SDL Asylum

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Young Sigmund has a few problems. To help him resolve his mental instability you must enter the surreal world of his inner mind and shut down the malfunctioning brain cells which are causing him these problems. — Instructions file from original game

SDL Asylum is a C port of the computer game Asylum, which was written by Andy Southgate in 1994 for the Acorn Archimedes and is now public domain. It should be possible to run it on any platform which support SDL and OpenGL graphics. It's developed primarily on Linux but has also been built successfully on Cygwin, FreeBSD, Windows and Haiku.

SDL Asylum is currently licensed under GPL version 3.


Well, you don't really need any instructions to play the game. Just remember, the object is to find things that look like brain cells and shut them down! Good luck! — Instructions file from original game

The game revolves around shooting anything which moves, collecting anything which doesn't move, and, most importantly, finding your way to each of the eight pulsating neurons scattered through the immense map. Use ‘Z’, ‘X’, ‘;’ and ‘.’ to move and ‘Enter’ to fire, or remap the keys to something you like better.

The one game feature which does merit explicit instruction is teleporting. In the first level (“Ego”) the teleporters look like candelabra. To use a teleporter, stand in its centre and press “down” (that's ‘.’ with the default key settings).


The latest official release of SDL Asylum can always be downloaded from Sourceforge here. Debian, Ubuntu and Red Hat also distribute source and binary packages installable on their respective distributions.

Direct downloads for Asylum 0.3.2

Official source tarball source+i386
Debian unstable source binary data
Debian squeeze source binary data
Ubuntu maverick source binary data
Ubuntu lucid source binary data
Ubuntu karmic source binary data

Direct downloads for Asylum 0.2.4

Fedora 11–15 RPM source i386 x86_64 ppc ppc64
Fedora 10 RPM source i386 x86_64 ppc ppc64

Direct downloads for Asylum 0.2.3

Fedora 9 RPM source i386 x86_64 ppc ppc64
Fedora Updates 8 RPM source i386 x86_64 ppc ppc64
Fedora Updates 7 RPM source i386 x86_64 ppc ppc64
Fedora Extras 6 RPM source i386 x86_64 ppc


SDL Asylum wouldn't have happened at all without Andy Southgate, who wrote the original game and later generously made it public domain. Nor without Jeffrey Lee and John Hoare, who got hold of Andy's original assembly source and hosted it on their marvellous Asylum tribute site at

SDL Asylum wouldn't be as good without the ports, packages and patches provided by: Dmitry Marakasov, Ian Chapman, James Woodcock, Peter De Wachter.


SDL Asylum is maintained by Hugh Robinson (contact).