A graveyard simulator, a story of epitaphs, a tale of ghosts that haunt, a game with no goal— all valid descriptions of Boon Hill.
All Reviews:
Positive (18) - 83% of the 18 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date:
Oct 31, 2015
Developer:

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Includes 2 items: Welcome to Boon Hill, Welcome to Boon Hill - OST

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August 11

A new game I made just came out. It's called Dead Horizon. It's pretty cooool.

Today my new PC game, Dead Horizon, releases. It's very different from Boon Hill, which was odd... I am sitting here, unable to sleep, because I have to figure out some way to convince everyone out there on the collective “internet” to play it... or my effort over the past six months has been wasted. I don't know how to do that.

So, I'm going to try something. Something that I've always been told is the absolute worst thing you can do. I'm going to be 100% honest. I'm going to be completely open about how afraid I am. How afraid I am of YOU specifically, and what you might think of my game. Well, let's begin.

How do I get you to care? Steven Martin would say “Be so good they can't ignore you”, Which is such an easy thing to tell people when you're already successful.

Not that I'm not successful. You see, I write video games for a living. Millions of people have played games I've worked on. I've written words for franchises like The Walking Dead and Galaxy On Fire. I mostly work freelance, which means I get to set my own hours and show up to board rooms as the “out of town guest”, talk story for 20 minutes, then walk out before the boring part of the meeting hits.

But I don't get to tell my own stories. I get to help other people craft and perfect theirs. I get to work on machines already in motion. I tune the engine or rebuild the carburetor mid-race or whatever other metaphors I can use that prove I'm not a car guy.

I don't get to do that most terrifying and wonderful thing. I don't get to connect with people. Not through my art. At least not the art I get paid to make in my day job.

So, I burn the candle at both ends.

I get up and I start dealing with my clients. I take the notes, I write the drafts, I beat out the stories. Heroes save the day, cats fall out of trees and dogs learn the meaning of friendship. Around sixteen hours after I wake up I finish the last of what I should be doing that day.

Then I yawn. Drink an energy drink, and start working on one of my own projects. I have about four hours before sleep will demand I stop. I write, plot, craft, build, beg, and talk to the team of people I've put together to work on my own stories and my own games.

Games like Dead Horizon. It's not one of the Triple A games I write for. It was made on a shoestring budget, paid for out of pocket by me. This is because as someone who has worked on the other end, I'll never ask someone to work for free if I can avoid it.

Dead Horizon is a “retro” indie game. That means pixel art and chiptune music. But it's not just for style, it's there because it's very evocative of a time and place in which the emotions I'm dealing with in the writing for this game are from. A lot of the game is about my relationship with my grandfather, my feelings about gender and masculinity, and my emotional attachment to the western genre.

And that... ooooh boy. That is the scary part. This game isn't like the Triple A games I write for. It's me. It's me splattered across thousands of pixels for anyone to see. Its my emotional guts and my journal pages spilled out in text boxes and cutscenes. It isn't a carefully calculated product that's been focus tested and rejiggered a thousand times. It's not trying to trick you out of your money to keep hundreds of people employed.

Hell, it isn't even worth money. The game is free.

It's just me, telling a story I think matters. Trying to say something and wondering If I actually have anything to say. Attempting to connect with you and not knowing if what I've created will manage to make you feel anything or just leave you cold, bored, and displeased.

I made this game for you and I don't even know who you are. I made a thing hoping to find some way to speak to you and express something and I don't know enough about you to have any idea what you'll do with me being so open. I hope so, so much that you'll be moved. That you'll experience what I intended. Or even magically, you'll see something there I didn't know was there and find joy or sorrow or insight beyond what I could have imagined or predicted.

Maybe you'll find rage. Pain. Hatred. Maybe you'll curse my name and rant and rave. Maybe you'll try and hurt me. To make me feel the kind of frustration I've caused in you.

Worst of all, maybe you won't even care. I'll never connect with you because I failed to even matter enough to be a gleam in your eye.

That's why you scare me. Because I care what you think of my game more than anything. Because I make art for you. Because I'm screaming into the void with all I have to see if all the other people in the void hear my cry.

I like making my own things. I like being scared. It is, well, scary though. I'll tell you now, honestly, if you want to hurt me? You can. Very easily. I read every review. Every comment. Every random post on some random forum. Every article and every random discussion. It hurts every time someone doesn't like what I've made. Every time, even when It's a project I barely worked on, even if the comments are right.

Though, when people are mean, at least they care. It's so hard to get people to care. To make that connection. Steve Martin's quote isn't the whole of it. Money really helps. I've seen it from the inside. People can only care about what they hear about. You can't just be good. You also have to be loud. Which is why I'm writing this. Why I'm being completely honest.

I am scared of you and I need your help.

I need you to play my game. If you play my game, and I manage to connect with you, and you tell other people about it? Share this post, link my game, write about it. And that happens enough? Then I might get to spend more of my day working on my own things and less on other people's. I might get to focus on telling my own stories. It's terrifying. If you think I have something to say, then I have to say more things. If you think I don't. I don't. It's much less safe, but it's something I want and something I can't do alone. Something I can't do without you.

