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Blue Suburbia

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Rating: 4.6/5 (30 votes)
Comments (54) | Views (8,267)

JohnB In Blue Suburbia, artist and flash designer Nathalie Lawhead creates a magnificently dark and dramatic world filled with striking imagery and haunting vignettes. bluesuburbia.jpgThe project began as a small animation on her website and grew to incorporate her own poetry and a number of small scenes commenting on western society and the modern school system. The application is more like an experiment in interactive poetry rather than a game, as there's no real goal, purpose or progression. Even still, Blue Suburbia is an absolutely stunning piece of artwork that you'll want to explore to its fullest.

As you move around in the dark, disconnected world, you'll come across Nathalie's writing embedded in objects or fading between various short scenes. There is rarely a clear path to take, you simply explore by moving the mouse and seeing what happens. It's exciting and chilling all at the same time, as you never really know what you'll stumble across next. Walking through doors, clicking on words or otherwise discovering a new area initiates a short scene interspersed with text. They're all different, they're all a little breathtaking, and they're completely fascinating to watch.

Nathalie best explains the underlying meaning to the various scenes and poetry found in Blue Suburbia:
"I find myself troubled about the wastefulness of our western society. From birth on, children are increasingly fed medication to control their behavior only to be plugged into society and used for someone else's profit. Modern civilization seems to be obsessed with producing and consuming... These kids had everything but personal value and purpose. That's why my suburbia is blue."

You'll be completely enamored by the dark atmosphere and haunting scenery in Blue Suburbia. Although the content is safe for all to view, due to the poignant and graphic nature of some of the images you might want to keep the little ones out of the room.



This game is fun


Um, the artist writes explicitly on her website that this is not a game. So please don't expect it to be one.


That is a beatiful piece of art. Some of the poetry early on reaks of angst ridden live journal nonsense, but some of the later pieces are breathtaking. I especially liked the poems in the school


um, sorry jay but, i click on "paint a dream" in the opening sequence, get taken to a bunch of fireflies going in erratic patterns, and then im stuck. what do i do to move on? am i missing somethin?

Michael June 17, 2006 9:44 PM

This is absolutely amazing. Everyone with a taste for the more sophisticated will enjoy this.

Absintheur June 17, 2006 10:11 PM

This was thought provoking to say the least, it isn't a game but rather a point and click path through the creater's thoughts and mind. Some is disturbing some causes wonder...make sure you explore all you can for the full effect...

OrionBlack June 17, 2006 11:49 PM

This animation is simply beautiful!
It seems to grasp the emotion quite well.
It makes me want to go read some Edgar Allen Poe.

Scratch N' Sniff June 18, 2006 1:59 AM

I've been exploring jayisgames.com for half a year or so now, i camt remember, but this is one of the best pieces i've seen. i've many of similar art forms but this really takes a non-linear and subversive feel to it and creates a very beautiful experience. i loved the poetry and the art, altogether a very well done piece.

Dustfinger June 18, 2006 9:23 AM

Beautiful... totally beautiful...


This was really cool and thought-provoking...I wish there had been a LITTLE more linearity to it so I knew when I had seen everything! (Like pieces to collect from each room that could be combined to visit a final room...so you had to watch everything before you could view the last scene.) I didn't want to miss anything but I'm afraid I might have!


beautiful game


stephen June 18, 2006 1:12 PM

That was more like a disturbed poem than a game


Beautiful. Simply amazing. The artwork and poetry were breathtaking.


That was intense, but incredibly beautiful, not only in its visuals but in its wording as well; plus the music was nearly haunting, but added to the effect. Very well done.


Really nice! I haven't seen any interactive art websites this cool since Larry Carlson's Virtual Om. You folks should check him out by the way: www.larrycarlson.com


Hey, I remember Nathalie Lawhead! She was featured in a collection of digital flash artists some time ago. I lost the link some time ago, and I'm glad to see it's here. ^^


that was absolutely brilliant work. so deep and dark. i've not come across anything like this. makes u wonder on the creators' thoughts.


Visually it's very wonderful. Poetically, it shifts between being genius and being a tad cliche. But, in all seriousness, there's a lot locked in this, and I respect it.

My favorite bundle of lines is the one

involving the chalk outline.
"who Who? who Who who broke the Refugee?"
"the the The butcher, The HATEr, the (great big) decision maker, Turn them out! Traitors all three."

I'm not sure if she's the original writer of the lines, but they are amazingly well done.


