Video games like this make me wonder if the medium is finally emerging into its creative potential. Independent studios and even lone programmers have begun to break out of tired and restrictive patterns that keep video games culturally marginal. These games suggest that an experience of exploration — sheer curiosity — can compel the player, as opposed to a system of base virtual rewards or simulated personal achievement. Most games offer a steady flow of cash and prizes, or a system of character advancement that belies the thoughtless activity leading there. Atmospheric games instead revel in aesthetics. They evoke something poetic about an interactive screen. The mood in MirrorMoon seems at once phantasmagorical and uplifting. It’s as though a Boards of Canada album has been brought to life — or if the wormhole scene from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 has been reframed as an experience of childlike wonder.
Published in Games