adore this game and have recommended it to many of my friends!! such a cute style, i love the gameplay and the story made me CRY! love this game 10/10
Secret Little Haven
A downloadable game for Windows, macOS, and Linux
Secret Little Haven is a game about old computers, community, creativity, fandom, gender, and the internet. Alex Cole is a teenage trans girl in 1999 who has yet to figure herself out. She spends much of her free time on the internet, browsing a fan forum for her favorite magical girl show, and chatting with her friends.
Join her on her story of self-discovery through friendship and media as she explores her computer for the treasures and curiosities of the early internet.
Play with SanctuaryOS, an entire operating system developed in Unity, with nearly a dozen applications such as a Web Browser, Chat Client, Doll Maker, and Text Editor, as well as an entire web forum for you to search through.
Explore the internet. Explore yourself. Find haven in your life's small comforts.
[CONTENT WARNINGS: Parental conflict, gaslighting, flashing visuals]
|Platforms||Windows, macOS, Linux|
|Tags||90s, computer, Cute, Female Protagonist, LGBT, mac-os-9, Transgender, vaporwave, Yuri|
|Average session||About an hour|
|Mentions||itch.io Recommends: Jokes, Technology, a...|
In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $5 USD. You will get access to the following files:
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this game is so beautiful!! i'm not a trans person exactly, but this game really helped me understand some of the things trans people go through on the daily.. how WRONG it feels when the wrong pronouns are used, etc.
that being said, it was unexpectedly relatable. The way everyone talks is just so REAL. i was so immersed playing as alex.
thank you for making such a wonderful, pretty, cute game that helps me understand a lot of my trans loved ones and even myself just a bit more. <3
...not to mention early internet is so fascinating to me and i LOVED being able to interact with this world. <3
10/10 Far too relatable and real
I love this game so much! Is there any chance i can get my hands on the raw images/sprites/whatever for the icons and mouse cursor? I wanna try using them on my PC :P
My antivirus hates this game for some reason? It just deletes the .exe files and says it found an IDP.generic malware every time I try to play it. Also it doesn't let me move the .exe file away from the downloads folder. So sad bc I was really looking forward to playing this game for pride month!! Will definitely come back to it in a while to see if my laptop has stopped acting up by then lol
sorry for the trouble with the game! What antivirus is quarantining it, and are you able to play it if the AV is temporarily disabled?
This is a really comfy, and yet really terrifying game. I love it.
I played this like a year ago and forgot to comment, but I loved it so much. The aesthetics, the theme, the execution, just great <3
As a trans girl named Alyxandra and growing up in the 90s, this got kinda personal for me. I loved it. Very emotional, stressful at times. I cried a few times. Love seeing trans representation in games and this one did a great job of it. <3
I really liked everything about this!
Love the aesthetics, love the music, love the nostalgic Web 1.0 feels, and love the writing with all the characters and community feeling! I've needed to take a short break each time a chat notification for the dad poped up... The material gets stressful (especially for things I relate to), but in the end it's all uplifting. Thanks for making the game!
This game was exactly what I needed in my life right now. Thanks.
The colors and music and dialogue were so perfect! I Played this game in about four sessions and I loved every minute of it. It was a little difficult reading most of John's dialogue, but I like the effect. This game clearly had a lot of care and thought put into it and I can't wait to see what else this creator releases! /\._./\
Lovely game, it was a pleasure playing it.
Love the LGBT+ representation in games.
You know I played this game like a few months before I came out as trans, and I think this is what finally broke my egg in. Thank you so much.
Hi I played this fantastic game but I have one problem; HOW THE FUCK DO YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT HAPPEND TO ME. This game litrally happend to me irl like my dad locked me out of my pc he faslite me this whole story actually happend to me I figured out I was trans while apart of a community for a tv show like really. Thank you so much for making this thank you
made me cry a few times :')
very wonderful. had a bit of trouble with the console bits but felt very powerful when I figured them out
A very nice game with a great storytelling!
I was a bit stuck with those "hacking" stuff but find out eventually.
It was actually very accurate view inside "fan" community, and on the topic of finding self....
Also there is a quite big ammount of written text in forum which i liked very much.
I desperately want to play more of this game but I am unable to reset it, every time i reinstall it starts me on thursday and I am unable to go back and do something else I want to do on my first playthrough, I need to start on wednesday
Sorry to hear the reset isn't working D:
Are you playing on Windows? Try deleting:
Copypasting my review here. It contains some minor spoilers, but nothing specific:
WOW this was so fucking good!!
