Surrrealist video game

One of the things I loved about early 80s video games is how incredibly weird they were. Half-eaten yellow pizzas being chased around by ghosts? Trampoline-enabled police mice pursued by cats? A plumber, hunting and killing the ape who stole his princess girlfriend? Ahem.

So for years, I always wished some game designer would just rip the lid off and finally make a game that was straightforwardly surrealistic — where cause and effect had only a very inscrutable relationship to one another. Like maybe the control scheme keeps switching unpredictably, or your character transforms for no good reason at random intervals.

Le voila. Today I happened upon game, game, and again game, a superstrange creation by Jason Nelson, and it pretty much satisfies all my criteria. The game, as Nelson describes it, is …

… a digital poem/game/net artwork hybrid of sorts. There are 13 curious levels filled with poetics, hand drawn creatures, scribbles, backgrounds and other poorly made bigts. The theme (cringe) hovers around our many failed/error filled/compelling belief systems, from consumerism to monotheism.

Gameplaywise, it involves you piloting a small blob around various delightfully pen-scribbled scenes. You’ve got goals … sort of. And destinations … sort of. When you bump into things, it does … uh … something, including triggering trippy sound samples, text boxes, transformations of the screen, and archaic pop-up home video. Oddly mesmerizing!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Search This Site


I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

More of Me


Recent Comments

Collision Detection: A Blog by Clive Thompson