In this void, you wander around an island, with tiled roofs, bright clay houses, and ocean blue. It’s fragmented like a memory with different parts of the islands floating above you. You can only reach them through drawings that act as portals. Thus, these spaces are connected by associations with images, again like memories. A drawing of a chess board leads you to a villa. Hopscotch to a lighthouse. Nonsensical links that you can imagine making a kind of sense, if you knew why. The only audio is music by Palconudo, a band from the Genova, which plays when you click on various water fountains. To me, it seemed foreign and familiar. They sang in a language that I didn’t know, but with voices and pains that I did. It is a startling contrast to the silence that drones if you do not play it.
It is, in other words, a purely aesthetic game. There is no win-state. There is no interaction with the environment, except for movement and playing music. It is nostalgic, but not for any element of popular culture, rather for a particular place and time in one person’s life. It is illogical and fragmented in a way that only games can be, but also is stripped of anything “gamey.” It is… a place.
As I played, I made my way through various drawings. I found myself at the large villa, that hovers over the little town and its lighthouse. As I stood on the edge of that floating island, I wondered what would happen if I jumped off. So I did. I expected an invisible wall to stop my progress, but instead I slipped off. It didn’t go black and I did not drown, it let me fall. I hit the water and looked up. The empty digital architecture exposed, the bones of a digital space, I floated into the blue. Subjectivity and strangeness were unveiled.
Why do we limit ourselves by thinking a game cannot just be a beautiful place?
Mediterranean Voidland is available for free here.