The Great Machine

aka: The Great Machine: A Fragment
Moby ID: 33846
Windows Specs


The Great Machine is an allegory for thousands of years of cyclical human history (lessons unlearned, doomed to be repeated) embroiled in continuous military warfare and conflict wherever there are people; the cruel teeth of its gears oiled with the blood of young idealists and its furnaces fueled with the defiled bodies of innocent non-combatants. The function of the machine is nothing beyond self-perpetuation of its own antisocial operation. For some reason warfare is a popular theme for games -- likely on account of a sanitized presentation, playing up the glamorous aspect of saving villages by destroying them. This game does not pull these punches.

The player directs the irrelevant choices of a little man caught in the crossfire, compelled by circumstances to serve a tour of duty in his nation's military service and attempt to kill other men such as himself based on orders from his supervising officers, who must have good, albeit undisclosed, reasons for issuing such instructions. The protagonist is assigned the black operation of the assassination of a charismatic cult leader, "Los", whose group's non-aligned activities are undermining the efficiency of his unit's operations in the area.

With some ambivalence, but eager to remain on the right end of the gun, the player heads out into the bleak brutality of a tormented world gone mad, its piebald absurdity underscored by ongoing nightmares and hallucinations either the result of supernatural forces or incipient shell-shock-induced dementia.

Author Jonas Kyratzes takes a departure here from the Myst-style 1st-person graphical adventure genre informing his other works of philosophical gaming activism, instead presenting the effects (and the futility) of human agency in the face of the insanity of the trenches through an all-text multiple-choice Choose-Your-Own-Adventure idiom, yielding reams of moody reading -- occasionally breaking from prose into free verse to indicate the stark effects of sudden physical (and gradual mental and emotional) trauma -- between player input opportunities.

Like Mercy before it, the gameplay here is entirely secondary to the story being told; the author is presenting a morality play about authority and how, as Mao said, all political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The player is not an author of this story, merely a player on its stage, endlessly going through the meaningless motions, between elusive sparks of genuine hope, of an existential nightmare from which one can't escape -- Orwell's "boot, stamping on a human face forever."

Groups +


Credits (DOS version)

Written by
Designed by
Developed using Adventure Book by



Average score: 3.4 out of 5 (based on 4 ratings with 0 reviews)

Be the first to review this game!


MobyPro Early Access

Upgrade to MobyPro to view research rankings!

Related Games

The Gene Machine
Released 1996 on DOS
The Political Machine
Released 2004 on Windows
The Game Machine
Released 1978 on Dedicated console, 1980 on Dedicated handheld
Machine Knight
Released 2013 on iPhone, Android, 2018 on Nintendo 3DS
The Great Gatsby
Released 2010 on Windows
Great Escape
Released 1983 on Atari 2600
A Merry Christmas Slots Machine
Released 2014 on iPad, iPhone
Airport Madness: Time Machine
Released 2013 on iPhone, Windows, Macintosh...
The Arcade Machine
Released 1982 on Apple II, 1983 on Atari 8-bit

Related Sites +

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 33846
  • [ Please login / register to view all identifiers ]


Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Pseudo_Intellectual.

Additional contributors: formercontrib.

Game added May 2, 2008. Last modified February 22, 2023.