Mackerelmedia Fish is an odd, fun, retroweb adventure

(Image credit: Nathalie Lawhead)

Bet you didn't expect to be reading about a game named after deprecated multimedia platform Macromedia Flash in 2020.

Mackerelmedia Fish is the latest creation of indie designer Nathalie Lawhead, in which you play an internet archaeologist exploring a crumbledown website as it falls to bits around you. There are minigames tucked away within it, and a big fish to find, as well as a rat who eat bits of old webcode and some inventive Error 404 dead ends. It's a bit like Frog Fractions and a bit like Hypnospace Outlaw, and Lawhead calls it "something between an ARG, graphic novel, and text adventure." 

It is definitely a text adventure, because I was eaten by a grue.

I've had Mackerelmedia Fish open in another tab while I work so I can duck in at my leisure, discovering things like a downloadable "electric love potato" desktop buddy and trying not to fall into the dark. It's a cheerful window back into a time before social media when there were a lot more colorful, amateurish personal websites and everything felt much friendlier online.

You can play Mackerelmedia Fish here. Lawhead is also responsible for Everything is Going to Be OK, and contributed to the PC Gamer Indie zine

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.