How can I talk to you about Outer Wilds without seeing the ends of the game? Not the end, the ends.
This game is literally one of those few games that are the honor of the video game in the world of artistic creation and entertainment.
It’s been years since I’ve come across such a beautiful, intelligent, engaging game – perfect is the word that qualifies it.
It takes about 30 hours to complete it in all its details.
I had already mentioned this game when I fell in admiration of this new game my son was playing. Son who told me then that I had no chance at all for this game, since my sense of direction is about equal to nothing and I manage to get lost in my own village.
So actually – if you don’t have more sense of direction than I do, you’ll have to add a few more hours – but you don’t really get lost in Outer Wilds, because you have to visit everything and visit again, and again.
It’s an independent game – and when I’m killing myself singing along with all the tones that the great creators of the 21° are in independent structures, then I’m right? but yes, of course.
The driving principle of the game is quite simple: you wake up – in 22 minutes of play your solar system will explode.
Well – so far, we are in the classic.
You, the player, take your superhero cape and off you go to save the world.
You discover your rocket – which is a rocket that you could have built yourself in your garage, with a little bit of a vintage Sunday do-it-yourself twist that’s quite lovely.
Except that after 22 minutes, you are lost and stranded without recourse or rescue – the solar system explodes.
You are dead.
You can throw yourself on the internet to find out what to do.
Or you can trust and let yourself be guided by the game.
You come back to life – same base camp, same rocket. 22 minutes before you die.
Here you go again, this time you’ll understand the trick – the basics: how do you not explode so fast?
And then finally, you will understand that you are caught in an infinite time loop – and that your various deaths – your totally accumulated deaths – do not prevent you from keeping the memory of your previous “lives”.
From this point on, it is without any stress that you no longer look at the time elsewhere and that you begin to visit this solar system.
And this is where the game takes on its magical, masterful and totally brilliant dimension.
You won’t have a game guide – you’re going for a walk.
While walking, you will meet very rare people – your friends, lost in the game, who have set up camps and who play music, because stopping running and admiring the world is a nice idea.
Everyone plays a different instrument – and everyone plays the same tune.
You’re going to come across big walls, and … they’re going to get ?… busy and you’re going to realize that before you, there was an ultra-advanced civilization here, which explored the universe and seems to have had a lot of really great ideas. As you want to save the world and especially get out of this time loop, you will start looking for their traces and discoveries.
And when – knowing that you are going to die in 7 minutes – you will find yourself in front of a Black Hole – curiosity will prevail: you will go and see what is behind the Black Hole.
I’m telling you, Interstellar is sunk – because behind the Black Hole… ah it’s strange – and it’s absolutely fantastic.
Either you will die – at the beginning you let yourself die, it’s easier to get back to the starting point.
Either you will find how to get out of the Black Hole
And then, you’ll throw yourself into it without even thinking about it anymore – yes, I’m going to the Black Hole today – I’ll be back soon, don’t worry darling.
And as you will have become accustomed to these very strange worlds, it is with a little bit of suspicion – but no more than that – that you will tell yourself that you saw a flowerpot moving.
You take a good look at it: it doesn’t move.
You look away: it has disappeared.
You are taken aback? where has this flowerpot gone? And then, without worrying at all about saving the world – after all it doesn’t care about, the world – you start “hunting” a flowerpot – and it is with amazement that you will notice that in Outer Wilds, the flowerpots run away at full speed and play 1 2 3 Sun with you – do you know this game? – I’ve seen a flowerpot running – I can testify to that.
After this amazing discovery, you will see that in this game, not only the flowerpots run away. Sometimes they are whole trees. Or some kind of standing stones. Or a moon – it’s there – then it’s gone – it’s the extraordinary quantum objects of Outer Wilds –
Planets that give time – planets that are digging – frozen planets – planets with strange orbits – a whole bunch of worlds that look small from afar and are huge up close.
Slowly but surely you understand – but now I’m not telling you anything – you use the peculiarities of this game to explore normally unexplored worlds – but you have to think a little bit to understand how to do it.
And when you’re at the end – then there – then there is magic. And very clever.
You know, these are books, these movies, these games, where the authors don’t think we are complete morons with sweets on our knees and fat in our brains – and instead of heavily explaining to us the ending and why it ends like that and what you have to think, lady, sir, you’re idiot, we will tell you everything – instead of that, which is good for the toilet, the authors let you think for yourself, from the splendid ending that they propose to you.
& since that wasn’t enough, there are several endings: as a result, we’ll start again at the last loop, to “explore” the other endings of the game – inevitably…
And there : Masterpiece. Bravo !
And Altair ?
This is a story that doesn’t take place on stage – it really needs all the possibilities offered by the world of video games and virtual explorations.
I won’t put artists on it, their presence would be absolutely too superficial and meaningless.
So? So, it’s a genius game – that it’s based on elegance, adventure and intelligence – but how can you not fall in crazy love when these three qualities are combined ????- it would be appropriate to offer Virtual Reality experiences; when on stage there will be shows based on discovery and adventure.
Do you know what’s wrong with Virtual Reality at home? It’s that you walk without walking – and your brain doesn’t feel good – you absolutely have to be able to access Virtual Reality without having your feet on the ground – and for Outer Wilds, the physical and spatial dimension is just a must – a necessary point.
And to organize joint game sessions – a bit like an e.sport but without a tournament – because it’s a game that leads to discussions between players – and therefore to have within the walls of Altair also proposals for “shows” that are not shows at all but days dedicated to some huge video games. Am I exaggerating? Yes, I’m exaggerating.
But no, it’s not quite like a cyber cafe – even if you have to think about having a games room in a theatre like Altair.
For the pleasure, a literary experience of this game :
Featured Image : Outer Wilds – Alex Beachum & Loan Verneau, composer Andrew Prahlow, Mobius Digital.