Trigger warning: transgendered individuals may find this game triggering. Loved by Alexander Ocias is a short platformer about... well, that's up to you. The game controls with the [arrow] keys, and from time to time you're given choices you can make simply by clicking on words on the screen. A voice follows you throughout the game, instructing you to do various things (or not), and whether you obey affects both your possible ending and the world around you.
So in essence the game boils down to deciding whether to question the directives you're given. Typically if you disobey, the game frowns on you for it. The whole thing has a very stark and unsettling presentation, and this was probably a smart choice; with its minimal design, Loved provides a blank canvas for you to project your own emotions and thoughts onto. Considering Ocias claims he wanted to make something "confrontational", letting players draw their own conclusions and experiences was the best decision to make. Of course, this does mean that people who aren't interested in introspection are going to look at it and wonder what all the fuss is about; Loved is extremely short, and not particularly difficult, and even a few playthroughs will take less than ten minutes.
Loved is also interesting in that I took two possible meanings from it, and one I really disliked. I've seen people "explaining" the game to other players, and I'm not sure I think that's the right thing to do; after all, if I feel one way about something designed to provoke a personal reaction and you feel another, does that mean one of us really needs to be right in our interpretations? Which in turn raises another interesting question. Is art only successful if it explains itself to everyone? If everyone "gets it" or loves it? Or is it still a success if just one person in the whole world looks at it and catches their breath? As a game, Loved is a relatively simple and straightforward platformer. Whether it's something else, something important, largely depends on how you look at it.
Great game, I even obeyed all the orders (all of it). I even like it when the surroundings change.
I wish I could play this now, but my mother wants to listen to music. Is there a Sound on/off button I'm not seeing?
Whoa! I played both ways and was disturbed both times. But I felt stronger when I disobeyed.
I got a few different endings. Can't really tell if they are good or bad, but fun none the less.
It gets a lot harder near the end if you make a habit of not listening to the voice.
A good "replay" button would suffice.
did anyone else find themselves whispering "i'm sorry" to the screen?
you can just feel the emotion in the voice.
Thank you Dora for not giving us your interpretation of the game. That was a sign of respect to us readers, that you cared enough to let us get our own understanding without your weighty influence.
Huh, that was creepy. I'm pretty confident of my interpretation, although I may be misreading it--
it seemed to be a game-narrative about abusive relationships, especially clear when you disobey or act contrarily to the voice. But much like real bad relationships, you become safer and the world becomes easier to deal with when you obey your own instincts.
I'm curious if anyone else has the same impression.
I felt really bad everytime i disobeyed...
My head hurt and i got really stressed...
This game is a complete mind fudge...
Not the right game to play during a revision break =[
Someone mentioned that it should have a replay button. I disagree.
I think the lack of 'replay' is almost a stylistic choice that just ... adds to that horrid hopelessness of the entire thing. The sick feeling that you get with every dirty compliment and blunt insult. It's a realization that despite whatever this voice says there isn't a replay, there's no way to start over, and if you obey, there's no way to go back.
I'm the type of person who likes gore and creepy things and who doesn't blink an eye but rather is fascinated at horror. This game made me uncomfortable.
It was fantastic.
A friend tells me that there is a question statue on the cliff to the left of where you start. Hm.
Reminds me of What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver
Sounds more to me about a comment on parent/child relationships. I don't want to delve into it too deeply in order not to spoil anything, but following instructions when I said I was a boy and the ensuing end made that very much clear. Also, when you're always disobeying, the final comments of the voice make it pretty clear you're "leaving the house" and start a life of your own.
Here's my two cents, I'll put it all in spoiler tags mainly to not clog the whole comment section.
What I find really interesting is that when you obey, the game becomes progressively easier to play: many of the steps become slopes which you can walk over without needing to jump. At one point this even helps you since you don't need to make a long jump all the way over a chasm. On the other hand, if you do follow the voice, you need to kill yourself just after passing a tricky spot which you then need to do again. And equally, taking the lower route in the beginning is more difficult, but the voice tells you to take it anyway. So I would interpret that as a (possibly slightly warped, especially with the "do I own your body or mind" question) parent/child relationship: the voice pushes you to test your limits, not take the easy way etc. And this makes you stronger and thus the advancing easier.
Quite telling of course is also the ending if you obey the whole way through: the voice acknowledges you as an adult, and you are able to literally climb a mountain and reach ... whatever it is you reach in the end.
On my first playthrough I disobeyed in every way possible, and immediately thought the game represented an abusive husband/wife relationship. Especially with it ending in pleas of wanting to start over etc. I found the colored squares to be distracting, and a hindrance. I saw them as a representation of the protagonist freeing themself from that abusive relationship, and seeing the world outside of that relationship.
It has been a while since I stopped by. I only played for a minute. No time to play and I am not very good at platform games - lots of dying. No fun.
However, the character reminds me of Totoro, from a Japanese anime film directed by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli.
red squares that follow the character are frustrating and creepy. I felt as if I was being clung to by the voice that wanted to control me
Alexander Ocias has really created something special here. I avoid platformers where possible, but this one kept me enthralled.
I took three different approaches to the game
Always disobey. I said I was a man the game said I was a girl. I asked to be told how to play the game said I didn't deserve it. What a jerk, Im not listening to you. Ended in a cave and asked me to re start
Always obeyed. Black and white world, not to bad.
Only obeyed if it didn't adversely effect me. No suicides and took the easier path in the beginning. Still got the 'You're a man' ending with the coin on the mountain.
Really enjoyed this. Very nice work.
Verne. I made it onto the first ledge to the left of the start, but not quite onto the top one yet, I do not see any such statue though.
I was wondering - what is it about the voice that left such a strong impact?
