This morning, I woke up to find myself in a cold sweat, realizing I’d been thoroughly outdone by Kay and her Vidiot Game review. While she had managed to describe a nonsense-sober-drug- trip-in-a-game for her first post on this site, the best I’d managed was to blather on about ASCII and shmups, two moderately obscure acronyms. If it was acronymsdaily.com we were working on, perhaps that would have been appropriate, but as it is, we’re trying to run a dueling video game blog, and as such, I had fallen behind. No matter! What follows is a cure to all of my anxieties:
Anestesia by Pedro Paiva is a bit like someone who’d only ever played the original Zelda for the NES decided to ruminate on the impact of alcohol on the working class. The result is a carnival of transactions (charmingly illustrated by all manner of pictorial equations) involving the exchanges of life for money, money for booze, booze for “happiness”, booze for broken hearts, broken hearts for booze, and so on and so forth.
ANESTHETIZED YOU DON’T FEEL.
ANESTHETIZED YOU ACCEPT.
I think this work is a fantastic example of a personal reflection in the medium, as well as a political statement. It is almost an animated film in its simplicity of interactions, except that as a metaphor for the all-consumingness of alcohol abuse, I think it’s entirely appropriate to make the progression inescapable. The frenetic pace with which the game responds to the small inputs it demands of the player amplifies the sense of being lost down a path. Furthermore, like a magician, the game presents flickering lights and abstract movements, redirecting the player’s eye from the actions they are committing to. All this is effective dispute the actual narrative being so simple it can be completely recognized on the first playthrough.
The sound design deserves a special note for being that particular combination of off-kilter and funky that I am so dearly in love with. This music is the James Chance of chiptune. (more on potential applications below.
If not obvious from the few paragraphs above, I love this game, and recommend it highly. Go down this two minute rabbithole for a charming bit of working class Anestesia.
A. You don’t have money enough.
B. Take it.
C. Leave it.
ps. on blending musics
One of my favourite pasttimes is listening to different pieces of music at the same time and seeing if they play nice together. Today the combination was of the Fez soundtrack’s gorgeous adventurescapes (found here) and of course the whinging, exhausted pleasuredome of Anestesia.