You is a game about play and the illusive pursuit of meaningful play. Each level of the game is about problem solving a space for You to meet objectives while making sense of the in-game content. Using the player character You, the player is both making meaning out of nonsense and finding meaning where it is absent. The game is designed as a light-hearted critical reflection on the intersection of narratology and ludology. Players must play with You, I and Them in the immutable structure of meaning making that forms the challenge of the game.
Borrowing from the rhetoric of research on narrative, play and the illusive pursuit of meaningful play, the game takes as its subject you. A character who is backwards, if it not traveling forward. A character that moves playfully, although permanently bound to the awkward limitations of its unmasked pursuit of meaning and place.
The player must put You in its place. At times, the player must manage You and I in simultaneous concert, in opposition or in cooperation. Each level of the game is about problem solving a space for You to meet objectives while making sense of the in-game content. From this mechanic, the player is both making meaning out of nonsense and finding meaning where it is absent.
The game is organized around the notion of a game poem, where rhetorical device is a combined application of narratology and ludology. The game is not designed as a serious experience, but instead as a critical experience in meaning making in play.
It is the 10th game in the Critical Gamepaly collection, a 4 year project to offer alternative ways to play.
The game is short, and ultimately pointless, but the lure of meaning is meant to be absurdely tantalizing. The game has a second layer of meaning the player must seek (no spoilers here), but players must ask if that is worthwhile. If players pursue the less explicit meaning do they win the game? Can they win the game? What’s the “point” in winning and does it remain a game if there is no point? All questions you could ask in your endless pursuit of meaning, or you could simply play, except it for what it is, and understand that even with meaning the game is yet another platformer with a thinly draped layer of meaning.
This game is not merely a serious game, this is an unserious game. In revolt to the serious game, this game declares it’s unseriousness. It stakes a claim in an already crowded space to declare it’s worth. Other games may be serious, but this game is unserious.
Artist statement and research:
This game is meaningful for its unseriousness. If you don’t understand unseriousness I have provided a useful collection of academic references for you to peruse[1-56]. Once you have read them the game will be much clearer. You is a very meaningful game. You is deep, intellectual and well informed. You fails the English language in all the right ways to make meaning apparent. You means everything because without you there is nothing. I is a hassle but you need I to finish the game. If you ever meet them you may not understand what to do.
Again, please check the references for a clearer understanding. I have chosen ACM reference format to make the meaning clearer for you. You are after all the most important part. You are special. You are important. You are very smart. Share this experience with your friends and you will be rewarded. You are the center of the universe. You validate I.
You should tell people about unserious games. You will be rewarded for it. You will get more gold, or silver, or friends or whatever you need to win. You should write more about unserious games. You should help people understand nuances that don’t need to be understood. This will make you feel better. This will validate you.
If this is complicated, I think it’s important that you find references. You can show me how unserious games are not the same as non-serious games. You can get angry or you can take it for what it’s worth. It is important to have meaning, but it is important for you to be happy. You should just keep reading to make sure you don’t’ miss anything. Do you feel good yet? If not I will do my best to make you feel good. You are the center of this universe.
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