I almost forgot to add,
if you follow the obedient all the way to the end, is there a difference if you skip the coin?
I initially played the game without music the first time around. Maybe this didn't complete my experience? A strong reaction? What did you feel upon playing the game?
After several times, it can feel almost stiffening.
I don't know if I agree with a prohibition on explaining meaning & art.
For instance, if I tell you a story about my partner (let's say an argument), you might point out possible other motives that I did not ascribe to myself or him in my original narration. Or you might relate a similar story about you and your partner in the past how you interpenetrated that similar event. In both cases there is a strong possibility that a second opinion expanded, not constricted, potential meanings, giving the action and the story a richer narration.
So my theory for best enjoyment of art is experience it first, then talk about it with others to see it through their eyes, without discarding your own experience.
so for my experience
I played it through following the dictates of the voice, and I played it through contrary to the voice. I found it interesting that submissive or rebellious at the end of the game either way I was loved. So, for me at the moment of this game, the message I am choosing to take away is have faith in my own path, because at the end of the game I am a lovable person :D
Thanks to everyone for sharing your experiences. (All these comments go straight to my e-mail and I've enjoyed reading your interpretations. As I've said, they're all valid, and very interesting!) Also, thanks to everyone who spoiler'd their more in-depth analysis; I really think whatever the developer might have intended, this is a game where you take from it what you want to take, so it should be approached with a clean slate.
... wow I'm pretty hoity-toity tonight. Where'd I put my beret and bongo drums?
Also, for the record, I'm not advocating prohibiting discussion. I'm personally advocating spoiler tags so people who want to share their experiences can, while those that haven't played the game yet can browse the comments without having their impressions coloured.
By no means am I saying you cannot share your viewpoint, whatever it may be.
Also, nobody has mentioned one of either of my interpretations yet. That's kind of interesting. I wonder what that says about my psyche?
Here's what I thought the game was about:
No matter which path you take, I think it was about systematic stripping away of you, the player's, identity, and ultimately total invalidation. Starting from the very first with "No, you're a boy/girl." Even the "disobedient" path is one of total manipulation by the voice, because you can't choose to do something else entirely: only obey or disobey. Sometimes obeying is the more natural thing to do (that is, if this were a normal platformer without instructions), and sometimes disobeying is.
To me, being assured that you're loved at the end is a final invalidation, because no matter if you're obeying or disobeying, you ought to feel creeped as all get out by that point, not loved. "No," says the game, "you are loved." Invalidating again.
Thank you for sharing your interpretations.
Initially, I wasn't sure what to expect. Reading the comments added the scope of a "relationship" to consider, however I thought it could be about mental health. Perhaps an individual with schizophrenia or maybe a struggle with depression. The mind can create its own reality, while your own expectations of how you want to be can be fulfilled or distorted. Even the frustration experienced with these negative thoughts, a reflection of self esteem, and the steps one takes to either feel worse or better...
I hope everyone shares more of what they experienced for this game. I honestly find it fascinating.
Dora and Jig present us again with an artistic game which is not one of those that try to rub in our noses their artfulness, but have no play value what so ever.
Imo, the games with story and meaning, but also with playability, like this one, are the best kind of game.
So, symbolism... If we consider the consensus here, coupled with my own similar opinion, that the game represents
some kind of bad, or abusive relationship, be it parent- child, or a couple, main point being one side plays power-games on other side - the detailed spikes and lack of colour might indicate bad, but familiar setting, which leads to "bad" ending where you
fall into bottomless pit, and the voice says you will be his/hers forever,
and disobedience leads to
more color, but at the same time, setting is unfamiliar, more vague, pixellated, etc. On that ending you have a choice at the end will you go away, or stay with someone.
Reminds me of Air pressure: https://jayisgames.com/archives/2010/03/air_pressure.php
My reaction (with spoiler tags to be on the safe side)
The first time I played it through, I obeyed all the commands, and found I had this really strong desire to obey and to feel validated by the voice. I didn't have any sort of emotional connection at all when I disobeyed. It was just another game. It probably just has to do with my personality, but I really wanted to listen to the voice... Anyway, great, if slightly disturbing, game.
Dora: I would actually like to hear your interpretations, if you're comfortable sharing them. Especially the one you disliked so.
Disobyed, obeyed, never died, woman, man...
When I played it I thought it was probably a statement about religion or God, but what about religion it was trying to say, I had no idea.
Interesting idea. Horrible, horrible performance (and I'm not saying that just to be abusive). Unless it's supposed to suddenly change speed in the middle of jumps, in which case I don't mind that I never did what it said on purpose.
Actually, teiso just came close to my own interpretation, or at least the one I responded negatively to. :)
If you assume the game is trying to impart a specific message, and that the developer is religious, it could be seen as a game about faith, and resisting God's plan for you, or questioning things without just accepting them. When you do what you're told without questioning it, the world becomes more orderly and better defined. But when you disobey, everything becomes chaotic. The voice says it loves you, and you are "rewarded" for your obedience.
Since I believe you should question everything, I didn't like the idea that a game could be telling me you should just have faith and do what you're told, even without knowing why.
I'll leave my interpretation as a spoiler.
I dunno why but i really love these simple platformers with some kind of artful interpretative edge.
When you look and think about it for a bit it could easily be about religion. more specifically Christianity. Christianity demands that you give up everything and strip yourself down into humbleness. (You are not a man you are a girl). It demands sacrifice (throw yourself into the pit). And offers forgiveness (touch the statue and i will forgive you). As you proceed through the game following instructions everything becomes easier and more clear, as "god" shows you the truth that cannot be revealed through science (Faith). If you proceed in disobedience, things become unclear, but beautiful with color (That might be digging a bit).
