Electron Dance
4Apr/178

Dabbling with… Everything

The sixth episode of a short series on games I discovered at EGX Rezzed 2017.

everything-ft

Mountain (David OReilly, 2014) was a game about a mountain. It wasn’t about you, it was about a mountain. OReilly’s followup is this year’s Everything, which is a game about everything. It isn’t about you, it’s about everything.

Everything was on show at the Leftfield Collection as well as the Rock Paper Shotgun zone. I dabbled with it at Leftfield. I didn’t know what Everything was and I still don’t.

Someone had already started the game so after picking it up the first thing I did was look for a reset game option. Couldn’t find it, so no tutorial and I had to figure out what was going on for myself. I was partially successful. The game had been abandoned in space and I assumed I was blessed with an omniscient first-person view. Wrong, actually I was one of the objects on the screen - all of which looked kind of alike - and the view was third-person.

In time I figured out how to “ascend” to superstructure and “descend” to substructure until, eventually, I reached an ice continent where I could become trees and a hut.

everything_rezzed

I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do but Everything told me how many things I had become, with percentages for each category. Well done, keep going across the universe.

Everything also asked me join two different things and dance, but I never got that to work. I stopped playing eventually, still unsure what I was meant to find engaging, and left the game. And that’s pretty much Everything I can tell you.

Everything is available on PS4 and Steam.

Interested in other games I've dabbled with? Check out the series index!

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Comments (8) Trackbacks (0)
  1. I’m not convinced there’s much of a game here – looks rather more like a toy. Which is fine, but perhaps not for me. That said I loved the lengthy trailer video with the narration from Alan Watts. Once I learned that the game plays out with narration from Watts, and that wasn’t just something used in the trailer, I became a lot more interested. I probably will buy a copy at some point (not right now though, life rather demanding at present).

  2. FUCK YOU SHAUN IT IS A GAME. MOUNTAIN WAS A GAME. IT WAS BRILLIANT AND BEAUTIFUL AND IF WE DIDNT THINK SO THEN THE FAULT IS WITH US FOR BEING TOO STUPID TO UNDERSTAND IT

  3. I think I needed a little more handholding than I got plus I couldn’t hear a damn. I understand a big part of it is listening to Alan Watts.

    I read about Mountain and realised it probably wasn’t for me. I didn’t have any preconceived opinions about Everything although I guess the name kinda bugged me in terms of a particular implication that it was the only game about everything.

    So dunno, I guess.

  4. @Richard – oh dear, is it just that I am a terrible person or is this referential faux-rage?

    @Joel – what interests me most about Everything is its theme of interconnectedness, of nested systems, of how vital the micro is to the macro and vice versa. If that is actually mechanically conveyed too, that’s wonderful. I just worry that like so many procedural or high-concept games it is all bark, no bite.

    Either way, it’ll have my money, and I have the vague feeling that it is going to do all right for itself and its creator. :)

  5. @shaun I like to think that my comment, which has kept you guessing, has made you laugh AND made you think.

    Most of my reaction to Mountain comes from the fact that I found it HILARIOUS. If one deliberately set out to make a meaningless game that would bait games criticism into overwordsmithed spasms of falling all over oneself to find the profundity in it, Mountain would be that game. It proclaims the mountain to be God at the beginning, for fuck’s sake. It includes a musical keyboard for no reason. It throws random crap at the mountain. IT CALLS ITSELF A GAME. I cracked up the first time I played, and I’m so amused by it still: It’s a troll piece of an art game, a wonderful thing. A tiny little toy.

    And of course, the criticism of it talked about the deep meaning they found in it.

    Yes, death of the author and all of that, meaning is found where meaning is found, and I haven’t looked up anything about how O’Reilly intended the game…but Mountain produced all of these shitty pieces of crit by failed academics who can’t write, and it’s just a game about a mountain. Everything is a game that purports to be about, well, everything. Maybe I’m just reacting to the inevitable crap Paste is gonna publish about it; maybe I can’t see the game for the game. But frankly, Mountain was one of several breaking points: It was one of the last games where I actively paid any attention to the critical talk around, so I admittedly have a sour taste about it.

    (Incidentally, it’s wonderful not paying any attention to games crit anymore. The errant times I accidentally read an article only validate my decision. Did you know that some critics are now using the term “gamefeel”–cf “mouthfeel”–in their articles? Did you know that such people *still* think they’re providing a valuable service by their writing?)

  6. Richard! How you doing! Also, duck penises for everyone.

    I’m not entirely clear as to why I haven’t shelled out the buck for Mountain yet. It seems like the sort of thing I’d like.

  7. Whoa.

    I’m listening to Giraffes? Giraffes! on Google Music because I was listening to the Samorost 3 soundtrack by Floex (see my comment under GNOG) and Giraffes? Giraffes! were close to Floex on this website I found recently: https://www.music-map.com/floex.html Their band name sounded funny so I decided to check them out.

    Anyway, I’ve been listening to them for about… 20-30 minutes and as I’m reading this article Alan Watts starts talking part way through a 9 minute track. What are the chances?

    I’ve no idea what to make of Everything from the 10 minute trailer I watched and I’m still not entirely sure how I’d react to playing it either. I never did play Mountain.

  8. @Richard – Heheh, I suspected there was a bunch of context I lacked. :D

    “Did you know that some critics are now using the term “gamefeel”–cf “mouthfeel”–in their articles?”

    I did not know this, and I suddenly feel similarly vindicated in being increasingly selective concerning the criticism I read (for games, it is mostly Wolinsky and Joel).

    I don’t even understand what the perceived value of that appropriated neologism would be. It makes some sense in the culinary world, although a lot of people laugh at the concept. But what’s the value of it for talking about games? Most games don’t have physical texture, and the subjective sensation of playing something doesn’t map to a consistent experience in the same way.

    OTOH I wrote 2000 words bitching about how inappropriate “punk” was as a metaphor for talking about games, so it’s not as if I should be surprised by shitty metaphors.

    And oh look we’re bitching in the comments section again. Goddamn it, Richard.

    (Oh, I just thought: you could talk about the “gamefeel” of, say, Knife to Meet You. The gamefeel is “blunter than you would expect”. Or Punching Custard, in which the gamefeel is “startlingly similar to the mouthfeel”.)


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