Continue?9876543210 is a game that screams don’t buy me. This was intentional. Continue? is definitely a game, but it’s a game that asks players to meditate. Where we go for our escapist power fantasies Jason Oda wanted the opposite. We are dead and all that remains is the inevitable end.
Staring into the abyss is something we try to avoid. Morbid curiosity draw us, but we try to distract ourselves. Games are our latest and greatest form of escapism full of male power fantasies which you and I have gobbled up. We are older now and the thin façade has worn past thin and into contempt. I feel disingenuous about these stories and activities I often perpetrate on the screen. I am not a military hero in reality nor do I dream of being on. My life is ordinary. I sometimes fight with my loved ones and I hurt people unintentionally.
Continue? begins with the death of a players avatar transported to random access memory awaiting deletion. Having failed to complete our quest we drive forward to dodge deletion and find the princess. This is how Jason frames the conversation and allows for our interpretations to come forth. My lightning, my prayer is the mantra of Continue. My interpretation is the unseen force that we give must submit to. Conceptualized as the deletion program looking to wipe the memory, and the player clean and free of existence. But My Lightning, My Prayer is the tie the binds; destruction and creation.
As mentioned earlier this is a realm where few games exist. It is attractive to me. When I see a game as obtuse, perplexing, or what others would call pretentious; I’m in. Jason was careful on how we named and advertised the game because he knows what he has on his hands. It’s not a typical ‘SHOOT DOODS IN HEAD, WIN GAME’ experience. He wants to ward off those who won’t get any enjoyment out of it.
It disappoints me to hear people cry foul on how the game controls. It feels as if people are missing the point. It is frustrating that we get caught up in the minutia of game jargon that we won’t give these alternative experiences a fair shake. Or worse call them “non-games.”
We can all especially sympathize when you know it was made for iOS and then on a whim thrown up on Greenlight. This doesn’t discredit any and all criticism on those marks, but it should temper expectation. Ignoring context is often an idealists’s way to be objective. But context is what makes games so interesting, it’s messy and unplanned. Landon and I hunger for context behind these experiences. Its why we do this!
Jason has been making games in the “adver-gaming” world for a long time. I’m sure you might have seen his work before, my first interaction was with his Chemical Brothers – “Galvanize” flash game. More recently he has done a game with Skrillex, naturally called Skrillexquest. The context behind Continue? was unsurprising in origin but incredible in retrospect. Jason found his preferred way of contemplation was to escape out of the city. He would go out into the dessert or mountains in search of, or induced, life experiences. Prior to making Continue? was he got stuck out in the snowy wilderness, out of gas and forced to walk 20 miles in the snow and ice to find help. Passing mountain lions and bears he finally found salvation in a group of college kids who were out camping. An incredible story to say the least, but it does help illuminate what context went into Continue?.
Continue was an exercise in the removal of desire and seeking peace. I fell in love with how the poetry of each level. It felt secular. I had been here before mentally as I watch loved ones lives slowly end. I poured myself in and created my own interpretation, which I am sure Jason was hoping to see. I found my own cathartic experience. My Lightning, My Prayer.
Continue?9876543210 may not be a game for everyone, and that is fine. I wouldn’t recommend my movie or music choice to everyone. However, what Jason Oda does offer is an excellent antithesis to our more common gaming experience. We flip the power fantasy for fatalism. Replace wanton violence with slow contemplation as we await the inevitable. One of those is way more relatable to our now adult lives, and that excites me.