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It dangles overhead, on the speaker-gallows, visible from every house in Pareildas; its image haunts every echoing crackle-screech that issues from the gallows' warped speakers.

But when the speaker-gallows are silent, and the desert wind plays through empty  streets, one can almost fantasize of the comfort of deliverance: 

Of a train meandering along curving tracks; its arrival at Terminus, its gently opening doors- and its steady path, off to a distant ocean...

...but once it ends, it's just a daydream.

How can one take comfort in imagined escape,

when only routine mutes the gallows' shrieks?

"THERE SWINGS A SKULL" is a short story made in RPG Maker 2003 by Conor Walsh and Quinn K., with music by Leaf Let.

Made for the Summer of Shivers 2021 jam, held by Haunted PS1.

The theme chosen was PSA (Public Service Announcement).

Dialogue writing, scripting, sound effects: Conor Walsh, alias BanzaiBonsai
Story set-up, scripting, world design, graphics: Quinn K.
Music: Leaf Let

StatusIn development
Rated 4.9 out of 5 stars
(95 total ratings)
AuthorsQuinn K., BanzaiBonsai
GenreInteractive Fiction
Made withRPG Maker
Tags2D, Horror, LGBT, RPG Maker
Average sessionAbout a half-hour
InputsKeyboard, Xbox controller


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Development log


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this was enormous


I've been having trouble finding the OST and its creator. The name credited hasn't been a lot of help. Perhaps I'm just blind or not looking hard enough, but if anyone could help, that'd be appreciated. I like this music a little too much.


Hi! Thank you for being so interested in the soundtrack! I'm the game's composer- the game's OST will be released alongside the full version, c.f. announcement at the top of this page! There's a lot more music in the full version, so I hope you'll like it just as much!


Hi again! Here's the link to the game's OST as promised now that the extended "full release" version is available !


Thank you very much! I greatly appreciate it.


What happened to Pyotr? :(


You might find out - later this year.



how dramatic :)


I haven't finished playing this game yet, but I found the story very intriguing so far. And I definitely would love to finish playing it! I made a video about it, feel free to check it out!




This was brilliant.


"there is an ocean beyond the waves"

Daughters fan?


Guilty as charged! Finally somebody gets that one >:)


This is beautiful. The depressing/nihilist story, color palette, art style, music, attention to detail and everything, you can feel the passion that was put in this game, this is pure art.


great game

(1 edit) (+5)(-1)

Great game. Even if it was depressing. I loved the inclusion of gay characters, and not just young or stereotypically attractive ones. I also appreciated the unique color palette and pixel style, as well as the sort of dissonant music. it suited the game. Genuinely one of the most harrowing and hopeless feeling apocalyptic stories I've experienced. Looking forward to anything else you make.


such a unique pixel art style, reminds me of 70s era interior lol Nice game!

Full Playthrough No Commentary


is there anything hidden in the desert or is it really just empty?


The game tells you what is in the desert:

It is death.


I really love these apocalyptic horror games where everyone knows that the world is going to end, can anyone recommend me more?


a game i can really recommend is 96


A well-written game with great sprites. I'm looking forward to seeing more.


Short, concise, provocative. Highly recommended!


I gave it a go...

Really? Do you really have to force gay relationships everywhere? Specially between old men? Like really? I was really getting into the game until.... Ugh.


Do you not think gay old men exist? It's their damn game. They can have whatever people they want in it. You don't like it? Buy RPG maker, hire artists, hire voice actors, write a script, storyboard, buy the royalty free music, and make your own game.


So sorry. I spoke with the team and we decided we'll patch out the existing characters and replace them both with Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series. They will still be gay, though.


now you've lost my support, you should remove people altogether and instead add talking animals


Really? Did you really have to make an itchio account to leave a rude comment? Specially about the fact there's an old gay couple in it? Like really? I was really getting into the game's comment section until.... Ugh.


Can't believe my senior at work being gay is forced representation.


what a gross outlook on life, I feel sorry for you


If I were you, I'd be more worried about the angry sun that's killing us all.


How is this forced gay relationship? Your immaturity can be seen from afar, I bet you are one of the typical people who qualify any gay relationship in video games as forced but you are fine with straight relationships where a man and a woman fall in love in less than 10 minutes just to that the protagonist has a partner. So you don't complain right?


r u mad those 2 old men get more action than u :(


Wow so gays can't grow old together


I'll never look at the sun the same way again. You did a great job at building a tense atmosphere that complimented the story very well. Good job!




This was amazing! I love the worldbuilding and the style of the town. This short story will stay with me for a long time, I'm sure.


WOW! This game was really enjoyable, simple and kept me intrigued throughout the whole time. Great job!

(4 edits) (+7)

Took notes while going through this~.
Excellent work here. Great atmosphere, fun little mystery to piece together, good dialogue that borders on surreal and grounded, and the entire game itself feels like it's walking a fine line between grounded and surreal.
I dig the vibe and the unique threat facing the people of this town.

Kinda unnerving how all sources of information presented to you about the sun doesn't ever give you a full picture or any way to ever identify for sure when the sun will strike.


This went from Kafka to the most apocalyptic thing I've experienced in some time in 3 routine days. Very hopeless. But an immensely enjoyable and beautiful world to look at. Great colors and characters!

Amazing job! I'd love more stories in this world!


Short but intense game with a dark and foreboding atmosphere that quickly immerses you into the world and characters. Would highly recommend to those interested in narrative driven gameplay and dark narratives.

It left me wanting more. 


This game is perfect so far, I was pleasantly surprised with how well everything came together. 10/10


All I can say is: wow, didn't expect this master piece of art


Masterpiece, seriously


This game was a delightful and creepy romp, the sprite work is excellent and the characters are immediately appealing and sweet. The color palette is very unique and incredibly effective Absolutely understand what the dev team was going for and have definitely achieved and am incredibly excited to see what the team has in the future.


bretty gud

needs a smooching sound effect for when the middle aged men kiss


I like the way you think pal! B)




This game...wow,just,wow. Absolutely incredible,ive never seen or played anything like this before. Seeing Pyotors sketchbook made me tear up a bit,a sad tale with just the right amount of humor.

10/10,would recommend to everyone

and remember kids,smoking kills



Played it a bit ago and I am in shock at how compelling and scary this game actually is. Amazing work, the art is so well made, the music and sounds are stunning and it's just such a solid experience all around.

Great work!


This looks awesome, I love the style! Are there any content warnings I should be aware of before I play?


At the very start of the game, there is a list of them you can consult- I will list them here for you:

Climate-apocalypse, immolation, dehydration, smoking, hanging.


Alright, thank you so much!


Excuse me how long is it?


About a half-hour- 40 minutes if you're thorough. There's two endings and one secret "end" to find in it.


Okay, thank you. Keep up the good work!!😁👍


Could you give a hint on how to get this secret ending? I haven't seen anything that likely would have triggered a different ending, as far as I know.


There is a way to get into the desert on nights 1-3. From there, your way to the secret "ending" is inevitable- But be warned that you might be disappointed by it.


Had much fun playing this Horror game. It's disturbing but in a cool way.