I played this during a hospital stay, having nothing else to do, and not expecting very much. But instead I got something I really needed, and something that was very engaging and beautiful. I loved the characters, I loved the vibe and aesthetic, I loved the dialogue. The music was nice too. Most importantly I felt like it really taught me some stuff. I've been kind of stuck in real life - I've felt it. I've had the same thoughts as Alex. I've felt like I have to solve it all right now, that I'm too lost in life, in my identity, my gender, my education and my future. One of the central messages, "it's complicated, but you'll figure it out", really resonated with me. And the discussions about gender.... really cleared stuff up for me. It's almost like it was meant for me (but I guess it's just made for a certain audience).
I was gonna write something about the family stuff, but it got a bit too personal. Anyway, I think it was done well. Sometimes, talking it out is really what's needed. It can be difficult, it's not guaranteed to work and it wont fix everything but sometimes it can finally start to make things better.
I really like the character progression and the conflict resolution... it gets realistically messy but the characters learn from their mistakes, grow and resolve things. It's a very good... something. I guess a good lesson? Both for yourself and for understanding how other people think/feel. And also for how to deal with people who have a lot of problems, how to comfort friends who have a lot on their plate.
I feel like the game in general made me more understanding and accepting, and that's a really cool thing for a game to do. And taught me some emotional intelligence!
Anyway,,, it's super fucking good, I'd recommend playing it if you're even remotely interested, especially if you're trans/questioning. Also if you're feeling a bit lost in life. Thanks for this experience! <3
ps. (some parts might be a bit messy, I don't write reviews very often)
This is hands-down the BEST indie game I have EVER played. I am so glad I tried it. I was hesitant because... I had some internalized transphobia and was convinced I could never understand transgenderism. But this game actually put me into the shoes of a young trans girl who is discovering herself and struggling in an abusive household. I honestly got triggered at some point when the gaslighting started, as I did not see it coming at all and certainly did not expect it to happen like that. And honestly I thought about stopping the game because I was getting so triggered, but... I didn't want to give up. And I am so glad I stuck with it and helped Alex through her dilemma. And... I think she helped me, too. I am now inspired to confront my own parents about how they gaslit me as a child. Wish me luck, y'all. And FFS pls download this game. It's amazing. 1,000,000/10.
I was the same age as Alex in 1999. I could go on and on about how much I feel seen and represented by this game, but I'd be saying things that have already been said better by other commenters. This is such an uncynical labor of love, and it's impossible to play without feeling that love. I ended up sitting up all night with this beautiful little story.
On the technical side, I couldn't click the button to summon the SanctuaryOS menu on Friday, which had me stuck knowing the password but being unable to log out. I also couldn't drag or close windows during that session. I tried clicking and holding on the settings sidebar button in the lower-left corner, and it eventually appeared. I toggled off flash FX and CRT FX, and all the widgets started working perfectly again.
"...I want to be a girl, Alex. I want to be a girl so fucking bad."
Heck, this line hit me so hard brought up a tear to my eye
Finally getting around to playing this game after setting it aside untill I felt more able to handle the topics it covers. While I never had experience in this era of chatrooms and forums on the internet a lot of what Alexandra has gone through in her journey is very similar to my own journey with my gender identity. I had to really pace myself as I progressed as some themes hit really close to home and I accidentally may have opened up some repressed memories and ended up just sitting with the game on for an hour and a half trying to collect my thoughts before playing more.
Overall great game, I was able to really relate to Alexandra and that mad the experience really memorable and I found it unearthing feelings I haven't really gotten from most media (though I normally avoid games like this as I worry I cant handle them)
I have to recommend this to my other trans friends immediately
(I really hope Alexandra's dad comes around eventually.)
I played this WAYYYY to late, but from everything I heard it definitely met expectations and beyond. I hope in one form or another see Alex again. <3
I really loved what I got to play of this - it certainly reminded me of growing up in ye olde Web 1.0 years - but I'm having the same issues others have reported with clicking things just not working sometimes. Ultimately, the "log out" button wouldn't work for me, so I was unable to save my progress to continue the game later. :(
AMAZING writing... omg. wish i played this sooner. thank you for making it! (really loved the ending sequence too aaaaa)
This game is so good. There is love injected into everything you can interact with. I spent a good thirty minutes writing more of Alex's fanfiction for fun.