When you finish regardless "God" says he always loved you. He offers you a chance at redemption (Will you go? or will you stay close?). If you were obedient, you are now regarded as a man or woman (of your choosing) and "win".
The things that seem to really drive things home is when you are offered forgiveness, and the portrayal of undying love, and the chance at forgiveness at the end of disobedience. Also when you are asked to die on the spikes, the sacrifices demanded by a "God".
BTW, anyway know how to find out what your username is? I know my password, but for some reason my username isnt working, so i wonder if im not remembering it right...
I also thought of it as a religious interplay, but from someone who has a very negative attitude toward God, not representing what I think any particular religion is about. I think the author may feel that if God exists, he/she is:
1. demanding (all the requests)
2. insulting ("Ugly creature")
3. manipulative ("Do it and I'll forgive you" - meaning you owe me something for forgiving you even though I told you to do it in the first place)
4. controlling (telling you what you are and making it the opposite of what you claim)
5. clearly incapable of actual love and just wanting to toy with people (cats? lol)
I'm a bit turned off since I do believe in a God who is absolutely nothing like this. I find it very sad that a)some people think this might be the reality or b) some think that a major religion actually glorifies such a God figure. The fact that the world becomes more colorful with disobedience implies that disobedience is liberating and more exciting while obedience means you're just a mindless drone that wants something to make everything easier in your life. This view of religion makes me sick to my stomach.
On the other hand, I also considered it representing an abusive relationship.
Interesting game though!
Interesting how only listening when it won't hurt you get's you the "your a wo/man" ending, however, that will only work if you have confidence in yourself to not fail to much at the end, and confidence is something the game does it's best to take away, what with the insulting voice and the shaky controls. I believe it to be about an abusive relationship, and it is so artfully created that it is close to being IF in its ability to tell a story. A truly beautiful game in all regards.
If it is about religion, god certainly comes across as a very mean individual.
Interesting. Dora's 'bad' interpretation never even occurred to me.
Maybe it's because I just played Hey Baby earlier today, but to me it definitely felt like an abusive relationship, with the voice being sometimes hostile and sometimes just sort of disengaged, like it had its own version of the story and was sometimes paying more attention to that than to me. The final declarations of love, in that interpretation, are downright disgusting.
@ the religious thoughts
It's times like this that remind me I have a slightly more positive outlook toward religion than perhaps is normal. No G/god of mine is going to call me disgusting, period. The critical speaker could be a parent/friend/lover/benefactor/voices in my head, but automatic disqualification for any deity.
I guess a lot of the gut reaction to the game depends on if you believe obedience leads to better outcomes (especially since the voice is high-handed, belittling, cruel, and mysterious.) I do not think it does.
The game becomes more sharp and defined as the game goes on, but does it become more real? You see spikes because the voice tells you they are spikes. Fundamentally though, they do not become more or less dangerous.
As you become more disobedient, the world becomes more vibrant: you make the air shimmer and the world take color with every motion you make.
In the end, you get a coin (treasure?) if you are obedient, and freedom if you are defiant. The voice doesn't strike you dead or throw more challenges in the way with either choice. And in both cases, you are loved.
Also, sorry if I came across overly critical Dora ^^;;
Not at all, delzoup. :) I'm always interested in hearing what you guys think, and I think it's a mark in the game's favour it has spurred such discussion and thought.
I don't have a negative view of religion, I have a negative view of blindly following orders. I've certainly seen some of the uglier aspects of organised religion (which, as the interpretation I've mentioned, would fit into), but I've seen some wonderful things from it too. The interpretation that occurred to me was a potentially nasty one, is all.
I didn't like the thought that the overall message might be "Just do as you're told and everything will work out in the end". I actually felt disobeying was a more positive experience; sure it became more chaotic and difficult, but life is nothing without colour and challenge.
When I first played the game, I disobeyed in every way possible. The message I got was that disobeying makes the world more colorful, and more interesting.
Conversely, obeying makes the world all black and white, but it allows you to see the details of things.
What really got to me was the coin, for me it felt like an analogy for prostitution. I got paid for doing everything I was supposed to. I guess this relates back to the whole relationships viewpoint, which is how I was viewing the game.
If you follow orders, life is easy but a bit dry and dull. If you are disobedient (especially to those who are domineering and abusive - "you are a girl!" - right you are mr. oppressor) then life will be full of colour, movement and challenge. In the end, it's all love.
What an interesting game. I won't say how I felt about it because it's been covered extensively, but I will say that gameplay wise, I had issues with jumping. But, obviously, this isn't about gameplay so much as it's about storytelling. And I do love storytelling.
I rather liked it. So thanks for sharing it!
I beat the game the first time disobeying all the commands. I tried to go back through and beat the game following the commands; shortly after getting past the first talk to point and being given the command "Beg for me" the shattering glass noise that accompanied my many instances of death drove me halfway mad and i had to shut the game off. It was a beautiful game with a message deep enough for us all to have our own meaning, but the frustration that you had to go through to get that message was too much for me.
Actually, for me, what both Dora and Amy was saying is why I couldn't work out what the author's intent was, because interpretations occurred to me but neither was satisfactory.
If I thought that the author was religious and pro-God, then exactly what Amy was saying is why it didn't work for me. Being a Christian myself, I could not see a fellow Christian who has any understanding of God characterise God in the way they did in the game. Although I could recognise aspects that did fit, there were characterisations that were blatantly not the Christian idea of who God is.
Yet when I thought of the author as anti-religious or anti-God, the representation of God as seen by someone outside of religion who does not have the same understanding of God made a bit more sense to me, and this is what I thought it was when I was playing it, until I got to the end, and expecting an ending that portrays such a view, was surprised to find my character receive acceptance and love, both whether I obeyed or disobeyed.
