The new game from the maker of El Paso, Elsewhere is about a man in a chair in the corner of a dark hotel room, and yes, he wants to watch

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Strange Scaffold, the studio behind weird-but-good games including An Airport for Aliens Currently Run by Dogs, El Paso Elsewhere, I Am Your Beast, and Life Eater has announced its latest weird (but hopefully good) game: Clickolding, "a dark incremental narrative game about thumbing a tally counter to satisfy the distressing masked man sitting in the corner of your hotel room."

Clickolding is being developed in partnership with Outersloth, a funding program for indie developers announced earlier this year by Innersloth, which apparently made so much money on Among Us that now it's just throwing it around at whoever needs some.

"They pitched such an unhinged and unsettling story it made an entire room erupt and somehow that ended up with them getting funding," the Outersloth website says.

It's not entirely clear what that story is. There's a guy in a chair in a corner of a dark hotel room and he wants to watch, but he's not interested in the usual, uh, show: Instead, he wants to see you click one of those handheld counter things, repeatedly. The Steam listing implies you can leave if you want to, but "you don't get the money" if you do, and I can't help but notice that the man in the chair is packing a rod—a gun, I mean, an actual firearm—which I can only assume is there to encourage you to keep up the performance.

That's not much to go on, and the features list does not help in the clarity department: Clickolding includes a "lovingly detailed 3D tally counter," weird jazz, a locked bathroom door, and "a surreal encounter with the Original Clickold in a land beyond space and thought."

(Image credit: Xalavier Nelson Jr (Twitter))

Yeah, I have no idea what to make of that, but I'm intrigued because Strange Scaffold has such a solid record. We called the Max Payne-esque El Paso, Elsewhere "one of the boldest, freshest games of the year" in 2023 (and also it's being made into a movie), while the more recent "horror fantasy kidnapping simulator" Life Eater left senior editor Chris Livingston not at all haunted by the unspeakable acts he committed in order to save the world. I Am Your Beast, a "covert revenge thriller FPS" revealed at the 2024 PC Gaming Show, won't be out until August but it looks pretty cool: It's a bit like a first-person Hotline Miami with a XIII-inspired visual vibe.

"We exist in a time where it’s hard for a game to be allowed to exist if it doesn’t fit into a clear genre or audience demographic," Strange Scaffold studio head (and former PC Gamer contributor) Xalavier Nelson Jr. said. "With the support of Outersloth, and a track record for delivering games that don’t take the easy joke but instead use any topic as an opportunity to deliver a deeper experience, I want to make another project that challenges this environment. Another project that says videogames should still step into new, uncomfortable, and undeniably compelling spaces."

So, to the obvious question: Is Clickolding a weird sex game? 

"It’s a not-sexy game that looks like it’s about sex," Nelson told PC Gamer. "It’s a not-horror game that looks like horror. Typically, this would be treated as a death sentence for a game. It doesn’t fit into a clean genre. It doesn’t fall into a Steam tag. But, we at Strange Scaffold feels like those are the types of leaps developers have to be able to take for games to be art, and provide players with experiences we could never have otherwise.

"So, no, it’s not a sex game. But it will make you feel strange and uncomfortable in ways we think games have to be allowed to do if they’re going to be an artistic medium and not just a delivery device for something that’s sold before. And because those games usually don’t get funded, it doesn’t happen."

In this case, though, it is happening. Clickolding is set to launch on Steam on July 16.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.