provided before his passing.
Movement III: Freefall
I tore out my fingernails waiting to hear your voice again. I kept telling myself all the blood was what made me miss that call.
Freefall contains excerpts from the poem "Selfish" written by Charlie, provided before his passing.
Movement I: Reverie
You were long gone before I even knew to start looking. I watched as your spine began to snap.
Reverie contains excerpts from the poem "Severance" written by Charlie, provided before his passing.
Featured on the Haunted PS1 Demo Disc 2021
Letters to the Wanderer
I want to share your story.
The Drowning Machine is not only a story of loss and grieving, but one to celebrate the lives of those who we've lost, as well as those who still wander. I want to create an expression of how much we as a community care for those we love, so please take the time to write a letter or even just a short note to Charlie if you knew him, or to a Wanderer of your own; someone you've lost, or even a letter to yourself. I will be compiling these accounts (with your permission) to be displayed within the full release of The Drowning Machine.
Life is short, tell someone you love them today.
Follow me on Twitter for regular updates: https://Twitter.com/RabbitRunDev
Email for inquiries: email@example.com
I've attempted to start this project a number of times, under different names and perspectives, but the only way this feels right is to speak to my own experiences with grieving for him, while also presenting his vision to the best of my ability. The Drowning Machine is the culmination of this project, to be released in multiple excerpts.
More catharsis than game, these fragments are in no way perfect; with very little planning, these movements represent a stream of consciousness style interpretation of Charlie's traumatic memories, as well as my own. Consistent updates will be made to all parts.
Click download now to get access to the following files:
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hey there! I’d be happy to look into this for you, do you happen to remember what you were doing when the game crashed?
gonna try this game out. my heart goes out to you and your friend's loved ones honestly.
I played this through the Haunted PS1 Demo Disc 2021.
Going in, I was expecting something like the other games: A fun, spooky little time that can get me hyped for the full version. What I got?
....This is quite honestly, tied with Spec Ops: The Line as the most emotionally destroying videogame I've played. In fact, it might top it. Because with The Line, the characters, whilst realistic and thoroughly tragic, are still fiction. This is a true story based on the mental deterioration and loss of your friend.
I live in the UK, but I still know what depression is like. It's a disease. A disease that takes on many forms, and pushes us to the brink of death. I should know. I had it.
From 2014 to 2020, I lived the worst years of my life as a teenager. I was going through puberty, and it turned out I was autistic. During this time, I gained a horrifying depression, where I became emotionally unstable and kept on lashing out at anyone and anyTHING. I don't know WHAT caused it. Maybe it was the class I was assigned in secondary school. Maybe it was the people I was surrounded by. But as a teen, I became the very thing I despised, and I didn't know how I could stop. No matter hard I tried, things kept on getting worse.
Finally, in 2020, an incident occurred. I don't want to say what happened, but what matters is that I finally realised that I was going through depression, and eventually, I got the help I needed. But I know many other people out there aren't as lucky as I was.
Perhaps because of this, I couldn't make it past Movement III. This was a project made to honour the life of a man who fought his own battle with depression and lost. A game that delivers a message about his life and depression itself. I don't know who Charlie Schulz was in life, but if he were to see you make this game, he'd be happy that you finished it for him.
There's nothing more I can add, other than:
Rest in Peace, Charlie Schulz.
Feedback: is there a way to mute the phone vibration noise? As in, have a notification icon or something as an option? The phone vibration noise bothers me.
I'm sorry about your loss.
I just played the chapters available in the demo. I don't have words. I'm lucky; I've never experienced what you've gone through. I think what you've created here is a beautiful, poignant memorial. I can't imagine what you went through/are going through, but keep on with what you're doing.
I did want to ask -- I noticed below someone commented that they were glad you finished the game, but the download only has three chapters. Is there a way for me to play them all?
It's a beautiful thing you're doing with this project, and I'm looking forward to finishing it and trying your other games.
hey there! Thank you so much for playing I’m glad the game meant something to you, and I appreciate the compliments!
To clarify, the game is being released episodically, I’m currently around a quarter of the way through Movement I: Reverie. There’s going to be two movements released after that as well, once they’re good and ready ;)
I’ll be pushing regular updates to the game so I would definitely recommend following my Twitter to keep up with development!
I’m so glad to hear you appreciated it, it absolutely fuels me to know that this game means something to so many kind folks :)
Got it! I'll turn on Twitter notifications for you and keep an eye out. And the compliments are earned! It's a beautiful, haunting, tear-jerking piece of art. I'm thankful you were willing to share it with the world.
I've been thinking about what to write, because I was really touched by this game. I'm very sorry for your loss, and I think that Charlie would have loved what you both have created.
thank you so much, that means the world to me. I’ve actually had a lot of folks say that, honestly just taking the time out to leave a comment says it all :) I hope he’s proud wherever he is
I'm glad you finished the game. :)
I was confused though. How do you pick up the phone? I was pushing all the buttons on my keyboard and mouse. Nothing worked.
Hey there! Glad to see you played it. You can pick up the phone with Tab, not sure if that's one of the buttons you pressed, otherwise I'll look into it! I think I'm going to change around some of the input defaults and add custom bindings for folks with keyboard trouble in a near future update!
I really liked the art-style and how the use of audio complimented the in-game happenings very well.
