The Majesty of Colors
The Majesty of Colors, by Gregory Weir, is an expressive interactive story about choices and consequences. You play the part of a nightmarish Lovecraftian beast from the undiscovered ocean depths, as it creeps to the surface and encounters the human race for the first time. A first-person narrative provides context, and helps guide you through your emotional encounter with this confusing new world.
Your only means of interaction is a single, sinuous tentacle. Hold the mouse button on things to pick them up, and release to drop them. The branching storyline takes place through a series of vignettes, and your fate depends on your conduct in each situation. There are five possible endings, and each story is quite brief.
Go play the game first, before you read any further. It won't take long, and I don't want to spoil anything for you.
Analysis: This is very similar to Daniel Benmergui's charming I Wish I Were the Moon, both in structure and graphical style. I found The Majesty of Colors more compelling, though, because its interface is more concrete and personal, and because its narration sets the scene so well. Plus I like giant be-tentacled monsters rargh rargh.
I found that each individual vignette was so well framed, I instinctively knew what I needed to do in order to succeed, whatever my moral compass decided success should be in that moment. The blocky, pixelated graphics are a strength here, rather than a mere style choice. By abstracting the artwork so much, Weir lets us project our own stories onto the characters. After I had already discovered all the endings, I found myself doing strange unscripted things, like dangling a shark in the air in front of a surely terrified child, or trying to hand out balloons to fishermen.
It would be interesting if more of these random interactions were supported in the game. Although it initially feels open-ended, The Majesty of Colors focuses on a narrow range of possibilities, and that means the experience is over too soon. Why can't I snatch sea gulls out of the sky? Why can't I drag myself over to the island and steal the beach towel? It's a small world, so let me explore it fully.
It's rare to play something with its roots in emotion, rather than mere atmosphere. I can relate to this game, because I once had a dream about vibrant colors that I would never see again. Because I've looked down upon the seething crowds of New York from a 40th-story window. Because I knew a girl who dreamed every night about a sea full of floating corpses. Because I've turned strangers into friends, and friends into strangers.