Really compelling characters, excellent writing, and the ending made me tear up... she will figure it out <3
I cried. This was ART. I had online friends just like each of the ones you talk to in the game, and the game absolutely nails the social qualia of the time.
Yeah, I remember the late-90s and early-00s internet. I miss it. And if only I had allowed myself to indulge my true curiosities and passions back then... well -- I just might have figured things out a bit earlier than 32.
And hopefully, her dad will eventually come around, just like mine did.
Godspeed, Alexandra. <3
I do not know if, objectively, this is a good game. If I am being completely honest there were sections of this game I could not truthfully call fun. That said, it is probably my favourite game I have played, certainly my favourite visual novel. The parts I did not enjoy were unenjoyable to me because of how real they felt. There is a lot of genuine emotion on display here and, seriously, I do think it makes this game one of the most pieces of interactive art I've ever dealt with. It might not be for you, but it is most definitely for me and the price is cheap enough that, even if it doesn't speak to you, you'll still probably find something in there to get your moneys worth.
This review made me play it, lol. I agree, this game struck a genuine chord with me (it's crazy how it had the convolution of a hobbyist navigating the internet, lol).
I'll start off my comment by saying that this game is awesome. I loved it. I already played through it once but I want to replay it. My issue is that I played it on Windows the first time and it ran well but I switched over to Linux (specifically Manjaro) and now I can't even launch the game. I have all 3 versions of the game downloaded but the Linux version doesn't let me launch it. It tells me I don't have a program for executing files. I wanted to know if someone could help me out with this here since I can't find any help from the internet.
Some Linux users need to set permissions on the file to let it execute - try running this on the file in the terminal:
chmod +x "Secret Little Haven.x86"
You can then launch that with:
./"Secret Little Haven.x86"
Then you should be able to launch it - sorry for the inconvenience!
I very much like this game :) I'm pretty astonished as to how close this felt like browsing on an actual computer, fantastic work on emulating that!
This was an incredible little game, I loved it a lot. I was especially enamored by the way it depicted the charming sincerity of early internet culture in a way that stayed wholesome and earnest. This quality is weaved beautifully throughout the story, its themes, its characters, and even the UI design itself.
It made me think a lot about internet culture today, and how as we've shifted away from these cute, intimate communities and towards more centralized, corporate spaces, there has been a simultaneous push to drench any genuine feeling in a heavy veil of irony whenever expressed online. This kinda worries me sometimes, I wonder if today's generation of kiddos on the web will be worse off for being immersed in a culture that's so cynical.
But then again, early internet culture certainly had its uglier parts, and there are sweet little havens on today's internet, too - largely exemplified by your beautiful work. It really helped me out a lot and I can't thank you enough!
As someone who only made it through life with their abusive grandparents (lived with them) by having the internet be their coping mechanism and support system, I heavily relate to this, especially the roleplaying parts.
If it wasn't for a roleplaying forum where I met two of my best friends (who I have gotten to meet irl a few times now!), I'm not sure I ever would have gotten up the courage to leave. But knowing that even if I moved to my Dad's to get away, to escape- that I'd still have my online support system to give me, well, support, made it at all possible.
If I had never met these "strangers" online, I... don't know what I'd have done.
But now I am out, and I know myself so much better! and I am happier than I ever could have been! So please, anyone out there suffering, know that it CAN get better. You are not alone.
Hi! I'm enjoying the game, but I do not understand how the "Is" command works? Can you please explain it? Every time I try it tells me the folder path or application "isn't in this user's directory"??? Pls help
Hmm I want to give hints, but I don't want to post hints/spoilers where someone might accidentally scroll past them. I struggled with it for a bit too but enjoyed the struggle.
OK here's an idea! I've made up a google doc with a series of hints UHS style. Hopefully my waffling hints are actually helpful: https://docs.google.com/document/d/12LkFo2WPNjUCl0PmsOPkumwHDefRFUo-EtwflD6Z6e4/...
This game was absolutely, positively amazing. I'm in awe and in love. I don't think I'll ever be able to forget this game. Wow.
this was incredible. i didn't know i needed this.
this game actually helped me realize that i have been in a similar relationship to one of my parents to alex.
i'm too young to have known the internet when it was still like this, but i still enjoyed this.
It’s funny and sad and joyful and heartbreaking and probably something every parent should play through.