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Turn Notepad into an RPG with the clever, free And Yet It Hurt

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(Image credit: Sheepolution)

Yes, that Notepad. The one that comes with Windows, and that a million readme files are written in. Now you can use it to play an RPG—it's kinda astonishing.

Backing up a little, And yet it hurt (opens in new tab) is a thoroughly traditional fantasy game where you have to a) slay a dragon, and where b) your family is killed just a short way in. You, a heroic whelp, have to train and outfit yourself to destroy the dragon. And you do this, naturally, by futzing about with .txt files.

Taking place inside a custom version of Notepad, you interact with And yet it hurt by dragging scene files into the program, and by editing parameters once you've arrived at each location. To pick a dialogue option, for example, you type any character inside a check box. Then, to confirm it, you hit Ctrl+S to advance the game. That's, er, every time you basically do anything. Ctrl+S. Ctrl+S. Ctrl+S. It's bloody unwieldy. Ultimately, from what I've played, the game is worth it.

There's a lot here to like (the ASCII art, the refreshingly earnest writing), and some clever solutions to the extremely unusual format. Combat, for example. Yep, there's turn-based (and also timing-based combat), where you have to delete characters, and type them in, against the clock. There's a lot of smart thinking behind this, I guess, text adventure. If you're intrigued, you can download And yet it hurt from itch.io (opens in new tab). (Thanks, Warp Door (opens in new tab).)

For more great free experiences, check out our roundup of the best free PC games.

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.