Hey I love this! It is absolutly beautifull. And I really want to get all the way through is to see everything. I have a problem though. I am stuck in the by the rose and I have a key that have a key that went up from the coprner now but I don't know how to get on. the cross on the top tels me to stop like there is something I am missing, that i am supposed to do there and in another room with the chair I go up to the bookshelf andthere is a glass of wine and a book with a keyhole that is bleeding. I'm thinking maybe the key fits there but I can't use it. And when I go to it an eye apeares and a voice is telling me to rest and the word soon, like there is something I am missing and I have to wait.The end of the hallway also tells me to wait. I think I have been everywhere, but I am oviously missing something. I'm a bit lost and I really would love to get some help. The game/ journey is beautifull and I really want to finish it! And thans again Jay. I love your gamesight!


It seems that the author haven't finished the whole "place" yet, so you have to wait until she finishes it, thet's why it sais "soon"


This is beautiful.
I'm almost sure that in some parts the same music as in the movie Waking Life is being used. Anyone who can affirm this?

And great site Jay, I've been visiting here since 2004 and I still check every few days. I just can't seem to find stuff like this on my own. Thanks!

Jimi Who June 21, 2006 12:39 PM

Why would someone with so much talent choose to create a work that is so morbid. Why must everything "beautiful" also be depressing. I would have preferred to see something lighthearted and fun, rather than gloomy and mournful, which are two adjectives I would use to describe this game.


Because underneath that brand-name, shrink-wrapped product that promises to improve your love life and bring happiness ever after, is the cold, dark reality that life is not perfect.


the music used in there is from Bethoven, do you identify Claire de Lune, Für Elise and the other one that I don't remember... it's great, it's great how she uses the music for the ambience.

Maskros June 22, 2006 2:19 PM

I think I heard Moonlight Sonata in there as well. Really cool interactive mix of sound, gfx and poetry in this one!


I agree that the artwork and the poetry are beautiful, amazingly beautiful, but to be perfectly honest I found it pretty hard to follow and fully absorb it all. Just my opinion. Still beautiful nonetheless.

njm10Amarillo June 27, 2006 10:06 AM

This was fantastic. Throwing poetry and opinions in a beautiful casing of artistic ability. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope the creator brings a lot more like it soon. Keep up the good work.


not scary, just... disturbing.
The poem "rosebushes" is really


Still, I suppose poems are anything you cant classify really...


My god... That was the single-most beautiful and engaging bit of webart that I've ever seen I hope Nathalie continues to add to it.

ControllableDisaster November 6, 2006 11:30 PM

This is a beautiful piece of politically inspired art. The words used and the image conveyed by the poems and the art is so inspiring, yet depressing. I must say, if I had to choose one piece of art to be stuck for eternity with, I would choose this.


Absolutely beautiful. Very few pieces on the web really engage you and challenge you to think past the veil- and this does it. I'll admit, sometimes I had to really think to understand what she was commenting on, but that's what I loved about it.

The only thing is I wish parts of it were clearer...I understand it being fragmented is part of the whole experience and it is meant to make you uncomfortable and uncertain, but the parts that she had not finished...I wish she could have clearly marked what you can access at this point and what you can't.

Swan Dewitt December 25, 2006 12:34 AM

it's almost driving me insane.. i cant sleep... i cried.. i thought id die!! for real.. My boyfriend told me about it..


Obviously a very talented artist who is better at painting than she is at writing poetry. The art is uniformly breathtaking and inspiring, every screen is like a whole different world, like exploring a museum. Art with a capital A. It's nice to see this game and Dungeonman 3 (and Gammabros) all the same website!


This is a wonderful piece of art. It has so many layers, you'll spend hours pouring through it. One thing I just found out, which is why I'm posting, is that the hallway looks different every time (note: I've only looked up this twice). It's worth it to take a peek, even if you aren't into the morbid details.

DoomWeaver April 7, 2007 1:52 PM

unbelivable artwork, and i dont just mean the drawings. the poems are breathtaking. i hope Nathalie decides to make another game, or rather work of art.


Did ayone else see the movie on the television screen. While disturbing, the sense of true irony makes it a beautiful peice of art.


hey click the word master when it is raining before you even play and you get someone to talk to called minibyte

byebyebaby August 8, 2007 11:21 PM

I agree with Jimmy Who

This is an amazing piece of art, and the message is strong. I understand that the creator is making a statement, a powerful one at that, and the medium of interactive poetry works well.
I would still be curious to see if the creator could do something just as powerful without being so depressing and horrific. This scares me more than it inspires me.
As interactive emotion, this is genius. I can feel anger, terror, sadness...
The poetry is brilliant.

