Taking Breaks, but Not Staying in the Break

[If you’re planning to play the game A Short Hike, there are spoilers ahead, so tread carefully.]

[If you’re NOT playing the game or if you don’t play video games in general, tread carelessly (?)]

I’ve developed a problem with online gaming recently. Playing with my buddies was merely “taking a break” a month ago but has since evolved to a daily mandatory requirement – yes, I know that’s redundant.

So, I tried to replace it with something totally different.

Something like…


I tried A Short Hike in hopes that it would give me that break that short hikes provide. If you haven’t tried taking walks when you’re stressed at work (or life in general), trust me, it’s magical. When I needed a creative breakthrough (back in the day when I worked at an office), I would walk around the premises for about ten minutes. My mind always seems to be a lot clearer when I sit down on my station again.

Anyways, the game wasn’t what I expected, but it did remind me of a lot of things.

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The plot of the game is as the title suggests. A Short Hike is about taking a short hike to the top of a mountain as a break from the “city noise.” The story is a little deeper than that, but that’s what the game seems to portray. Hats off to a game dev that reminds players to take a break once in a while!

But that’s just the outside layer. The game also introduces you to several characters that are pretty relatable. Because I don’t want to take too much time talking about every single one, here’s a speed round of what I learned from some of the memorable characters in the game:

Shovel Kid. This guy was using a real shovel to build sandcastles, which he found difficult to use. When Claire (that’s you) exchanges a smaller toy version for it, he’d later be able to build a “sand empire.” There are always the right tools for the job. If you can’t seem to get further with what you’re trying to do (or are quite terribly slow despite your adequate skill), maybe it’s time to get better tools.

Rock Climbers. The goal of these two is to get to the mountaintop, just like Claire. You somehow get into their “international” rock-climbing club during the game, but it’s only you who gets to the top (assuming you finish the game). They never do. They tried, though, and are willing to try again, but not just now. When you hit those inevitable failures in life, it’s good to sit down by the campfire first.

Brown Dog. The characters in this game are all animals btw (as you’ve seen in the pictures). This dog wanted to remind their nephew to take breaks and drink water as he practices for a big race. Even if it’s the rainy season where I’m at, I still need a reminder to drink a decent amount of water.

Painting Racoon. This one hit me hard. They’re an artist selected by some important guy in the city to show off his paintings at an exhibit (or something like that). As you play the game, you’d see this person trying to get inspiration from different parts of the island to impress the city folk that’s about to see his soon-to-be masterpiece. It’s funny that even if Claire (who is from the city) says that what he’s making is already impressive, the Racoon is so absorbed in their own delusion and ignores the sentiment. After more conversations are made, a realization is made that what makes good art comes from within and not from what they aspire to create for a targeted audience.

Picture Guy. To make the story short, this guy made their way near the summit, but they can’t get to it because the bridge is broken. The game gives you the decision to lend the tools needed to help them get there. Of course, Picture Guy is entirely grateful to you for helping them out, and that’s where it hit me. What if I’m Picture Guy instead of Claire? There are times that we’re really going to need the help of others, and there’s nothing shameful about it. 

Breakfast Kid. This character loves breakfast, and I was reminded of how great breakfasts can be.

Beachstickball Players. Yeah. “Beachstickball.” I love these two kids (well, I assume they’re kids). They made a game called Beachstickball which is basically volleyball-tennis with a beach ball and a stick. Here are the rules:

(1) Hit the ball with the stick.

(2) Don’t let the ball hit the ground.

(3) Believe in yourself.

I already found that last rule cute, but what really got me is when you decide to play with them and fail to hit the ball back, they tell you that you CAN NEVER LOSE in Beachstickball (unless you pop the ball, of course)! It is revealed that Beachstickball is NOT a competitive game, but a co-op game, where both you and the other person try to get the highest points possible. Not everything has to be a contest! Sometimes, working together brings out the best (and possibly the most fun) outcome.

If there’s anything bad I have to say about the game, it would be the fact that it’s a short game (unsurprisingly). But that’s also what makes it great. Good things have their limits, too. 

I’m happy to have written something like this because it shows that playing games mean that I have an infinite source of content. If this does well, I might bring out the other ones I have sitting on my OneNote account. 

Anyways, thanks for reading. This isn’t what I usually write. If you made it here at the end, huge thanks to you!

[Also, it should go without saying that all photos used in this article aren’t mine. Thanks again!]

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