Grey


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Rating: 4.3/5 (299 votes)
| Comments (32) | Views (126)

DoraGreyKevin McGrath's Grey is a short, artsy little platformer about a boy travelling through a lifeless landscape trying to find objects with colour to return to his... girlfriend? Sister? Platonic Hermione Granger-type best friend? Whoever she is, she's listless and unresponsive despite the boy's attempts to get through to her. Use the [WASD] or [arrow] keys to move around and explore; standing near the girl will bring up a series of coloured arrows that will point the way towards the items you're looking for. Track them down and bring back a little colour into her life, even if you find yourself slipping away in the process.

Best of Casual Gameplay 2011
Originally making an appearance in a recent installment of Link Dump Friday, Grey surprised a lot of us site-bound word monkeys by going over extraordinarily well with a lot of people. But maybe that's not so surprising after all; since art is mostly subjective, and not everyone experiences the same things the same way in life, it stands to reason that something one person would pass by without a backward glance would cause another to stop in their tracks and stare. With a haunting soundtrack courtesy of shadow6nothing9 and a striking, slowly changing visual design, Grey provides a great canvas for players to project onto, but its repetitive, bland gameplay and loosey-goosey controls let it down in the actual "game" department. Like all art games, however, Grey has the potential to deliver an intensely personal experience that people will choose to interpret in different ways; it may bring a tear to your eye, it may make you shake your head and sigh, but Grey is still a thoughtfully made little title that may find its mark with you.

Play Grey

32 Comments

Wasn't this JUST featured in link dump?

[Why, yes, yes it was. Sometimes we send the wrong games to link dump, this was one of them. -Jay]

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Anonymous August 9, 2011 1:08 PM

Yay, now I can vote for it at "Best of 2011"! Thanks Jay, 5/5.

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Cool game. What I thought up for the story was:
The guy appears suddenly, with no past. There is a girl there, motionless. He tries to get a response out of her, for she is the only one there. He finds a gift, and hopes for a reaction, though his knowledge of the location of these items is indicative of... something, to him.

He brings back a gift, and it vanishes. He notices the world is gaining color, and, therefore, life. He deems this a success. Eventually, he notices he's fading out, probably from those gifts he keeps giving the girl. He continues, however, for he is in a lifeless world, and is willing to die, so long as someone else experience a world with life and vigor. At the end, he feels a little sad, that he has to leave this world he brought about, but the girl moves, and there is somebody to see this beautiful place he allowed to be created.

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Anonymous August 9, 2011 2:26 PM

4.1 (it was 4.8)! Dont hate the game just because you don't have one.

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Anonymous August 9, 2011 2:50 PM

I thought the guy was dead, and that's why there is no response from the girl. The grey world represents the depression of losing a loved one, and you're bringing memories back to the girl, thus giving color to her world again. The most telling part was probably the flower that you bring that's next to a grave

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Jegsy Scarr August 9, 2011 4:00 PM

I was almost crying at this game! So beautiful!

I suppose it's open to interpretation, but in my eyes, the story would be something like this:

At the start of the game, we see a young couple (probably boyfriend and girlfriend, but could be husband and wife, I suppose). The girl seems upset, even depressed, and we see the boyfriend trying his best to make her happy. After many unsuccessful attempts, he sets out to bring "colour" into his girlfriend's life (whether literally or metaphorically) by bringing her gifts. Eventually, after finding her enough things, he succeeds, and his girlfriend begins to cheer up again...only for her boyfriend to fade away. He is a ghost. It was his death which had brought so much sadness to the girl, but at last, he has helped her out of her depression. Satisfied that she will now be able to move on with her life without him, he is able to pass over to the other side...

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AbortTheMission Author Profile Page August 9, 2011 5:54 PM

i agree with Jegsy Scarr because

of the grave found beside the yellow flower

very touching game. i loved it. :)

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Anonymous August 9, 2011 5:57 PM

those who have been in a toxic relationship might also see a parallel -- going to the ends of the earth to find all the things that you think will make them happy, only to realize that they now have this beautiful technicolor world and you have given until you have nothing left to give -- to yourself or to them, and you feel like you have faded to grey.

(yeah it was ugly, and yeah, I'm okay and with a great partner)

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Asthanius Author Profile Page August 9, 2011 5:59 PM

@Jegsy:

I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out you were dead. If you go all the way to the right, you can see a gravestone right next to a cliff. I'm thinking it might be your grave.