I wonder why these issues affect the creator so strongly. Some of these issues seem almost melodrama-ized to the point where it is hard to sympathize. If there was a bit more storyline in certain parts, or the creator could explain a bit more,

especially in the part with the children at 'school'

Then it might be more subtle, drawing the viewer in, as opposed to the hit-with-a-train feeling I experienced after watching some parts. It all depends on what the creator wanted to do, and maybe overwhelming the viewer was the intention (to prove a point); if so, the creator suceeded.


part was spectacular, and my favorite part of the piece. GREAT WORK!!

Overall, I love it as a work of art and a well-crafted means of expression. The creator is a wonderful writer and the poetry haunting, mysterious, and thought-provoking.


I loved the reference to Billie Holiday's song Strange Fruit.
That song really captures the mood of a lot of Nathalie's art.


I had to...stop playing...


Absolutely beautiful. And it's not too difficult to find your way around, contrary to what some people thought.


I must say, with sadness, that i do not find this too good. If a cheery thing with such power was made, i would be absolutely impressed. But this, so horrific, depressing and morbid just makes me sad. I understand that other people would find this great, but i do not feel such power in this game. A 3/5 will suffice.

Mastermind July 20, 2009 1:59 PM

Is this just disturbing, or drop-the-computer-and-run-for-the-hills scary? I might take a look at this, but I get freaked out easily by things in this genre.

charmaine July 21, 2009 8:49 AM

Great graphics, but I wish it would stop zooming all over the place. It stresses the eyes. MUST there be so much zooming and swirling around to bring the message across?

Mastermind July 21, 2009 3:34 PM

I freaked out, like I predicted. The blue blurb in the review ruined it for me. I read it before looking at Blue Suburbia, and even before I started it up, I had this feeling of unease. I got to the part were the rat dies, then closed the game because it was too horrible and too true for me to go any further. Since I'm school-age, I now feel as if I'm some sort of tool for modern society, and therefore I was doubly disturbed by the meaning behind the images and poems. If the content would have been toned down VEEERY slightly, then perhaps I would have found it enjoyable. It was beautiful, but extremely morbid.



It was really hard for me to read.

Like...Not emotionally. Just like...

Annoying on the eyes. Everything shakes. And the words are hard to read. I know its supposed to be emotionally geared and stuff like that...but that doesn't mean I should have to strain myself trying to read.


Or maybe that's just me and my terrible eyesight.

Dylan Moore May 20, 2010 6:28 PM

can someone help?
i cant get the game to start
ill click the IN part on intrude and it will take me to a screen that has the option IN and Back
I try to click IN but its like its scratched out
help please?

ThisGameRox June 18, 2010 9:45 PM

You see, this is why I am Republican. The government. The slanted media. I see through it all, because I have maintained myself. The message is, BE YOURSELF. Don't let anyone tell you to be someone besides YOU.


this..game..is beautiful.. Never have i seen a game like this. The character is delusional yet stills holds a conscience...the character is either sad because he caused all of this or is sad because this happened to him..... I need help beating it, can someone lend a hand?or Two?


A beautiful piece... But the only factor that irked me was the poem about the


The wrong "to" was used several times. It disappointed me. Where it was supposed to be "too", Miss Lawhead used "to". It is a simple mistake that many people make.

I am responding to Emmah July 23, 2010 11:11 AM

Hey Emmah:
I think that's intentional, because there was also a poem that went:
I am not expected to know,
For knowledge makes one's mind grow
And there is no room for individuality
In status quo.
Or something like that. I think the misspellings were to not only reinforce that point, but also because the whole time, it mentions middle-class people as if they were the (lower-middle) working class. So I think that was all intentional. Wow this really was too long just to respond to someone's post. :o

joe yuoung July 30, 2010 3:48 PM

"can someone help?
i cant get the game to start
ill click the IN part on intrude and it will take me to a screen that has the option IN and Back
I try to click IN but its like its scratched out
help please"

hey dylan moore. i had the same problem. you have to use internet explorer. if you use firefox, or google chrome, or any other browser, it doesn't work. it sucks, i had no idea what the problem was for the longest time. because i always use google chrome. i've been DYING to play this game for like 2 years, cause i didn't know what the problem was. well now i know, i found out recently :/


I thought that this game was breathtaking. The art was magnificent along with the poetry. But I am stuck on one part that I cant seem to get out of, the part where there is the rose in the middle with all of the poetry around it. I cant find the way to get back. I could use a hand please.


Actually, she changed her mind. It is a game.


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