What can one-trick art games teach us?

You know the game. It’s kind of arty, and it does one thing really well, and it presents itself as some kind of metaphor for life. Games like Passage or The Marriage. A recent game in this vein, Lim, has you blending in to pass by other people. I got stuck fairly early on, and felt like the message of having to change to fit your surroundings was pretty obvious. But Zoya Street found the game spoke on how one’s identity depends on the social context.

As for the ‘be yourself’ side of it – for me, the game doesn’t say that at all. There is no ‘yourself’ to be in this game. You’re floating between states of presentation, and you settle upon them dependent on the situation. You would have a hard time finding ‘yourself’ in this. The reality presented by Lim is that you can’t just ‘be yourself’ without a social order structuring the entire problem – only when society is far away can you float again and not have to think about ‘being’ at all. ‘Being’ is a social question. The game isn’t preachy. It doesn’t even present a solution. It just describes a problem.