It’s nothing new for me to be confused. In fact, you might say that I blunder around my daily life in a constant state of mild confusion; but when it comes to games I generally know where I’m at. Yeah, I might get baffled by a puzzle or a bit overwhelmed with an RTS but I know generally what’s going on. I know I have something to solve or an army to defeat, but right now I am utterly confused by what I have just experienced.
The Graveyard is a commercially available game (via steam) which has a demo that contains the full experience with the exception that you can’t die. While this may summon a tribal “uh?” and strike you as just having ‘god mode’ un-optionally on, it’s not like that nor is it this that is confusing me. Allow me to try to explain.
The Graveyard sees you play as an old lady. The objective of the game is simple and laid out for you: go to the back of the graveyard and sit on the bench in front of the church. When you are ready to stand back up do so then leave the way you came out from. That’s all there is to it. The path you walk is 100% straight – you can’t deviate off it. You walk at the pace of a little old lady with a limp. There are no hidden surprises as such – nothing jumps up and scares you, no plot gets injected and at no point are you an armed little old lady holding off hordes of undead from the church.
Now that we are quite probably siblings in confusion let me emphasise that this is the entire game. Nothing else happens. So why shoudl you be interested? Well, to get something out of this, what you have to do is re-evaluate the concept of ‘game’. The Graveyard is barely ‘game’ in the way we know it; it’s often likened to an interactive painting more than anything else – and like any good painting it is certainly beautiful and completely unlike anything I have experienced before. It also stirred up some emotion and thinkelings – mostly about lifes’ inevitabilities and unfortunates. This is a way of getting something (what I’m not quite sure) across that only ‘games’ can do, and while this is great The Graveyard has still just left me…confused.
The confusion I am experiencing is mainly at how much I actually enjoyed or cared about the experience. Basically – I never, and while it is ‘something new’ the ‘marmite, ketchup, raw onion and guinea pig sandwich’ is something new but not particularly in a good way. I mean, yeah, The Graveyard is very well executed, very pretty and certainly tasteful in it’s message, but from playing the demo once I have no intention of experiencing it ever again – yet alone paying the £3.50 for the ability to watch a death animation that is (rather unfortunately I suppose) readily available on YouTube. It’s a very pretty and unique painting, but at the end of the day, not one I would want to hang on my wall.
I recommend anyone to play the demo, just to see how far the concept of ‘game’ can be pushed, but to buy the full version is just a push to far. If you really are impressed and want to congratulate/support the developers for this arty experiment then go ahead but I think there are better things to spend your money on.