Read the game: inside.
Over the years, we’ve told ourselves some of the best, the craziest, the most touching or revealing stories that come not from books, movies or television, but from video games. So we’re running a casual series, reading games, and we’re looking at these games from a literary point of view.
I started the race in a dark forest from the dog’s run. I ended it as a complete thing, lying on the beach, the dawn sun just beginning to rise. Between the two, a story takes place – unsettling and moving, deep, very strange. Robots and sea monsters, zombies and scientists, wars (maybe), maybe even the end of the world.
No word has been uttered.
Inside is an experiment. The developer (Playdead also makes “Limbo”, in many ways similar to Inside) gives it the original video game form – jigsaw puzzle platform. You run, you jump, you push, pull them. There is an internal design language, which is the common language of video game world – if you know anything, you can know it with your fingertips.
But for it (around it, above and below it), they add a scary (read: wonderful) story of death and darkness and the story of science.
You, like me, came in the darkness and the panic. You’re a little boy, down the hill. A boy in a red jacket, no superpower. No guns. No bombs. The unknown. A boy who can only run, jump and swim. A boy.
There is no tutorial, no pop-up window explaining what to do or what a boy can do. You either know it’s in your bones, the physical language of the button, or you don’t know. But one thing is clear: something bad has happened, and you (like this perfectly normal boy) have to run. Now.
Speechless. There is hardly any sound, but in the sand and gravel sneaker of austerity, scraping the door. Gasping for air. In the forest, if not fast enough, people with guns and masks will catch you and kill you. A dog will tear you to pieces. You’ll walk through the forest, hide under the searchlights, then pass the abandoned highway next to the barricade, slide down the bank and splash into the terrible gray puddle. That’s when you start to see all the dead pigs.
The story is full of visual effects – dusty factories, full of lab space, brainwashed zombies walking, shuffling, hopping and orderly city images. This is the perfect animation of the boy, sprinting and stealth; The design made almost all of his escapes as if you were trying to look at their teeth with your fingers, because the chin was pattering over the top of the chain fence behind his feet.
Your love for the boy (you’ll fall in love with that boy) is a protective one. If you are like me, you will hesitate at the edge of what you think is dangerous. This could kill him (a tight set of checkpoint reboots is one of the few internal pitchings). You will wander at the edge of the water, knowing what is in the deep and waiting for your weakest point. You can hear a dog’s voice or a huge, earth-shaking explosion, and you’ll squatting behind the wall, not daring to push forward.
You run because running is what you do best. The story told itself without words. In any case, it gives you the world to tell your story.
However, you will be a match because it is the only real choice. And because progress is the story. Where the answer is. Just like a movie circle, every forward scene is increased internal tells the story of silence – pigs in the farm are some make them crazy parasite infection. Why is that? How’s that？ Why does everyone you see try to catch you, stop you, kill you, or die? Or a mindless thing, controlled by invisible forces, rushing forward into the waiting cage and truck? Where are they going?
Only forward. Always forward, away from you, faster than you can travel. So you follow because you have to. Through the office, it has recently sprung up (ash still rolls up from the ashtray, rickety by the door) or old underground passageways.
You run because running is what you do best. The story told itself without words. In any case, it gives you the world to tell your story. You never know the boy’s name. You never know what’s going on. You will never know the cause of anything, but the possibility of it on your head will be vast, sad and quiet, full of monsters.
Finally, I promise you won’t see a turn. It is more frightening to have an in-depth understanding of strange things and to make every problem more frightening. Who the hell are you? What did you do?
In an unexplainable world, you are just a boy. You run, because there is no other choice. It only tells the story you’re running to.
What happens after that is up to you.
Jason Sheehan knows about food, video games, books and Starblazers. He is currently a restaurant critic for the Philadelphia magazine, but when no one is looking, he spends time writing books about giant robots and radiation guns. “The story of the age of radiation” is his latest work.