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so sad it hurt

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As the father of a young girl, I interpreted the story as a child coming to terms with her father's death. Each item (memory?) brought to her helps her remember that joy and "color" he brought into the world. When she experiences enough memories, her grieving is finished and she can face life again. The items seem like they are appropriate for a child.

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Good call Jay & Dora and whoever else decided to pull this from the link dump. I am a fan of art games in general, but this one especially hit the mark for me. I figured it might be worth making copy-pasta from my comment last Friday to share with people my point of view on Grey. After all, I think art games are about the reaction each person gets to the game (as with all art), and then sharing that reaction with others. Anyhow, here is my thoughts as posted before.

Right away I could see that the girl was not just sitting there, but lost in thought. Since the character you play was moving around and active, I could see his world wasn't the grey one, it was hers. The first item I found was the one by the grave (the yellow flower), which told me the character I was playing was dead, thus explaining her grey world. I didn't see it as you playing a ghost, though, but rather looking at the world through her eyes.

At first, all she can think about is him. Everything else is stark and immobile, but he is still so very real. Gradually, though, sparks of colour come back as she sees there is still joy. He fades out of her mind, slowly, as other things begin to come into focus. By the end, he disperses into everything around her, because even though she isn't overwhelmed with sorrow anymore, everything she sees has a hint of him in it. She could never look at a blue lake without thinking of the necklace he gave her, or see an orange sunset without thinking of the teddybear he had.

This game captures amazingly, to me, the feeling of losing someone you love, moving on, and yet never having them be truly gone.

Perhaps this is just my point of view and I'm reading too far into it.

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CrankYanker Author Profile Page August 10, 2011 3:22 AM

First of all, I love this game. I loved it when it was in the Link Dump, and I love it now. Good find!

On another note, I'm having mixed results playing the games on this site. More often than not the games will either not load, or the flash doesn't auto-start, and I have to right-click on it and select "Play". It's a crap-shoot on whether a specific game will work. For instance, I was able to play this game when it was in the Link Dump, but I haven't been able to play it this time around.

More often than not, I have to try to figure out where else I can find the game (easy, if the developer is specifically mentioned), or search for another site hosting the game.

I'd love to stay on JIG for all of my online gaming needs, but I can't do it consistently.

(Win7x64, i7 1.6ghz, 8gb, FF 5.0, Flash 10.3 r181)

[Thanks for the report, and the system info, MUCH appreciated! :) First off, the game is not hosted any differently than it was when it was in the link dump, so your experience shouldn't be any different. That said, we are having issues with our content delivery network this week, so that may be affecting whether the game loads for you or not. The problem should be resolved today, so if you continue to have issues with games not loading for you, please send me an email to our contact address (found in the site footer) and I'll reply to you personally and figure out what the problem could be. All our game pages have been tested in all the major browsers on both Mac OS and Windows, so I'm sure it must be either something temporary, as with our CDN, or configuration related. Thanks again! -Jay]

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Just wanted to say thanks to Dora and Jay who took the time to read and reply to my posts in the Link Dump Friday where I complained about not reviewing Grey in detail.

As someone who runs my own website and is reliant on affiliate payments and reviews/online sales myself, I totally understand your need to fulfil a certain income need. I wasn't really complaining about that, and again, your site to do with what you feel.

My real beef was that there was a good game in the mix of Link Dumps that was of a quality and style that usually gets its own review here (thinking of OneMrBean in particular, same quality/style). Link Dump Fridays tend to be more about lesser quality games that are still worth a look, but not really worth its own review space. I just felt like Grey was being dumped in the trash when it should have gotten its own space .... And now it has, and I'm all happy! :)

I certainly appreciate all the hard work you guys do and have discovered (and purchased) many games via your site (including BigFish stuff), as well as become fans of some incredible game designers who offer their wares for free. There are games presented here that I've bookmarked and come back to time and again. This has been the first time I've made a 'complaint' on this site since first discovering it probably 6 or 7 years ago. So all in all, just a regular reader who wanted to see a good game get its moment in the light :)

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As I said on Link Dump...

I found the flower last, so that's when I discovered that he was dead; at first I thought that the point was that she was depressed and couldn't see the colours of life, and he wanted to make her happy again to the point of disappearing because after seeing the coloured world again she would not need him anymore and he would just "disappear" from her thoughts.

But then I saw the grave, and suddendly understood. For this reasons, it really gave me the chills at the end.

Another darker possible interpretation could be that SHE is dead and he invests so much in "bringing her back" that eventually loses himself.

