Title/Date: Hydra: An Absurdist Horror Inspired by Centrelink (2022)

Author(s): Sophie Reid-Singer

Place of Publication: clunkk.in

Format: Single-player videogame.

Downloadable Via: https://clunkk.itch.io/hydra

Backup Mac: link.

Backup Windows: link.


Hydra: An Absurdist Horror Inspired by Centrelink (2022) is a single-player puzzle-platformer for Windows and Mac. The player is cast in this dark-comedy as Mr Goo-B, a cyborg outfitted with a lazer in his chest who occupies The Maggot, a space-ship which orbits Hydra–the smallest and most deformed moon of Pluto. Tasked with uncovering Mr Goo-B’s ordered daily routine by interacting with eight items in his environment, the plot of this dark-comedy is revealed through Journal articles which are unlocked by completing a ‘perfect run’ of the game-cycle. A call-back to the aesthetics of 1990s hacker culture and science-fiction, gameplay parodies the ‘speed-run’ to gesture allegorically to how disability is codified within the Social Security Act 1991 via skill assessments of physical prowess and intelligence.

Statement Included in-game:

In 2006 the United Nation’s adopted the Convention on Rights of People with Disabilities. Coincidentally, this was the same year that the International Astronomical Union reclassified Pluto from planet to a sub-class titled dwarf planets. As is also true of Pluto’s dramatic figuration as Hades (lord of the underworld), the dwarf rests at the border between human and nonhuman—abled and disabled.

I am a disabled person living in Australia and I profoundly object to the definition of ‘Permanent Disability’ codified by the Social Security Act 1991.

Having a diagnosis is not enough.

Everytime I ask for help I must by law prove I am ‘severely disabled’ by undergoing a one-size-fits-all capacity assessment of physical prowess and intelligence which might grant me access to the supports I need to access society.

Due to the careful wording of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, I cannot complain about this.
Centrelink is just one of the many heads of the Hydra that disabled people must routinely battle. This present system does not stop people exploiting welfare it just punishes disabled people for trying to live happily.

The Hydra in my story is not the monster from Greek mythology but the smallest and most deformed moon of Pluto.

I am never allowed to advocate for myself without an accompanying doctors note, so I made this videogame instead.


You are cast in this drama as Mr. Goo-b, a cyborg who lives aboard the spaceship The Maggot.

Left right: directional
Up: jump while Goo

Down: jump while Goo-b

Weapons: accessible after transitioning to cyborg by leaving your bedroom.

Don’t be surprised if you get frustrated or confused that’s how the system is designed..

The goal:
Enter Zoom mode.

To enter zoom mode you must fuel the engine to maximum capacity by feeding Mighty Muncher.

A hidden message and the grade of Special+ is awaded to players who can complete a perfect run in under 3:00.

To perform a perfect run:

Eight conditions must be met by interacting with The Maggot’s workforce.

There is an order they can be performed, as interactions have positive and negative relationships.

There are clues found on Mr Goo-b’s PC under Videogame.

Here is one final clue:
Slop is the main course, and Hero is for dessert (but not best saved till last).

Good Luck!

Findings so far:

Four people have play-tested my videogame so far. Only one solved it. I had anticipated the puzzle would only take 10-20 minutes but I was incorrect in my estimation. The one who solved it played in small amounts over three nights and used a pencil and paper to figure out the solution. From these playtests I have expanded on the user-experience I described in my exegesis and hopefully my puzzle is still challenging, but I have added more ques and hints to aid the player.

The real challenge will come when you attempt your perfect run.

The solution is below but I encourage you to attempt yourself first. In this video I make a few errors, and definitely moseby along, so I assure you that you will be able to achieve the necessary time (under 3:00) to unlock the final Journal article containing my hidden message if you give it a proper go.

Current World Record:

The current world record for running Hydra is 2:22, awarded to @hugh.j4sshole.

(This is a machinima I have produced, I recorded my reactions first then filmed the gameplay)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s