Five sets of seventeen very short and everyday phrases/words are randomly chosen and updated every eight seconds. Presented in an attractive "setting up a VCR" style.

It is not a game, but a thing to look at, or leave running in the background. This site's full-screen mode has been enabled to allow maximum pleasure.

While at first the output would appear to be gibberish, after a while it seems to make some sort of sense. Your brain will find patterns, as it tends to do. I find myself mentally dividing what appears into separate sentences. There are hints of an endless story being told, events both uncanny and banal that are never elaborated upon and described in the vaguest manner possible.

Sometimes the code seemingly does not update all five sets. This is due to the nature of basic computer pseudo-randomness in general. Some more careful coding could eliminate this, but as an amateur programmer it's slightly beyond my ken. My advice is to just roll with it. "It's not a bug, it's a feature."

I have written roughly 3 different versions of this program before this one: a Game Maker version (the early draft of which featured a rotating Morrissey head), a DOS-based version coded in QBasic, and a Sinclair Basic version made for the ZX Sinclair Spectrum computer (the "Z" is pronounced "zed"). Version 4 was made in Construct 2.

With many thanks to Riciery Leal for the font:

UPDATE 28/11/2016: Small Talk has been revised to V4.1. The improvements are minor but pleasing. First, a subtle old TV look has been added. (And subtle is the keyword! No absurd demagnetized VHS effects illogically happening on what's essentially non-videotape output here - unlike certain other games/apps I could mention, as Alan Whicker might have said - but a gentle faux-analogue fuzziness.) Second, there is a slightly annoying but nostalgic BBC Micro-esque boot up sound when it starts.

Thirdly, there is now the Desktop Edition, so you can run it standalone on a PC. Currently it's only available for Windows, but I'm hoping to test and upload a Linux version before Christmas. There is probably no hope in hell of a native Mac version, but never say never.

More information

Published331 days ago
PlatformsWindows, HTML5
Tagsnon-interactive, text-based

Install instructions

To run Small Talk Desktop Edition, unpack the zip file to wherever you keep your games / doodahs and double click nw.exe.


Small Talk Desktop (44 MB)


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apophenia, there is more to you than meets the eye