Perhaps, IF this is supposed to be about God, the portrayal is of someone who has been religious and believes in God, and has deep feelings towards God that isn't contemptuous, but holds some bitterness towards God because of something in their life, and so their reprentation comes off as somewhat ambiguous, as they try to come to terms with how they feel about their own relationship with God? There's no need to assume there's a message here that we're supposed to take on board; perhaps it is just a personal expression by the author, exploring their own personal feelings.
Or perhaps my initial reaction is completely wrong and about something else altogether.
I loved this game. Here is my perspective:
It is a way to see whether you are a pessimist or an optimist, because if you are optimistic, you play it through both obediently and disobediently, and are glad to know that no matter what you choose you are loved. If you are a pessimist, you will find this game to strip you of any personality whatsoever, feeling like you are always choosing the wrong thing. I am an optimist, so in this game, I lived to serve master, and I loved him, and he loved me.
I have another perspective as well:
It is a way to test submissiveness and loyalty. If you played obediently, you are loyal, and submissive. If you played disobediently, you are rebellious and (to a certain degree) disloyal. I am very submissive, and have always been loyal, so this game made me feel very happy, and somewhat fulfilled.
I would very much like to know what your perspective is on this Dora.
Here's my thoughts (:
When I first clicked woman, and it said "No, you are a man." I instantly was just like.. wait what? Why can't I be who I am? When I said I wanted to learn and it turned me away, again I go why can't I do what I want to do?
It instantly made me think of the many times in my life when people have tried to repress my personality, and I just instinctively rebelled. If I hadn't before in real life, I wouldn't be the way I am today. I felt almost gratified and relieved when the colors started speckling the screen and I ended up escaping.
I don't know, it felt like my personality and creativity being repressed all over again, and that's something I just can't stand. The voice made me feel so weird and angry..
This was an extremely good game though, simple as it is. I enjoyed it, even though I had the above thoughts.
I found a secret passageway that I assume is only available from disobeying. At least, that wall was covered in spikes when I played it the first time, obeying every command.
After the disobeying the voice's command to "Do not touch touch the statue", fall down and take a left. The wall will melt away, the spikes disappearing, and a passageway will appear leading to a one of those "voice statues".
Even here you search for me.
Obedience lied to me, and dried up the world into black and white; obedience hid the color, making dangers that weren't there, there. Yet at the same time, it made the world clearer. I could understand it. The spikes were spikes, not just red squares. The one-way platforms were one-way platforms, not just colorful pixels.
Now i'm jumping all over the place, sure that there's another secret entrance my disobedience has uncovered.
The endings were different as well. The first time I touched a coin (or at least a circle thing) to finish. This time, I found myself going along an endless tunnel when the game abruptly ends.
I take part of my previous statement back.
I did obey once, when the voice told me to jump the spikes. Now I've disobeyed every single command, including that, and I can't see my secret passageway anymore.
I enjoyed the game and was curious about other people's interpretation. Dora, yours threw me for a loop.
Please don't take this the wrong way, but anybody who interpreted this as a commentary about God and Man, particularly in light of Christianity, is missing entire scopes of Judeo-Christian background. Judiasm vastly differed from the pagan religions it sprung up surrounded by in that it insisted that God was 1) All-good and 2) All-powerful, whereas pagan religions interpreted their gods as having limitations, either in power or in goodness. As such, the *reason* behind all of God's commandments has always been forthright - Man was given 100% free will, chose to elevate himself above God, and after sinning against God, turned on his fellow Man and sinned against them. God, in turn, gave the Law to help bring people back to Him and away from sin. Remember that the first sin was disobeying God, and the second was murder.
This game completely frustrates that interpretation in several ways. First and foremost, the narrator is vindictive, angry, and constantly changing his mind about what is and is not allowed. Judeo-Christian faith has always held that God is steadfast and unchanging. For example, God gave the commandment, "Thou shalt not murder" (frequently mis-translated as "kill," but in the original Hebrew it was "murder," with murder having the connotation of killing an innocent person). To the Jews, this was clear-cut and shown through Gods works - if enemies murdered, they were stopped, either through repentence (book of Jonah) or by being fought in legal battle until the enemies were stopped (Book of Numbers). The Christian faith expanded on this by going further - pray for your enemies, turn the other cheek. Steadfast and clear-cut.
Another frustration to the notion that this is God talking is the cruelty in the wording. Again, reference the book of Jonah - instead of turning the Jews against their mortal enemies, God sends a prophet to their enemies, to have them repent their sins, so that He can save all of the people, plus their animals (reference the last page of the book of Jonah). No cruelty, only a desire on God's part to bring all people back to Him. Fast forward to the New Testament, and Jesus is approached by a woman who is not Jewish, begging him to save her daughter from demons. Jesus points out, "I'm here to save the children of Israel. Should I take food away from the children and give it to the pets instead?" The woman remarks, "But even the pets get to enjoy the crumbs the children drop!" He rewards her by saying her faith is great and heals her daughter. No cruelty, no malice, just a desire to do what is needed to bring the children home.
Naturally, there's no saying one way or another about a person's interpretation about such an open-ended game as this, especially with things not spelled out at all, but I've never cared for knee-jerk reactions that imply something negative about religion, particularly Christianity and Judiasm, when the person having the reaction isn't a scholar of Judeo-Christian history or the Bible. This is why I'm suggesting that it's not likely to be tied to religion, or if it is, it's badly tied - because such a negative reaction to the game is likely coming from a source that hasn't made an extensive study of the Bible. And reading "The Divinci Code" doesn't qualify as Bible study. :p
So before a chorus of anti-Christian replies pop up, I'd suggest stopping a moment and really thinking about whether the game actually has the right kind of ties to make that claim.
