April 21, 2014 1:11 AM | John Polson
Arielle Grimes (developing games as Indie Grimes) reached out to share her interactive digital expressionist game/art piece, What Now?, and I was happy to oblige. It's a short experience, but one that has bits and pieces at least some of us can probably relate to, living in this glitched up world called Earth.
Arielle describes What Now? as the "accumulation of a lot of my emotions and overall emotional experiences recently." She said to include the following trigger warnings, too, in case you were to download: ptsd, social anxiety, anxiety disorder, hopeless, depression, SEIZURE WARNING, OVERWHELMING STIMULUS WARNING, loud repetitive noises.
You may want to play What Now? first before I share Arielle's discussion of the game, it's a bit spoiler-y.
If things start to break down too quickly for you the first time, maybe consider playing again more slowly.
Now that you've played, then you may have realized the game is about anxiety and the feeling of being overwhelmed, portrayed both emotionally and with sensory overloads. She explained, "It was created as a way to cope with my day to day experiences, and to ignite an emotional reaction in others."
"The game in itself is very bleak," Arielle said, "as it is one room, filled with everyday objects that remind the player character of your past and current baggage. The scope of the character's view is limited, and represents an inability to see past the problems they are immediately drowning in. The objects in the room are objects that I personally interact with on a daily basis, social anxiety occasionally limits me to these objects for indefinite periods of time."
Lastly, she discussed how the constant sound builds during play, saying this represents the sensory overload. "The breakdown/meltdown comes when you do not heed the signs, and take in too much at once, and all the information and emotions overload the player character and take over the game itself."