The Plan – Life sucks

It takes exactly six minutes and one second to be astonished.

The Plan ist about a fly doing nothing much except what lies in its nature – flying around and getting attracted by light.

That´s pretty much it.

It only takes a bit over six minutes to tell the entire story.

A rip-off, one could think, were the game not avaiable for free.

Still, a waste of time although the game is hardly any longer than it takes to make a coffee or send an indignant mail to customer support at Krillbite Studio?

No, not at all.

In the simple elevation of a pixeled fly towards the light, The Plan finds a simple yet striking metaphor  for the circle of life, the strive and struggle of things and the ultimate catastrophe – death.

Fighting against sudden blasts of wind, the fly ascends higher and higher, leaving the green humming treetops behind and flying ever higher towards the light until it reaches transcendence.

We take a glimpse into eternity, flying among the stars and still escalating further.

Determined, blissful, the fly approaches the light at last, it being so bright that the fly´s shadow seems so dark and complete, that it might reach all the way down to the earthly ground which we have left so far behind us.

Like old Goethe on his deathbed, our little fly yearns for ever more light!

When at last we see it.

And the catastrophe runs its course.

It takes exactly six minutes and one second to be astonished.

Moirai – Who is guilty?

Usually, our actions in games don´t really matter.

That is, of course they do but only in the very narrow scope of the game logic itself. The game asks us to decide whether to do A or B and we do as told and end up with some consequence. But this consequence also stays within the boundaries of the game world. To put it simple: We kill a NPC and we end up with the consequence – a dead NPC. That´s pretty much it.

Of course, these may have various consequences within the game world, its narration or its plot. It does affect our player character.

But it does not affect us as players.

Obviously, the same does not count for games where there are „real“ people involved, such as multiplayer games. We don´t talk to dead bags of algorithmic meat (=NPCs) then but to real people, although they only transcend the screen as heaps of pixel. And our deeds affect others players. If we kill and loot them, well, we killed and looted someone   – albeit only a digital token of that person.  This may have consequences  – our victim may forgive us or hate us or hunger for revenge. The consequences of our deeds are not scripted, but rather human – yet the scope of the possible reractions still depends on the possibilities of actions the game grants us. But because our reactions towards each other are only determined by the mechanic rules of the game but not by the confinedness of any scripted NPC-morality, new questions arise:

How do notions like guilt and responsibility come into play in games where we interact with other people?

Or: Do they come into play at all?

And most importantly: Are we to judge or evaluate other player´s deeds?

These are exactly the questions, the indie-game Moirai hits us in the face with.

It is not possible to explain the game without giving away its central twist. So I am bound to keep my mouth shut/my fingers from tiping any further.

Just go out. Now. Get it – it is free!

And judge for yourself.

Moirai, Chris Johnson & Brad Barrett & John Oestmann: FREE on Steam

Photocredit by Steam

PLUG & PLAY – Buttplug Or Gamesart?

It is nonsensical. It is way too short for a game. It does not have any serious game play.

And it is just plain weird.

Yet, it somehow makes a lot of sense.

In Plug & Play, we control little plug people. Abstract bodies with a plug instead of a head. Well, some have a plug instead of their head. Others have a socket there. We move these plug/socket people around on an empty screen. Not doing anything meaningful, really. We just find fitting sockets for our plug. Sometimes this means for one plug person to plug in his or her plug (At this point, I really do refuse to acknowledge any gender allegory here!) into another one´s socket. If there is no socket at the head, there is an alternative one available – and now guess where. It´s the butt, alright. Which by the way gives a completely new meaning to the term „butt plug“. It is all over after about five minutes.

Really the only purpose of the game is for the plugs to find their sockets and vice versa.

Naturally, this might as well be extremely meaningful.20170222215958_1Especially when the only dialogue, which takes place in the game consists of a few lines of which one is:20170222215904_1And they do! Touching.20170222215948_1This might or might not be meaningful.

This might be simply a painfully short game with elaborately composed light-dark-imagery, which aims to be aesthetically valuable but is actually about…well…butt plugging.

But it might as well be about the very essence of love, captured in a strikingly simple imagery. Whatever Plug & Play is, trying to find the socket for one´s plug is oddly intuitive. Fun.

And sometimes painful and difficult. Just like love.

Or butt plugging, for that matter.

Plug & Play, Etter Studios 2015: € 2,99  auf Steam

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