Well, noticeable things and interpretations.
The Voice refuses to teach you how to play the game in the beginning. When you ask to be taught, it says you don't deserve its help; When you don't want help, it says you will fail without it.
Yet all throughout the game, the voice does teach you. It reprehends you for pressing things other than the arrow keys; to jump safely over the barbs and that the statues will "forgive" you.
The Voice thinks you rely on it. You want its approval and fear reproach. You depend on it's guidance and should count it as a blessing to have it.
Tough love? Abuse? Control freak?
The Voice changes. It tells you one thing and then deliberately tells you to forget what you learned before, and learn this.
You will fail; you don't deserve to succeed.
Move with the arrow keys.
Jump over the barbs.
Touch the statue.
Then it changes.
Don't jump over the barbs.
Don't touch the statue.
Do not fail; do NOT fail.
I found the game vaguely disturbing and difficult to interpret, being unwilling to just fit my own meaning to what I could see, even after a few replays. I make no secret that I play games like this for the platforming joy.
I don't think it's possible to go over the cliff to the left at the start of the game, and I've tried many times - although you can get extra speed going upwards when you first respawn by holding the up key while still dead, you reappear moving to the right no matter what. I DID manage to get onto the ledge halfway up, though. Not sure exactly what I did... something about hitting left, or up, or both, right at the moment of respawn.
On the other hand, I found out that it's possible to enter the little cave of spikes at the beginning with glitch exploitation:
1. Get as far into the "cave" as you can by normal walking.
2. Hold left so that you're pushing against the bit of ground that's on level with your head.
3. Still holding left, press and hold down.
4. Release the down key. You'll be standing, but with your head stuck inside the ground that was previously blocking you. Release the left key.
5. Press down to duck and fall - you should juuust miss the spikes to the left.
6. Enjoy the feeling of satisfaction gained by breaking the rules.
Alternatively, you can NOT duck, and press left/right alternately to move through the solid ground. Unfortunately, the very first spike pit will prevent you from "escaping" the world.
The first time I played through this game, the motive behind most of my actions was to gain respect from the voice.
Like others that have posted here, at the start after being repeatedly denied I instantly wanted to rebel. But it wasn't just about wanting to go against what the voice was telling me to do because of the way I had been treated. I wanted the praise, just not for being a mindless drone. I wanted to be respected for being able to think for myself. And if that was going against what I was being told to do, then so be it.
I believe that the games has more secrets to be discovered:
Did you notice that...
If you click the screen when your character first appear, the game will say "Not that, you will CONTROL nothing", and if you...
Press the Control key, it will tell you "You are wrong"
That the secret area on the left of the fall after the 'forbidden statue' is revealed if you are chaotic, but you can walk safely left from the fall even if you are lawful?
And that if you didn't touch the 'forbidden statue', and die before touching another one after discovering the secret area, is the only way to go back afterwards?
I hope this will help people discover more truths.
Tabs, thanks for your response, but my interpretation was formed based on certain people I know and certain experiences I've had. I'm not branding ANY religion as bad, and my views of ALL of them are not poor. I'm simply stating my initial reaction based on my personal past. That's all. :)
Actually, my other interpretation was that
the voice was your self-doubt.
This game was enjoyable, and I liked the choose your own response\plat former theme to it. I didn't necessarily like the put downs seeing as my little platformer was trying oh so hard to jump the moving lava blocks.
heres my interpretation
I thought the voice was, like dora said, self doubt. But I also think that it represents other people putting you down. And the little guy we were playing represents you and shows how you have to be above all of that, and just keep going no matter what.
now I'm probably looking to far into this, and this is probably just another enjoyable platformer (which it was)
well either way, keep em coming jay
Perhaps, if this represents religion (which I actually doubt), it doesn't represent the author's idea of how the world actually works. I thought the author could be drawing out, "IF the world was the way certain religious figures say it is, THEN would that be a good thing or a bad thing?"
The voice matches some conceptions of God:
-It is kind and respectful, but only after you have demonstrated perfect obedience.
-If you obey the voice, good things happen to you, if you disobey, the world becomes chaotic and hard to navigate
-The voice claims to always love you, though it treats you with no respect, as someone far beneath it.
-God loves you. All god asks of you is your worship, and you will be rewarded. If you fail to worship god in the exact way he asks, however...
I contend that (under this interperetation) the author isn't saying that this is true, but is rather demonstrating the moral ugliness that such a view of god represents.
Fixed spoiler tags. :) ~Dora
I suppose Im alone in this opinion.
Before reading these comments, the possibility of this game being related to a relationship seemed like a small one. When I played this game, it reminded me of "The Metamorphosis" of Kafka. This game may be about the individuals role in capitalist system. The voice is... well Im not very good at explaining things so just think abut this possibility. And you migth like to watch this too:Google accro animation, click on the first link.
i played first as disobedient, and got increasingly annoyed at the voice not wanting me to make my own choices. when the world turned into colourful pixels i saw that making your own way makes life more beautiful, but also so much more complex and more difficult.
i then replayed as obedient, and found myself wanting more orders to follow to get the burst of approval. i also wanted to be able to get through to the voice, to interact with them somehow, make them see what they were doing.
when the game got easier, i started finding the voice more creepy, and at the end when it claimed to love me, i felt happy to be loved, but tinged with regret that the best love i could find was from someone who wanted to control every aspect of me-i wanted to deny that the voice loved me or say that i didnt want its love. either way, a very creepy but amazing game
For some reason this game reminds me of the ending of the Portal 2 trailer. :D
I'm kind of sad. I wanted to play this game to experience all the stuff you guys are talking about but I can't even get past the spikes that are beyond that lower path thing. =( The little platformer keeps sliding into spikes.