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baramburum Author Profile Page August 10, 2011 12:50 PM

Funny idea and nice play.

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PrincessTeD August 10, 2011 12:59 PM

This is what I took from it. The girl was sad because her mom died, You play her boyfriend trying to cheer her up. I n the end, you succeed, but was it worth it? I didn't seem like she had any reaction to you, she got up because of the bird, from my perspective. Or because of herself, but the flower was the only thing that made her notice you. Here, I wrote a (badly-written, warn you) story about it:

"I searched high and low, and brought her back a rare green lucky clover. I then began to notice how beautiful the blades of dewy green grass were, in a seemingly bland and lifeless world. But she was still not responding. I scoured the world around me, and brought a fancy brown teddy bear to her, but she simply placed it on the ground beside her without a word. During my search, I realized the brown dirt beneath my bare feet felt comforting and warm. I brought her a lovely blue pearl necklace, abandoned at the top of a tall tree. I noticed the mesmerizing deep blue ponds and contagiously cheerful butterflies along the way. I suddenly noticed a yellow daisy in front of me. I bent down, picked it up, and continued on. I reached the cliff she sat by, letting the wind gently toss her beautiful brown hair around playfully, and handed it to her without a word. No words were needed. Instead of simply picking it up, and putting it down beside her like the other gifts, she took it from my hands gingerly, and held it to her face, eyes closed, and inhaled the sweet aroma. She sighed, then placed it in the dirt beside her, patting it gently to make sure it was planted, then went back to staring vacantly at the horizen. I discovered a pink ribbon, lying all by itself on the ground. I picked it up, dusted it off, and presented it to her, hoping for some validation, some proof, that my efforts were not in vain, that I was appreciated, needed, Loved. I felt so lonely. A horrible feeling arouse inside me. Maybe I was not worth anything. Maybe I would do this, create all this beauty, and die here, alone. She does not like me. She does not love me. Who could ever love me? I was foolish to think she cared. I might as well just die right here. I paused. No, I must keep moving. Must not think, simply think of cheering her up. she needs me. I must help. I handed it to her. she put it down. A dove flew down and pecked at the ground behind her. I departed. I wandered until I spotted a purple lolly on the table in an abandoned basement. I took it to take to her. I realized I was fading. Soon there will be nothing left of me at all. No. I must not think like that. I must help. I must be WORTH something. She placed the lolly on the ground by the dove. the dove flew in front of her, pecking at the dirt between her feet. I thought about the priceless purple gems beneath the earth, how safe and peaceful they were, asleep under a bed of rock, to forever rest. I found the balloon, handed i to her. she stood, held the dove, let it fly free, watched it go, smiling happily. I faded, and faded, and died. and right after I died, she turned around. I saw her wonder about me for a moment, then simply walk away. she did not care. she had never cared. all my life, it was only for her, and all that time,,, killing myself for er, she does not love me. I hate that I am in Heaven. I do not belong here. For I would rather feel the eternal torture of Hell a million times over, then deal with all this regret, all of this pain in eternity, forever more
End~

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Perhaps the more you give the more your world becomes a beautiful place. I liked this game.

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Am I the only one who thinks it is time for more flash games to offer different video size options? Especially when playing artistic games like this one I find it very strange playing inside a tiny little box inside my browser.

It's even more jarring when the webpage has a distracting background (in this case a bunch of purple cubes that completely clashed with the whole point of the game).

I'm not a programmer, so I have no idea how hard it is to include different resolution options or even full screen in flash. Still, it seems like flash games have evolved so much over the past few years and this is one of the glaring holdovers from the way things were done in the old days.

[I've made the background black for this particular game, if you think that looks better and is more appropriate for the game. As for larger game areas in Flash, since Flash is so CPU-intensive, many games just wouldn't be playable from the low frame rates that would result. -Jay]

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I loved this on the Link Dump Friday, glad it got its own little post! I agree with the majority of people that story is

you play the role of a loved one - boyfriend, husband, father, friend, whatever! - of the girl, but someone who has died. Each item you bring to the girl brings back some happiness and restores colour to her world. She realises she has all those happy memories which won't die, and can finally be at peace, allowing you to do the same. The main thing that made me think that was when you go and collect the yellow item. It's a flower laid at a grave.

Anyway, I loved it. I don't think the comment about the game play being bland and repetitive is really fair, since by that logic most games are repetitive. Of course, as you said, it's all subjective anyway! But that's my 2 cents. Definitely 5/5!

