Nula: Butterflies Rise is a decision-making game that explores the experience of living with anxiety.
Inspired by puzzle adventure games of the early 90s like Myst, the surreal comedy of Flann O'Brien, and the author's experience of living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Nula creates an immersive textual experience, an insight into the daily struggle anxiety can be.
Dear Son, I Cannot Seem to Change My Background
from a Photograph of Neil Morrissey's Head
I am, as ever, sorry to bother you at university. But I cannot seem to change my background from a photograph of Neil Morrissey’s head. I would ask your father — great as he is with technology — but he has many commitments, and never seems to find the time to leave the workshop. He’s building a motorcycle, did you know?
I hope you have resolved the issue with your roommate. It was cruel of them to force-feed you all of Gareth's raita. Mr. Pollitt was around again today, without his wife. I like her, theoretically — she runs a charity for abandoned farm animals you know — though of course we shall never meet. She is a rather impressive woman, not brilliant, I grant you, but certainly unusually good. Your father says she is too intellectual for Mr. Pollitt, but I think he might be jealous. Mr. Pollitt seems perfectly nice to me. Besides, I never thought I should see male fingernails without motor oil beneath them.
I know you are a busybody, and emails tend to plummet down lists of priorities, but I would appreciate it if you could reply with a method for changing my background from a picture of Neil Morrissey’s head.
When you return over the winter holidays, we should go fishing in the creek. Your father went on a trip to the store to buy a new ratchet or a lathe or something, but he insisted I go as reconnaissance so we don’t waste time in dead waters this Christmas. Mr. Pollitt had to unhook the difficult clasps on my jumpsuit when I fell into a rockpool — can you believe that? I was mightily embarrassed, but fortunately, there was nobody around to see. You would like it there. It is nothing like those billiards places your father frequents, with the sad men and the one who dislocates his shoulderblade; no, it is exceptionally natural. We ate watermelon and Serrano ham, and Mr. Pollitt brought some Chianti in a flask. He asked about you and how big you have become.
The musculature of the bream we caught... It was unlike any fish I have seen. It had this iridescent skin, plump lips, bulbous, pleading eyes which glazed as it struggled to draw breath. It looked at me as if to say, we are one, you and I, the same flesh, a hybrid slush, the same fight, the same impetus. Hold me, control me, release me. Impart me with freedom. Then Mr. Pollitt returned it to the water, the great brute, and it darted away, filled with vigour and a new sense of life.
As it swam, I tried to take a picture of it to send over to you, but the settings on my phone are a labyrinth, and I noticed that my background was a photograph of Neil Morrissey’s head. I don’t know how to change it. Please could you give me a call to help me out?
I think your father is close to completing his motorcycle. He tells me it will be very impressive once the finishing touches are in place. It has two mirrors and a leather seat.
Let me know about the Neil Morrissey thing.
Your loving mother