And now I made it! Sometimes complaining about it makes it work. I've been disobeying everything since cause it keeps telling me to kill myself or not save after I get through an area that was hard for me to get through.
Hold on...when I disobeyed, at the end the voice said that it loveD me. As in, past tense. Not anymore.
I really liked the game though. I realized after I played that it's so open ended that the many interpretations you could put to it were ridiculously large.
I found it amusing that at first it asked me to beg, and then it was begging me. It was an 'in your face!' moment. The colored squares were fun at first until I started dying from not being able to tell where platforms were. Then it was kind of annoying. But I sure as heck wasn't going to continue listening to that jerk-voice. Oh, and I don't know about anyone else, but
I saw the voice as female. Does that mean anything?
The simplest works of art often spur the most interpretation.
I played through both ways and I have additional thoughts on top of all the excellent analyses and insight.
Animal abuse is one of the things that came to mind. A dog, especially, will love unconditionally and do anything to please its master and get a treat/affection (coin at the end). A dog will suffer for love. If a dog goes against its owner's commands, it will be put through hardship, but it can run away like at the end of the disobedient path.
With respect to relationships:
The voice asks you at one point if you will be excited or frightened when you get to meet. If you select frightened, the voice tells you that will make things more enjoyable. Immediately I thought less of an abusive spouse and more of a sadist with his prey. The interpretations can be shaded on whether this prey is willing and enjoys being tortured, which could really fit either path, or unwilling, and either fighting back or given up and broken in spirit.
In any case every interpretation posted is fascinating. Excellent piece you've shared, Dora.
Thank you for *not* taking that the wrong way! I was really worried that you would think it was a personal attack or something, and was trying to figure out the best way to respond so that my intentions were better known. Your response made me feel a lot better. And, so you know, I appreciate your quality reviews. :)
I'm pleased that JiG continues to offer links to games like this, like Coil, and like Air Pressure. One thing I'm curious about - why does JiG offer so many less game-minded games and more pieces of interactive artwork like this and the above mentioned? I don't know that these would fall under what I'd consider "casual games," though they don't require a lot in the way of gameplay. Is it simply that you're committed to offering a variety of types and styles, or is there another reason? Whatever the cause, thank you.
I tried several different combinations, obeying all commands, obeying some commands, disobeying, as well as the different answers to the questions. Am i the only one who noticed that the more you disobeyed, the slower you got the the smaller your jumps? All in all, the game is wonderfully creepy, I liked it.
Hi Tabs! Thanks for your kind words. :) In response to your question, it is partly to provide a variety, and also partly because "casual" means different things to different people. Someone might define "casual" as a game that takes little thought, while someone else could say that a game that buzzes your brain is still "casual" as long as it takes less than a half hour. We don't like to censor content (we leave that up to the viewer) and we don't like to limit the content we bring based on a narrow definition of a word.
Ultimately, we're interested in bringing you guys games that we think are quality from developers. That could simply be a really polished match 3 game, or it could be a piece of interactive art like this one. At the end of the day, the community knows what it wants, and I would rather we gave you guys the best we found around the net and let you pick what you like than just saying, "Here's another defense game you don't really have to think about."
Hope that answers your question. I know I tend to ramble a lot. Why, in my day, bla-dee-bla-dee-bla...
Thank you! It's fun to be able to go to a site that caters to all sorts of tastes.
As for this game, another possible interpretation:
I don't know if anyone else ever watches CSI (the Las Vegas one), but there was an episode where a woman had died and her body was found on a mountain. Her husband was at first accused of murdering her, and some of the evidence pointed to him being abusive.
In truth, the woman died of natural causes, and he was innocent, but what got me was that one piece of evidence initially linking him to the death was his "abusive" behavior, which was actually preparation training for extreme sports. They were extreme sports fanatics, into extreme wilderness survival. The neighbors thought he was being abusive because, during training, he would yell and curse her, but it was done in the name of motivation, to encourage his wife to push herself to the limits.
He would yell, she would complain about being in agony, and he'd yell things like, "Good, you deserve it, you're not working hard enough." The natural causes that killed her weren't related to accident or injury either, just to clarify. He really had *nothing* to do with his wife's death.
So, to tie this all together, imagine the voice being rough and encouraging you to push yourself. Do what I tell you. Are you annoyed with me? Good! Maybe you'll work harder to succeed!
At the end, your choices depend on if you cooperated or not. Cooperate - the world becomes clearer, with more detail. Dangers are more easily spotted and can thus be avoided. There's a certain beauty in the designs of the walls. You can see the path clearly ahead of you. Obeying the voice can be a form of spite - you think I'm going to fail? No, I'm not! I'm going to succeed! You mess up, it yells "disgusting," at you, making you work harder to succeed. You pass with flying colors, you've gone above and beyond the expectations, and you're stronger, more aware, and better off.
Disobey and the hazards ahead become difficult, if not impossible, to navigate. Spite the voice and you're cutting off your nose to spite your face. The "beautiful" colors obscure dangers ahead of you, making the path rougher and more frustrating, because you have a harder time surviving to the next part of the level.
Say you're afraid to meet the voice, the voice mocks, "Well, that'll just make it more fun for me!" Like a personal trainer getting on your back. Say you're excited, the passion flows between you two, and you're both in a positive frame of mind.
If you deliberatley disobey, the voice asks why you hate it, and will you go or stay. Stay, and things can be renewed. Go, and the voice begs you to stay, but it's never stated *why* the voice begs for you to stay.
There's a chance that this story doesn't *have* to have negative qualities. That it could have a positive light, given another point of view.
Interesting. I played the first round, disobeying in a few instances, but enough to get out in the end. I hated the voice trying to tell me what to do in a simple platformer.
