I never thought I would see this… It looks like we have finally reached the point in video gaming where the concept of ‘playing a video game’ can be an optional choice. I never thought I would see the day, but here I am staring it right in the face as it mocks me with its mildly interesting graphics. I am talking about the new ‘video game’ that decided it was too cool to be a video game, Mountain. Coming from the mind of Irish-born film maker and artist, David O’Reilly this ‘game’ as I am forced to call it is one that boasts such features as 50 hours of gameplay, no controls, an audio on/off switch, and shows things growing in natural progression. In other words, you can gain more enjoyment out of watching grass grow then playing this ‘game.’
I have said it before that the video game industry is starting to dive into the more ‘artistic’ direction with games like Journey and Heavy Rain being created. So I do see it going the same way as film, that there will soon be a sub genre of ‘artistic’ focused games. But this most definitely is not the way to go about fucking doing it. Be artistic, be creative, think outside the box, all of these are good things to do when you are trying to innovate an industry that looks at innovation as if it were a leper. But there are some basic things that all games, whether a big and flashy Triple A title or small time independent art project need to have when it comes to being a video game. First and foremost, games need to be fun. Also you need to be able to do something besides look at a moving picture of a mountain for several hours. Mountain fails at both of these simplistic concepts.
I would tell you about the plot or even what the game is about. But there purposely is not one. Nope you are simply a mountain… That is it. You can’t control anything, you can’t do anything, you cannot play this game, all you can do is sit back and look at the mountain from several different pretty angles floating in the nothingness of the universe.
Graphics are Good
I will say this, the graphics do look nice. It is down right artistic in its presentation of a mountain floating in the cosmos. The more you zoom out the more you see that all this game is a mountain, held in a little ball, floating in the middle of absolute nothingness. From just about every angle that you can look at this thing and believe me you will look at it from just about every angle, it is very captivating and impressive artistic work.
It is Boring
Want to have the game that is as stimulating as staring at a mountain for several hours. Well Mountain is certainly the game for you and I strongly question your priorities in life. There are no controls, the ‘game’ even tells you that there is no controls. You can’t do anything, you can’t play the damn game. Even in the description it tells you that this is a game you have to be patient with, that you should turn on or leave for a while and come back to. No! I do not want to do that! If I buy a video game, I will consider it successful when I am struggling to turn the game off to rejoin the rest of the world. That means it is exciting, it is holding my attention, that it is stimulating and I am immersed in the game! If I have to leave a ‘game’ running, come back and very little has actually changed, that isn’t a fun experience, that is a stupid poorly conceived concept of someone who likes the smell of their own damn farts.
Not just a video game, but a game in general needs to challenge you in some way. It needs to give you a task, to complete. You play Monopoly, the goal of the game is to send everyone into destitute poverty. In a game like Skyrim, besides the storyline, your test is to explore the world of Skyrim, complete quests, and create your own fun. Even a game like Minecraft that is so open-ended, allows you to do just about anything that you want allows you to kind of make your own fun. There comes the problem with Mountain is the fact that it isn’t a ‘game’, it is visual semi-interactive art. There is no challenge to the game, there is no task to do, or fun to be had. It does not allow you to have fun, it demands that you look at it, be in awe of it, and be ‘relaxed’ by it and for the people who say that the challenge of Mountain is to test my patience, go fuck yourselves!
I play games to have fun, I play table top RPGs, video games, board games, card games, and any other game you can think of to have fun. This is not fun, this does not attempt to be fun, this is not a game, it is merely a very pretty interactive picture that demands you to look at it and be amused by it or be relaxed by it. If you want to make art, that is fine, I’m all for it. If you want to make interactive art or an artistic video game, that is fine, have at it. I will not stop you. But you cannot create some pretty picture and say this is a video game. Because it isn’t! It is like asking for an apple to eat and someone hands you one of the decorative plastic apples. Sure it looks similar to the apple that you want, but you are not going to get the same amount of satisfaction from that plastic apple and you are still sitting there hungry wanting to eat a damn apple.
Some people will stick their noses in the air and say ‘Yes this game is exquisite’. As for me, I’m pelting this thing with so many rotten tomatoes that I have practically made rancid ketchup. Calling this game trash is an understatement, calling this game a ‘game’ is being far too nice to what is nothing more than a moving mountain that you can look at for several hours. The graphics look nice. I can say that much. But that is the extent of nice things I can say about this festering pile of bullshit.
I wish I could say more about this game, but really I am drawing a blank. There isn’t anything to talk about. It isn’t a relaxing experience, it is a cure to insomnia. I say that this will stand a testament to future developers of what not to do to create an artistic video game. To abandon everything that makes a video game a video game in exchange of stroking your artistic cock doesn’t make you an ingenious video game designer, it makes you a pretentious twat.
Final Score 0.5/5
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