I won’t lie, I am an avid watcher of YouTube videos, and especially fond of gaming channels. Well, a few gaming channels…
I recently watched Yogscast Rythian play a rather bizarre game; The Beginner’s Guide. It’s something very different, very strange but incredibly moving and fantastic storytelling to boot. And, while some people really dislike people talking while they’re watching a Let’s Play, I found Rythian’s commentary only made the experience more enjoyable; that man has a rather special way with words. Highly recommend watching his series. Though I recommend playing the game more; first hand experience is always better than a Lets Play.
I got slightly derailed. Where was I?
The game itself.
I don’t usually do reviews, so I’m not sure how much detail I can go into without getting spoiler-y, but I’ll give it a go.
The game follows a character called Davy, also the creator of the game, who takes us through a series of games created by his friend and fellow game developer, Coda. Davy sees something awe-inspiring in Coda’s work, while Coda doesn’t show these games to anyone outside of Davy, and, appears, incredibly introverted and even depressed.
I can’t begin to summarize the complexity of the game, because I just don’t have the knowledge to – I’m writing as a fan, not a reviewer – and I already mentioned my wish for you to play/watch this game. Instead, I’ll explain what the game meant to me, and why I personally found it so touching and important.
Heads up, I might unwittingly reveal a few spoilers. Not deliberately, mind you, I’m just not sure what classifies as a spoiler.
There are some labels given to people by others (weird, creepy, boring fun etc) and then there are some given to people by themselves.
I choose to call myself a writer. I don’t get paid from my writing and I certainly don’t get published but none-the-less. Still a writer.
And as a writer, you write stuff, edit it for a million years and then show it to someone, hoping they understand what you’re trying to convey. They read it and sometimes they understand it perfectly, and sometimes your work reads like complete pig latin and it’s back to the writing board.
I’m not complaining; this is how my own experience of writing works, it’s what you do to improve. But, in showing my writing to other people, it can leave me feeling vulnerable, open to scrutiny; I’m about to spend three years and over £27,000 on reading meaning into other authors work, so it’s probably natural to feel that other people will do the same about mine. As Rythian put it, we automatically look for meaning in things because humans do not appreciate chaos. It’s why my brother and dad hate it when I wear odd socks, and why I need to organise my books stacking upwards, because it means I can order them by series and height.
‘The Beginner’s Guide,’ is about the danger of reading the creator’s soul through their creation, and the problems this can cause for the creator.
I feel a bit like a hypocrite for saying this, as I’m going to study English where we’re doing just that, but I console myself with the fact that most of the authors we’re studying will be dead. They won’t be affected by our conclusions. The character of Coda, however, is affected by what Davy does, which is where the situation becomes problematic.
It’s easy to read the game as autobiographical in a way, particularly as the main character and game developer share a name, but doing so would be against what the game is about, and I’m not up for that.
If this has been too rambl-y, even by my standards, I’ll leave you with the adamant cry to play the game, or watch the game, and be just as touched by the obscenely brilliant story that would make a riveting novel.