The gameplay is somewhat limited, but is carried by the story, which is clearly in focus. I fell there is so much more to this game than someone from the outside can see, like the store, the actual meaning of the ticket, the computer desks and so on.
The story is very compelling, and I am convinced he must have been a dear friend.
But really good work! And best of luck in the future!
Thank you so much! Yes, I did let the gameplay take a back seat, but I think that the new movement is going to knock your socks off in that regard :)
This is pure art and I thank you for putting it out there! I can honestly say I didn't expect this from the Haunted Demo Disk but I'm really really pleased I got to experience your story!
hey thank you for playing! Yeah a lot of folks said it threw them for a loop compared to the tone of most of the other games, but I’m glad it was included!
EPIC, GOOD JOB DEV
Undoubtedly an authorial game, which puts us under the point of view of a person in pain and problems, and how it affects those around him. The execution was very interesting. I can't wait to see the full work. Keep it up!
thank you for the kind words, I’ll certainly keep it up! Movement I is coming shortly :)
I’ve been thinking about this project rather frequently since finishing it. It’s haunting and beautiful, and overall a wonderful memorial to someone whose life ended far too soon. It sticks with me so much, however, because it is uncannily reminiscent of my own experience with grieving a lost loved one.
In 2017, my ex-boyfriend committed suicide at the age of 18. It was shocking and unexpected, and has since created a permanent rift in my life as well as the lives of many of our mutual friends. Navigating through this project often felt like revisiting that experience.
So many little aspects, like receiving frantic text messages on the morning after or wishing to eulogize their life knowing that some people did not accept that individual as who they truly were, caused me to dig up memories which had been buried in my mind for many years.
It can be difficult, but also simultaneously comforting to explore these environments. It’s comforting, because it is a stark reminder that you aren’t alone in your experience. As far as I'm aware, I’ve never met another person who had gone through a similar situation as me, and it is often extremely isolating knowing that nobody around you will really be able to understand or relate to you, but I believe this project succeeds in achieving that sense of understanding which you may not find anywhere else.
Thank you for your kind words, I am truly sorry for your loss.
Stories like yours are what inspired me to take the direction that I've taken with the game, and reassurance that I'm doing something right. It's responses and feelings like yours that keep the project going. Thank you so much.
This game is really hard for my brain and heart. I have felt so many emotions while playing it. And i had cried. I did not lose my friend, and i am sorry that i can't feel ur pain. This project is masterpiece, waiting for full version
I don't usually read descriptions on games but this one really caught my eyes Sry for the loss of your friend man:( prayers go out to you and his fam
I do not feel right commenting on this game as this game hit close to home, as I am sure it did for a lot of people. The only thing I can say is I have IMMENSE respect for you doing this. True friendship does exist, and you are the embodiment of that. Beautiful game. Thank you
Oh my gosh, thank you so much! That means the world to me, I'm glad it meant something to you. I'll be checking this video out shortly!
Movement III: Freefall is now available for download
A heartfelt, personal experience that a lot of love went into. My condolences go out to you and yours, and thank you for crafting such a wonderful dedication to your friend.
Movement IV: Wanderlust is now available for download
Hey Brother! Its really SAD whats going on in your life. But you have to recover and make your best friend proud so he REST IN PEACE. You have shown what friendship is when i see many friends leave and cheat but you are such a good soul that you remember your friend moments. YOu have a good heart. Please carry on with your work… and Charlie is proud to have you.
I can feel your speech and affection for your mate its very sad to speak about the moments talks jokes you both did. SO as Charlie is a warrior now you have to be warrior ;))
I really appreciate your efforts and condoleances for Charlie Family.
Thank you, I really appreciate that. There will be more parts coming soon to tell the whole story.
Very touching. My condoleances.
I'm so sorry for your friend Charlie. He would've been proud to see you finish the project. I can see how you feel in this game. It does send out an important message about suicide prevention. I'm glad to experience the game. I hope you're doing good as well.
not the type of game you should post a reaction to on youtube, seems insensitive to me, having lost someone..
I'm glad the game meant something to you both. While ordinarily I try to keep things like this private, I know for certain that Charlie knew that this story would help someone out there. Honestly if this game is able to help even one person understand what it would be like to lose them, and show them that it's worth it to keep going, it'll be worth it for both of us. I appreciate any help spreading his message. I appreciated your respect of the source material in the video.
Everyone experiences trauma differently, everyone experiences grief differently.
The Drowning Machine is a chance at closure for both me and him, and I'm just glad that the message has gotten out.
Thank you both for playing
Even though I age-restricted this video, the developer wants me to play his game to honor his friend's wish. It shows that I care for people than my own content. That's why I respect every single creator on itch.io, and it is a blessing that if ANYONE can play their games, then I'll be the first one to make it happen. You can literally see my progress on YouTube, and how many times I supported the creators. Don't you dare say that I didn't care about him.
deep story and rip for friend.
i am really sorry for your friend, the game was great and i am sure that he would have been proud of you for making it!
thank you for this game as well as your choice of charity
Thank you for playing. I'm really excited at the idea of this being able to do some good in the world.
Beautiful words for no doubt a beautiful person. Thank you for sharing!
Thank you. It was hard to get through the speech a second time, but it was worth it. Glad it meant something to you!
Incredible, great work