I never want to leave this place: Hohokum


I have purposefully kept my relationship with Hohokum at arm’s length prior to its final release. I would sneak side glances at events I would attend. It became this forbidden attraction that I would contort over inside my head as I saw it standing there across the room. I wanted to know more, but more than anything, I wanted to be surprised by it.

At a distance I had a rough idea of what was happening, a worm was soaring across the screen in vivid and daring fashion. Colors exploded and small characters animated around. It seemed so delightful and modest.

I am happy that I waited to play the game. I am happy that I avoided all press/coverage of the game as to the specifics of what it was supposed to be. Because with games like Hohokum it is what you bring into it. I brought a desire to be playful. I brought a desire to regress to my formative years when games were these virtual toys to tinker with and to discover.

I finished Hohokum. I discovered the secrets it hid from me, and now that it is over there is a slight melancholy. Not just because the game is over, but because it reminded me of my first interactions with virtual worlds. I find it hard to come across games with the same ability to inspire that sense of glee inside curious minds and to reward those who simply enjoy the elegance of play.

Play is at the heart of many of our interactions with games, but I feel like I sometimes lose sight of what play truly means. Play is being easy, and patient with a new system. Play is poking around at the confines in which a system can work. Play is tactile and is constantly giving feedback.  For me Hohokum embodies a sense of play that I felt my now adult and overly academic eye has prevented me from enjoying.