Experimental project Everything Is Going To Be Okay [Gamejolt link] is having an early access-ish period to help developer Nathalie Lawhead (who you may know from her 2015 IGF award-winning project, Tetrageddon Games) finish it off. I hesitate to use the word game because that doesn’t really encapsulate anything about the project – instead let’s go with Lawhead’s own description: “Interactive zine”.
I’ve been tinkering with the version currently available and it’s this delightful bright, loud, jagged, raw, daft thing. You’re picking out different small experiences via a jiggling desktop. There’s a lot of the language of pain or self-doubt or depression contained within it because it’s a way of voicing a number of experiences around living with trauma. But the way that stuff is voiced pushes it away from the usual conversations and made me laugh even as it prickled against things I generally try to resist or fight as part of my own mini internal power struggle.
I think Page 25 is my current favourite – it’s an encounter between a cute creature and a critical mirror which in other hands might be super dull and predictable. Here you get to admire and applaud your butt, hearing the mirror’s nonsense or slipping into the mirror itself but then returning to some tummy appreciation or face-pulling and then sauntering off.
The artist statement which comes with the download explains that Everything Is Going To Be Okay is a collection of life experiences but also a power-fantasy of sorts. I say of sorts because it hinges around reframing power as the ability to withstand and move beyond trauma, or about living with the effects of traumas of various kinds. It’s about power as the ability to continue to simply “be” rather than a kind of dominance over other people.
That all makes it sound incredibly serious BUT from the end section of the statement:
“A lot of it is presented via humor, or creates ridiculous circumstances, because I feel like life is ridiculous. It’s one damn thing after the other and after a while there’s nothing left to do but laugh at it. Humor is what helps take the edge off, perhaps even create a platform for transcendence. Either way, it has been cathartic.”
The game is pay what you want and any money above downloading it free of charge will go towards finishing the project and doing things like paying for website bandwidth and so on.