There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension review a dizzying torrent of ideas – The Guardian

There Is No Games overarching joke is that its a video game desperate to convince you that a) its not a video game and b) that it should be immediately closed down and uninstalled from your computer. There is no fourth wall: once you defy the main menus clear instruction Do Not Click To Start, youre addressed by a sentient AI a kind of benevolent HAL-9000 who, in a deep, French accent, berates your efforts to find a way past the opening screen and into the game that, the AI insists, absolutely does not exist behind the titles.

A cross between an escape room and early-90s adventure games such as The Secret of Monkey Island, There Is No Game requires logical but lateral thinking as you work to solve its knotted challenges while the AI natters and scolds your best efforts. Puzzles range from the straightforward (eg rifle around in the AIs desktop folders to find the code that will unlock a password-protected file) to the arcane (use a letter grabbed from a comic book-style onomatopoeic exclamation to fix a section of broken railway track). In each case, the game is laced with wit and humour, its jokes compounded by the jolt of delight experienced when you find ad solution to a seemingly impossible problem.

Unlike in traditional adventure games, the tools and items you gather to solve each puzzle arent stowed in a neat inventory, but rather jangle around the bottom of the screen, where they can be grabbed and used to interact with the on-screen scene. The game requires an almost childlike mindset, one freed from the restrictions of convention: words, for example, can be knocked from their positions on the screen, then picked up and used as bludgeons, or keys.

The risk when a writer opts to make a film about films or, in this case, a game about games is that it can feel self-obsessed, cloyingly insidery, or simply parochial. While some of There Is No Games jokes are aimed at game programmers, or reference popular indie games, most of its humour is universal, derived from the spike of pleasure and surprise that comes from finding an unexpected solution to a thorny problem. Its ideas arrive as a torrent, a dizzying display of creativity; and as your relationship with the chatty AI subtly shifts from one of antagonism to collaboration, the game assumes the rewarding feel of a buddy movie. The result is an extraordinary, postmodernist video game quite unlike anything else.

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There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension review a dizzying torrent of ideas - The Guardian

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