In my think aloud, I played/experienced Jason Nelon’s piece “i made this. you play this. we are enemies.”
It is an extremely maximalist piece: i struggled with how to record my voice without being drowned out by the constant barrage of music and sound effect the game has. On my first time through playing the game, I actually recorded with headphones (into the mic on the headphones), so it didn’t pick up any of the background music. I recorded myself using different audio recording methods 3 times; I ended up choosing to use my first recording with audio of the game added in editing for two reasons.
One, I wanted to use my true first experience playing the game all the way through. There are moments that I am (embarrassingly) very perplexed by the game (I literally had to refresh the page and mash the keyboard in order to figure out how to jump….) But I wanted to keep these moments, since that learning curve is a part of experiencing the game. It is slow. It is kind of mind-melting. The second time through, I was able to move much faster through the game, which wasn’t truly reflective of my first experience.
Second, the audio of my commentary on the first go-around wasn’t as deep or well-put together as my second and third time playing. But I like the kind of over-whelmed, frazzled commentary — there are several moments where I just trail off in the middle of a thought or interrupt a thought with another, random one because I’m distracted by the audio or figuring out gameplay, and this is characteristic of the game itself — it’s random, it’s overwhelming, and it feeds off our distraction.
Towards the last 5 levels, I discovered that I felt physical bad. This virtual game was taking a physical toll. My head hurt. My ears hurt. My eyes hurt. I felt like I had been in an internet k-hole for over 10 hours even though each round of 10 levels only took about 30 minutes. I think this is another point that this game-worlds gets across extremely well — the physical manifestations of our internet habits.
In terms of storytelling, this was by no means a linear story. The characters were, at a stretch, the webpages that each level was based on. The “character” of Google, Yahoo, Huffington Post, all warped and made into an interactive game format. I think it was more about the over-all feeling — we’re not meant to read every word, attach meaning to every little detail — it’s about the over-all, that sick physical feeling at the end, the internet memories stirred up from childhood, the familiar morphed into weird unfamiliar.
A+ would play again. Once I recover.