Then I played through again, obeying, and saw the world changing, and the voice rewarding me. The world was pretty, and I grew to love the voice back.
Preconceptions rule the day, apparently.
I really enjoyed this game. There's a lot to chew on.
I suppose I saw this as an examination of faith in general. Not necessarily religious faith. Obeying the voice does make the world more defined and easier to navigate, but who knows if it's any more 'real'? The voice gave explanations for the red pixels. If you obeyed then you believed that the pixels were spikes. If you questioned the voice you'd be left with the mystery. The pixels/spikes would hurt you either way, but the voice gave you a method for ordering your world.
Disobeying made the world a stranger place. The changing colors were unexplained, and your attackers were red and ill-defined. Doubting the voice saved from death, but it also made you avoid a not only harmless, but helpful statue. Navigating was more difficult, but it allowed you to take an easier path.
In my opinion, the world is like ours. If you are always doubtful you'll look before you leap and perhaps avoid a few pitfalls. If you achieve certainty, other things are simply easier. You don't have to make and question your own decisions. You follow the voice, even when it harms you, because it's better than living in an unpredictable world. People need stability, and going without it is difficult. If you disobeyed completely you were left in an endless tunnel. If you question absolutely everything you'll end up mired in doubt and unable to act.
So essentially, complete faith is mindless and sometimes dangerous while complete doubt is paralyzing and you need a little of both to live well? My two cents.
contrary to other here, I didn't see any obvious meaning. All I know is that, while playing this game, I kept having flashes about childhood, past relationships, choices made, good or bad (or if they were actual choices ?), impressions... When the "voice" said "I love you", I wanted to scream "so why are you so bad with me ?", bringing along more flashes about people interactions in general. Is the voice a manipulative maniac ? Why do I resent the "voice" although I know it's a program ? Am I talking to myself ? Why am I torturing myself then ?...
Basically, this creepy little thing talked to my subconscious.
I thought this was a great game, I agreed with Dora's explanation of
. @Lady Succubus- I thought the same thing!! GLaDOS FTW! :)
You know, as I said previously, I was really unnerved by this game. It made me completely uncomfortable, and I loved that.
But I never thought to -- or wanted to -- interpret it.
I might just be the type to take things like this at face value (one can understand how this made high school English classes difficult -- no, dammit, that tree is a tree and that is all) but I felt like the game presented its own world, its own universe, which was beyond (possibly parallel) to interpretation and the events themselves were the interpretation. It was like those dream games, like what was it? Yume Nikki? No one knows exactly what's going on, and there's so much to think about it and yet it's still the same effect if you take it for what it is.
The thing about Loved is that it brought about this atmosphere that was very compelling and very disturbing all at once. While I felt immediately repelled at the very first thing the mysterious voice said (the denial of my gender really got me, as someone who has gender identity issues already) I also had a deep desire to continue on with the game. I didn't want to interpret it. I was so caught up in experiencing it that my experience was the story.
I don't know that Loved is about anything. I think we'll all end up with different stories for it because we have all had different lives and that voice is going to be something different for each of us. For me, I think, it could have been my identity issues. My depression. Trying to know who I am and having that stripped away by self-doubt and other people and society.
the above was definitely spoiler tagged just for length
I played through a couple of times, and also thought of the narration as vaguely feminine later on. It wasn't very difficult, what with the checkpoint statues and unlimited retries, but there were some hard parts that got easier when I realized that the character moves faster while in mid-air than while walking.
My first impression, which might not be safe for all ages:
Not abusive as such, but I got the impression of the game as a platforming representation of a bondagist relationship. Everything is black. You're unfit to receive instruction, though you end up getting it in an indirect sort of way. Thanks to unlimited continues, you can make supplicative displays of pain. Will you give up your body, or your mind? If you're afraid, that will only make things sweeter. As you follow your orders, things become much clearer, whereas being an ugly creature makes you see bright colours. In the end, you're pushed harder, with close attention paid. It sounds callous, but does not want you to fail; it wants you to succeed. When you do, you are acknowledged, and may accept your reward.
The other idea I got was a sort of meta-reference, and much tamer.
It's a platform game, not a sandbox or maze game. You don't explore, you get to the linear end. If you follow the path that's set out for you, you get to see things in their black and white: you're just completing a set of predetermined challenges. If you'd rather look around and think for yourself, then the game makes fun of you for exploring or trying to find freedom when you're really just supposed to head to the right, like in every other 2D platformer. However, things get colourful and ambiguous, giving your imagination more room. Unlike other video games that actively make fun of the player, you are allowed to defy it to the end and escape, without it mocking the futility of trying to do anything other than what was programmed. So, do you follow instructions and get things set out better for you, or go off on your own, show that you don't need instructions, and get more colourful, imaginative fare?
Minimalism aside, I'd say this is more philosophical than artsy. You don't replay it for its breathtaking graphics, you replay it to find a different interpretation of it.
My little kid sister was playing this game earlier today, and I haven't played it yet but I had a vague idea what type of game it was, theme/genre-wise.
She liked it and told me it was about a cat's relationship to its owner. Judging by the few comments I've read so far, I'm assuming this isn't the most popular interpretation, hahaha.
I guess I should start playing to draw my own conclusion, now.
Did anyone else think of the voice as
Stopped at the midle this game is boring....
Everyone plays for fun, you want hard life lessons?
Could it not be more general, about
the choices we make throughout our lives? Those who follow what society tells them to do become more aware of their surroundings, wiser, whilst those who break the rules have a life that is freer, but more chaotic and sometimes harder. The voice could be interpreted as death, but I'm not sure about the checkpoint statues, or the endings.
