"In a soulless world...its inhabitants spineless. Spoiled by a consumerist culture, and yet...lonely. This gives birth to frustration...which makes one even lonelier. The last friend remaining is...the cuddlytoy. These creatures can't defend themselves. They cannot run away. Insanity...is their only way of escape."
Die Anstalt - Psychiatrie fur misshandelte Kuscheltiere
("The Asylum - Psychiatric Clinic for Abused Cuddlytoys") is a German point-and-click game made in 2003. The player takes on the role of a psychiatrist treating plush toys which have been driven insane due to abuse by their owners. Gameplay consists of selecting a patient to treat and then selecting different treatments from a list on a clipboard. Choosing the right treatments at the right time is essential to win, although there are several that won't do any harm or help.
The game started with only three patients, but has since expanded to five. The current list is as follows:
A hippo with symptoms resembling autism. He never speaks, and spends all his time trying to solve a wooden puzzle.
A rattlesnake with severe ADD and delusions, who sometimes holds extended conversations with his rattle.
A paranoid crocodile with severe aquaphobia.
A chronically depressed sheep who sometimes believes herself to be a wolf.
A hyperactive turtle who spends all his time jumping rope, stopping only to reset his stopwatch.
You can find the web site here.
This game uses the following tropes:
- All There in the Manual: Click "Psychiatric assistance" whenever you get stuck.
- Bedlam House: Completely subverted. The hospital is modern, clean, and fully dedicated to helping patients.
- Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: Every time a patient is cured.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Dolly's wolf form turns out to be nice.
- Dream Sequence: The "Dream Analysis" option.
- Drugs Are Bad: Sly's problems stem from accidentally recieving a severe overdoce of hallucinogens. Not nearly as Anvilicious as you might expect.
- Happy Place; Sly and Dolly experience this in their dream sequences...but it doesn't last.
- Humans Are Bastards: The driving force behind the patients' problems is abuse by their owners, although it's not always intential. Lilo is even reunited with his owner happily when he's cured.
- Merchandise-Driven: The game was made as an advertisement for the toys.
- Never Trust a Trailer: The e-cards you can send out at the reception desk include imagery that isn't seen while treating the patients.
- Nightmare Fuel: Failing to cure a patient can be disturbing, expecially if you accidentally kill one with the electroshock therapy.
- Reset Button: Electroshock therapy reverts patients back to the way they were when they started. Unless you overdo it and kill the patient, of course.
- Shout-Out: References include 2001: A Space Odyssey, Edward Hopper, and Henri Rousseau.
- Tender Tears: Dub, when his abandonment issues come to the surface. He uses up a whole box of tissues.
- Ugly Cute: When was the last time you went "aww" at a hippo with a zipper mouth?
- The Unintelligible: The sock-puppet therapist, and Lilo.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Sadistic players can intentionally make the wrong choices, turning the therapy room into a torture chamber.
- The Voiceless: Lilo, and it's not because his mouth is zipped shut.
- What Do You Mean It's Not For Kids?: Even the path to a successful cure has things little kids shouldn't see, such as condoms and drug abuse.
- The Woobie: All of the patients.