We’re all going mad for the goose, eh? I know we all lost it when the first trailer for Untitled Goose Game came out, but apparently it seems we were somewhat justified. It’s nice to be a bit naughty in a video game, but where the naughtiness isn’t eviscerating local monsters just trying to get by/the enemy group of soldiers [delete as applicable].
But I think the design of the goose is what holds it all together. That’s why a lot of us like it, right? That bird is very gifable. Inscrutable, even. Why is this goose locking a small boy into a phonebox? That’s up to you. For me, the goose is my untapped adolescent rage.
I used to tell people that I hate the countryside and just prefer cities. Recently, by visiting other areas of natural beauty, I discovered that this is not the case. I just really, really hate where I’m from.
I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I grew up in the middle of nowhere, and the closest town, where I went to school, is so awful that William Golding wrote a book about the horrors of the English class system that was directly inspired by growing up there. It is a stultifying horror of a place, but it is also very bucolic. If you drove through it on market day you’d probably think it was wonderful.
In short, it is the town depicted in Untitled Goose Game. I get extremely powerful deja vu when playing things like Untitled Goose Game, or Everybody’s Gone To the Rapture. I cannot overstate how much those depictions remind me of home — the home I hate.
Thus, the goose is my avenging angel. They both have big white wings and get cross about things for unclear reasons, so same difference, really. And the goose is perfectly designed as a blank slate, on which you can project motivation. The wiggle in its feathery hips, the serpentine undulation of its neck, and the absolute absence of any expression whatsoever, are the perfect combination for both menace and comedic timing. Those webby feet slap on the ground with the clarity of purpose of a toddler running away with an entire packet of Jaffa Cakes. Goose is cut from the exact same cloth as Feathers McGraw, but with the frantic NOOT NOOT energy of Pingu. Amazing. It’s like the strawberries and cream of fictional birds.
You can’t think about Untitled Goose Game too hard, because then you start to ask questions like ‘does a goose even know what a picnic is?’, ‘why does this goose have a to do list anyway?’, and ‘where would a goose get a pen and paper? Is someone writing the list for this goose?’ and that ruins the fun. The point is that you are not told anything about the goose, really, it just appears from its home in the woods and proceeds to gently terrorise the entire village.
And for me the goose is… revenge. Imagine me, a teenager with no social credit and bad hair. A bit of a doormat, but also angry about it. If only I’d had big goose energy! God, to have stolen all their picnic sandwiches, to have ruined their stupid gardens, to have stolen pint glasses from that one pub with the landlord who wouldn’t let you play anything apart from AC fucking DC on the jukebox.
If you are thinking that 15 years is a long and unhealthy time to hold on to petty anger, then I agree with you. But I also do not care. Small town England is deserving of equally petty retribution, and if that comes at the webbed feet and frantically flapping wings of an implacable goose, so much the better. Honk honk, motherfuckers.