If you've ever made art of some kind, you probably understand, you're probably scared too. I probably frighten you. So, I offer a trade. If you show me something you've made, written, filmed, whatever, I'll look at it. I'll give feedback. I'll spread the word on it. All you have to do in return is play my game. You don't even have to like it.

I guess I should talk about my game at some point, huh?

Dead Horizon is a very short retro-styled shooting game for the PC, on Windows, Mac, and Linux. It's only about 10 minutes long, and it only requires a mouse to play. It's free. The soundtrack costs about five dollars if you want that, but there's also a sound test in the game itself. You play as a gunslinger who's going through a series of quick draw duels.

Yet, it's about so much more than just quick draw duels. It's about violence. Death. Redemption. Getting a chance to matter. It's about those dreams we have as kids and about people who we hurt because we tell ourselves that we don't have a choice. It's about westerns and machismo and gender and love and fear and addiction and age. It's about... more than I have the words to say. But... that's just what I think it's about. You decide what it's about. You're the one who has to play it.

This is the hardest part right here. Saying it's done. This post. The game. Putting it out into the world and knowing that you... you will be reading this and will judge me. Well, thank you. Thank you for taking the time. I owe you everything. Please, play my game and tell me what you think and feel. Please, be honest.

Dead Horizon is available on Steam here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/671700/Dead_Horizon/ and Itch.io here: https://pixelwestern.itch.io/dead-horizon
5 comments Read more

June 22

I left a comment on all reviews, images, and posts!

In celebration of the steam summer sale, for which, if history has taught me anything I will sell tens of copies of this game. I've made a comment on all posts, screen shots, and reviews.

Most of them don't say much of anything.

Thanks for everyone who paid money for this game. You're all very strange.

-Always

The Boon Hill Team
5 comments Read more

Reviews

“It may not look like it at first glance, but Boon Hill is a profound experience.”
Rock Paper Shotgun

“What I love about Boon Hill is how it challenges your mind to wander to the dark, scary places we don’t want to think about.”
Indy Root

“Boon Hill's absolutely worth the $5 admission fee and it'll even allow you to leave virtual flowers.”
IndieGame

About This Game

An afternoon spent walking between the gravestones reading the whispers of those that have passed. This is the experience Boon Hill promises to give. A graveyard simulator, with all the adventure of exploring a real graveyard without looking like a creeper.

To put it as simply as possible, Boon Hill is a game about reading gravestones. There might be a few other elements in the final product but the bulk of the game would be just walking through a graveyard, reading epitaphs and thinking about who these people were and never will be again.

Free Roaming


The game itself has no win scenario. As the protagonist you'll start with a specific gravestone you're looking for, but finding it won't end the game. Looking at every gravestone once won't end the game. Doing everything there possibly is to do won't end the game. The game ends when you decide to leave the graveyard. The experience is yours. It isn't dictated by some preset guidelines.

No Danger


The game has no lose scenario either. There is nothing threatening the player. No zombies bursting up from the graves and no vampires hidden deep in the mausoleums. The gravedigger is not digging a grave for you and it's impossible to be buried alive. There's nothing to be afraid of at Boon Hill, except perhaps your own mortality, despite what some NPCs might tell you.

Though they do say you should never fall asleep in a graveyard.

Discover Mystery In the Graveyard


Boon Hill is not aimless. Boon Hill is about inferred stories, about the connections people have that continue even after they die. The graveyard tells many tales woven by those who've long since passed on: stories of love, life, sorrow, and joy, told over generations.

The threads of narrative are woven throughout the gravestones for you to discover, if you have the inkling to look. A row of graves all with the same last name, most of them having died very young, suggests a specific set of circumstances. An epitaph that reads 'Survived by no one' is dour, yes, but clearly someone carried out their last wishes. Here, people are tied together by something as simple as similar birth dates, the places they were born or died, and even the styles of their grave markers. Subtle stories abound in the rows of stone.

The specifics of what you can expect from Boon Hill:

  • Fancy, advanced 16-bit graphics! The kind of graphics you drooled over twenty years ago.

  • The ability to choose your gender as male OR female! How very progressive.

  • Well over a thousand individual graves and epitaphs! It's the whole point of the game, after all.

  • Several NPCs to interact with! At least more than two.

  • Crows! The graveyard has a lot of crows. It's as much a feature as anything else.

  • Figure out what's up with that weird goth chick! She's kinda creepy.

  • Virtual graveyard! Real depression! Feelings of depression are not guaranteed, but reading epitaphs is not known as a heartwarming pastime.

  • Lie in an open grave! Haven't you always wanted to do that?

  • Real-time mourning! You'll be able to leave flowers, and look sad. All in real time! Only three flowers allowed per visit of the grounds.

  • But mostly, Learn about the history of this town and the kind of people that lived their through the legacy they have left behind in the graveyard boon hill.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP+
    • Processor: SSE2 instruction set support
    • Graphics: DX9 (Shader model 2.0) -generally anything made since 2004 should work.
    • Storage: 500 MB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: X 10.7+
    • Processor: SSE2 instruction set support
    • Graphics: DX9 (Shader model 2.0) -generally anything made since 2004 should work.
    • Storage: 500 MB available space

What Curators Say

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