Evidence of Everything Exploding

At the risk of giving away the content of my inquiry #3…

I was pleasantly surprised while playing Jason Nelson’s Evidence of Everything Exploding (EoEE) – in fact, I was even having fun(!) Since the game-play followed generally accepted 2-D videogame rules (for example, the goal is to reach the end of the level) and physics (pressing the up arrow causes the player-character to travel up on the screen), there was no exploitation of pixelation or glitches in the game engine, and player actions follow what is promised by the instructions on the game’s homepage, I found EoEE more similar to conventional games than Galloway’s “countergames.” The only countergamic aspects I found in EoEE were a foregrounding of the artist’s picture in level nine, his voice and hands in the matchbook videos and final level video, directly asking the players to email the artist in the “anti-intermission,” and Nelson’s attempt to make an artistic statement through his “art creature/digital poem” (what I see as a sign of Galloway’s “radical action”).

I enjoyed how the levels increased in difficulty and that each level had a unique background image, enemies, “harmless” enemies, and music. I though the matchbook videos at the completion of each level had an interesting similarity to traditional “cutscenes,” although the matchbook videos had no impact whatsoever on the narrative structure of the game. My only big complaint is that, as an artistic message, I felt Nelson missed the mark. He may have been trying to convey a statement on our culture’s obsession with conspiracy and tendency to force connections between disparate ideas or documents, but if he wants his message to be effective he needs to make it more accessible to the average person. The juxtaposition of images, video, and text without a clear, coherent thread or meaning may make for an interesting game-experience but does not leave the player with a satisfied feeling/learned moral upon completion of the game.