I played this game a few days ago and its made so much of an impact on me that I’m still thinking about it. It’s such a simple game(if it can be called that, interactive application maybe?) but its impact is quite magnificent and i just have to talk about it.
This game has literally changed my entire perceptions of mechanics and narrative. So much so that i now agree with the, “Narration is mechanic driven” crowd.
So i basically stumbled upon this game by sheer luck, i don’t know how or why but i did and I’m glad i did. I originally misread the title of the game and thought it was ‘Lioness’ not loneliness, but it turned out better this way. So the game is basically, you control a box, and as you move forward in the gamespace other black boxes that are identical to you are moving about and as you get closer they react to you by moving away. Sounds pretty boring right?
Well as i thought the game was ‘Lioness’ i ended up personifying my box as the lion and the other boxes as Gazelle running away. But as the game progressed, my personifications naturally changed until i felt like a kid trying to be accepted. Constantly feeling left out as i neared every group that pulled away. It was so profound that i truely felt rejected, so much so that i began to distance myself from the other boxes avoiding them entirely to avoid some imagined pain. But after a while the groups of boxes began to thin, there wasn’t many of them left and i felt panic. It inevitably came down to one last box sitting there by itself. One last chance to be accepted and to be apart of something. I don’t know what, but i felt drawn to this last box, desperate to be accepted.
After a short quote from the developer on the reasons why he made Loneliness, i was left stunned, sitting there pondering on what the hell i just experienced and why i was feeling the way i was. How could such a bare game effect me so? What was it?
After thinking about it for a while i realized that the mechanic was me, either my imagination, or my personality or some deeper part of my being was being used as the mechanic. How i perceived this gamespace through personification and reacted to the contents within it were entirely based on this mechanic within me, and as a direct result would shape the narrative that is sorely mine to play out. To be specific i know that there will be some who absolutely hate this game and stop playing it halfway through, there will be others who handle rejection different to me, either refusing to get anywhere near to the other boxes or will desperately scramble to be accepted at every turn. Maybe some people won’t care at all with being rejected happily content with their own life, and others might care so much to attempt to change themselves to be one of the crowd. Ultimately everyone who plays this game will have their own story to tell, each one different from the rest even if only slightly.
All in all this game is an amazing piece and i highly recommend any game developer to try it out.