Tracing the Steps of an Old Lady

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The Graveyard by Tale of Tales is different, no one denies that. Is it a game, though?

Greg Costikyan argues that

The Graveyard is both beautiful and incredibly irritating – and it’s worth playing, both because it is beautiful, and because the reasons why it’s irritating are worth thinking about. […]

Now here’s the thing; by giving the player (if we may call him such) the illusion of agency, by placing control of the character’s motions in his hands, an application makes an implicit promise: That your choice of actions matters. Since this is essentially an art project, perhaps it need not matter much – but it should matter to some degree. The implicit promise is that we can turn down that path to the left or right, or skirt around the chapel; perhaps doing so takes us no where in particular, perhaps the only point at which something interesting happens is that park bench – but for the application simply to not let you see to left or right, to bar you from moving past the chapel, breaks the illusion of presence, and denies your control of the character.

The character is not in your control, in any meaningful sense. The character exists simply to move to the park bench and trigger the music.

This viewpoint is shared with Anthony Burch, who thinks that the whole “game” is just infuriating.

A notion that just elicits a snicker by the creators. They obviously wanted to provoke a reaction, and they got it. They see themselves, after all, as artists.

(Somehow I feel like I’ve written this post before, but I can’t find it in my archives …)