Everything is going to be OK, the interactive zine/digital fever-dream from Tetrageddon creator Nathalie Lawhead always felt deeply personal to me. Its manic humour and wild imagination filtered through computer interfaces of yesteryear always felt underpinned by a very specific breed of frustration and sadness. Today, it grew just a little bit more, adding three new 'pages' set within hazy, unreal PC desktops packed dense with strange little minigames, offbeat humour and some very emotionally heavy prose.
If you've never experienced Everything is going to be OK before, buckle up and enjoy the ride. Come for the flashing lights, the offbeat jokes, the silly voices and the mesmerising soundscape, stay for the growing sense of ennui-tinged unease that drives you to introspection, bouncing its many pithy, pointed questions off yourself and seeing what sticks.
Lawhead talks about her decision to take these new pages in this especially heartfelt direction in this pulsating purple development blog here. While it's definitely better if you read it yourself, the abridged version is that these new pages are a response to a recent outpouring of unpleasantness and general wrongheadedness directed at EIGTBOK (that's a rather nice acronym) and its creator from the traditionalist 'games are meant to be fun' crowd. So much so, that one of the new pages contains a scathingly satirical questionnaire to gauge whether you're an 'intelligent' enough gamer to be granted access to your own Games folder.
The new update appears in the form of three Missing Pages, which you can see in the screenshot above. Each one progressively dives a little deeper into the fractured interactive dreamscape. In amidst the jokes, the glitch detritus and the gnawing sense of unease hidden behind a faintly twitching smile lies a lengthy personal piece of prose on each page, unfiltered and direct from the author. It's sobering stuff, and a fitting, long-form epilogue to what was previously a relatively light and easy-to-digest series of vignettes.
Lawhead reckons that with this update, EIGTBOK feels complete now, and this will most likely be the end of the road for this particular project. She's already drawing up tentative plans for her next big thing, although is considering doing some smaller, more overtly silly projects to help recharge in the interim. Whatever she chooses to do, I wish her all the luck in the world. Games need more works of art like this; if not unafraid, then at least courageous enough to confront those fears head-on, with a thousand-yard stare and an ear-to-ear grin.