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"A Dark Room" App Is Creepily Mysterious, But Wildly Addicting

Prepare for carpal tunnel. You'll be clicking on this for hours.

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A Dark Room

It seems simple enough. Once you download the app for $1.99 on iTunes, the game starts when you tap "light fire" in "a dark room." From there, there are no instructions. You click on the text boxes, while fragmented, ominous sentences and strange commands give you an idea of what you're supposed to do.

Using text (and text only), the app prompts you to create your own world, interrupted by scenes and events solely represented by words. The rest is determined by your own imagination. Created by Michael Townsend and designed by Amirali Rajan, the app mimics his Web version of the game:

Apparently, "A Dark Room" gained popularity overnight. The app was listed in a number of "Best of the Year" lists for 2013 by publications like Forbes and the gaming site Giant Bomb, but it didn't gain user popularity until April of this year, according to an article published by The New Yorker. Despite its slow rise to fame and back-to-basics, text-driven format, "A Dark Room" has a strangely magnetic appeal.

Tapping through its interface, you interact with a "builder." You create a village of hunters, gatherers, tanners and trappers. You explore the forest with weaponry and supplies of meat, killing whatever comes your way.

... Who knew using your thumbs to become an elusive tribe leader with a dark side could be so entertaining?

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