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I loved this game, so glad to see it get its own review rather than shoved in a link dump. Also gonna have to disagree with the bit in the review about the controls and repetitiveness; I found no problem with the controls, they remind me a bit of KOLM, which is a good thing. And the game wasn't really long enough to even be able to HAVE repetition. Always nice to see a game that makes you think like this without sacrificing gameplay.

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Ah, thanks Jay. I think black should make for a great background with this game. Also thanks for explaining why flash games tend to use smaller areas of the screen. I'd heard that flash was CPU intensive, but guess I hadn't realized just how much.

With most action or arcade style flash games I don't really notice, but with these more artistic games I find myself wanting to be as engrossed as possible in the game.

In any case, as usual you rock about taking feedback into consideration. Just another reason this is among my very favorite websites.

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SnackTastick Author Profile Page August 12, 2011 6:40 PM

The idea that sticks for me as the most realistic, is that he gives so much he has nothing left of himself, and is no longer apart of her new technicolor world like Jiguest said before. If you want the grave stone justified in this interpretation- he's compromised his ideals to the point of stealing from a grave, but to no avail. She is unresponsive until he is gone, nothing he could do while they were together could help her see him, or the things he did for her. Finally She understands the world is open to her, and does not need him, causing him to fade from her reality like so much smoke on the breeze. Incredible analogy to most women in my own (bad)experience(s).

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SnackTastick Author Profile Page August 12, 2011 6:41 PM

and yes, I almost cried at the end too.

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RainbowOfChaos Author Profile Page August 15, 2011 7:04 PM

While it was a little repetitive, the ending was definitely worth playing through the game for. 5 stars!

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Never thought a little flash game could make me cry for 10 minutes...

If you are a human being with emotions then you will love this game.

If you are a kid looking for fun, go play terraria or something.

I wish more games would try and be as emotional as this, at the very least as interpretive.

(spoilers after this yo)

The message of the game is fairly clear and everyone seems to agree that it has to deal with someones death and how through material possessions that tie in to happy memories of the person it is easier to overcome the loss.

As it stands it seems more of a comment of how it is important to make memories with the people you while you still have a chance. It was less about a ghost or w/e bringing these items to the girl, but the memory of the items as she discovered them in her mind by traveling with the memory of her lost one bringing her joy.

In the end she was ready to face the fact that he wasn't there anymore, now that she could stand to see the world as it really was.

Could also be a note on how when you lose someone it will undoubtedly make you eventually see the world in a much more vibrant way than you could have ever realized.

Oh well I've already said too much, an amazing game for anyone not looking for a "game".

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evilkitty75 August 27, 2011 4:04 PM

Ok so i loved this lil 'game' so relaxing n peaceful 2 play thank you soo sooooo very much xxxxx

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HipsterSharkWitch Author Profile Page September 10, 2011 5:13 PM

This game reminded me of a girl I know. She tends to treat guys like they are nothing, but expects a lot from them at the same time. I've seen her go through guy after guy who gives everything he has and then leaves when he can't give anymore, and she never appreciates them until after they're gone. Now that I think about the grave and how she doesn't seem to see him and all that, I see how it probably symbolizes his death. Whatever the story is, it's a beautiful game.

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Anonymous October 14, 2011 4:34 PM

why in the world do the trees turn blue?

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i think the story is one different from any that has been told here thus far. To me, the little guy has always lived in his grey world, always played it safe and never bothered with the shiny bright colorful objects littered around his world. But then one day he comes upon this girl sitting alone and unresponsive. He's worried for her well-being, so he deicdes to finally try touching the colorful objects. He picks each one up and brings it to her, hoping it will help. When she still doesn't respond, he tries harder, not even taking note that his world is changing or that ghosts of himself follow him wherever he goes (btw am i the only one who noticed that???!!!). He eventually runs out of things to give this girl, this odd stranger that he has fallen in love with. His only peace comes when she stands in the exciting new world of color and substance he has made for her and releases her (pet?) dove. He blows away on the breeze, touching the world with his spirit forevrmore. *end* so... whaddya think? also the macabre music was a nice touch

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jennykim610 Author Profile Page January 6, 2014 8:20 AM

Lesson: Do not have girlfriends who want everything and will make you go into poverty.
Yeah, lesson learned.

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Ooooorrr

you play a ghost who reminds the woman who loved you before you died that there is still colour and beauty in the world with you gone, and eventually you can fade away and be at peace because she's no longer clinging to your memory.

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