While I initially disliked obeying the voice, I loved the black and white artwork, and found the colours a little overwhelming. I also thought the endings were creepy.. both use the past tense ("I loved you." or "I loved you, always." Brr.
Please site where Alexander Ocias claimed he wanted to make this "confrontational".
Sergey, right in his description from the game on Kongregate. "I wanted to build something confrontational, that would engage players to give thought to what they are doing both in and out of game." :)
I agree that this couldn't be about God. The very first statement shows this: God claims to be truth (and, to put my cards on the table, as a Christian I believe He is). So why would God contradict an obvious truth like the gender of the player? I do, however, find the idea that someone could see God this way to be fascinating.
I think the idea of representing a controlling, unhealthy relationship is correct, as self-doubt doesn't beg you to stay or want you close. Self-doubt tries in every way to distance you from yourself.
I'm leaning towards parent-child being the intended relationship due to the progression of the game: First the entity controls the environment far more than you do and is trustworthy. As you learn the game (grow up) and become more capable, the entity becomes more bitter and manipulative (and controlling, abusive parents often reach a "peak" as their kids become teens, from what I've seen in life, trying to hold on and get "under their skin" before the child leaves). Near the end, you are told "do NOT fail" - did anyone feel like this was a controlling parent with the underlying "don't make me look bad by failing"? Since I stink at platform-jumpers, I couldn't get the gold coin and "You are a man / woman" - out of curiosity, does the gender match the one you try to claim, or the one the computer assigns you? That could imply final acceptance of you, if it uses the gender you state at the beginning.
The final takeaways for me were that the entity never loved you (or its validation of you being a man / woman and not a girl / boy would not be contigent upon your success). However, at the very end, I found I *did* want to love the entity - but it would be the love of pity. This creature had done to much to get a fake semblance of love from me, and I now had the power to give or deny true love, now that I was beyond its control, so long as I made sure I stayed beyond its control (except, of course, that the game ended). I found the idea that I could give it real love -something even better than it was hoping for, and something it probably didn't really believe existed deep down - empowering.
Although the core the story is a parent / child relationship IMO, I think the vagueness is intentional, so it CAN take on all these other shades of meaning to us - and can help us compare and contrast our own relationships with our lovers, parents, children, and - yes - even deities and Saviors.
I have to wonder if the author of this game was writing at some level about a specific relationship experience. The entity is just so real to me - strong flashbacks to my own past, like others said, as well as stories I've heard from others.
Pardon the length. I'm highly introspective :-p and a little self-obsessed, perhaps.
"Are you a man or a woman?"
"No, you are a girl."
Realized it was one of *those* games.
Voted one out of five.
You rated it a one because you don't like art games? Did you read the review?
I found it a very interesting game that can represent many different things, almost unlimited things. I dunno if the secret passage represents anything, though.
I was surprised (and a little disturbed) to find that a lot of the commenters actually followed the orders in their first playthrough. Maybe it's just because I'm a rebellious teenager, but the voice's attitude really disgusted me. Do what it says, and the voice has no reaction. But disobey, and it proclaims, "disgusting." As if the character is only a tool for its convenience...
But, that's just my thought.
One of my takes on it;
This entire thing could just as easily be taken in a religious context. The voice would be God and the cat-humanoid (I see pointy ears, I assume cat!) would be you / anyone.
You have the freedom to do as you wish. If you disboey everything the voice / God asks (that is, according to whichever religion you're using as an example's set of rules), it dislikes you throughout the journey. The increasingly garish colours probably represent a slightly more turbulent path through (what the game's journey could be viewed as) your life, ultimately you start at A and end up at B, but you're loved whatever you do (although it doesn't show / say what happens if you keep running away after disoberying everything.
Basically vice versa for obeying everything, God-voice loves you but gives more encouragement, makes the world along the path easier and more serene to experience, with what was a plain black and white with simple shapes becoming a more exotic interpretation.
This is how I saw the game anyway. I'm not even religious, I have a more spiritual overview of reality, but it could just as easily apply to any other situation than the one I proposed, and I think that's the idea.
Love this sort of game, gets you thinking.
So the first time I played it I started out obeying, but by the 3rd command I got annoyed and started disobeying. I then played it 3 more times, once obeying everything, the ending to that really creeped me out for some reason. Then I played it disobeying all the way through twice, choosing go and then chosing close. I though it was interesting that you got the same ending for those even though the "voice" is saying you can begin again. my interpretation was:
abusive relationships as everyone is saying, but I thought it could be an abusive friendship as much as it could be a romantic (for lack of a better word) one. You seek approval from your friends more than anyone else, and just wanting to be accepted. But it doesn't always work out well. I didnt get the religious aspect people have been talking about, but I dont have a religion so that could be why.
Another thing about this game is I think they way you interpret it says something about you, or what you think of control as being. I dont know if that is true or not but reading the comments I think it is.
Either way, its a very interesting game. I dont normally like "artsy" games that bring up ideas but this one really grabbed me!
I've played it through 3-4 times, all the times I felt nauseous afterward. I guess it's probably because of the movements or the color squares combined with the sound (by the way I don't like the sound, it feels suffocating). Is anyone else feeling the same? (I have no problem playing other games.)
I find this game kind of creepy. Even when it says it's loved me at the end, I want to say "f**k off, I don't need your love". During my first play through, I disobeyed almost all commands, and the color squares were overwhelming and annoying. At the end it begs me to return and it feels like I've finally gotten out of the mess. Almost like an abusive relationship. I've read some interpretations here, some say it's like a parent teaching a child (do the difficult thing first and the road later on will be easy), I kind of agree but to me it's still an abusive relationship. The voice is always controlling and I can't see anything positive about it. There should be other ways to teach the kid without being so commanding.
Cabbit made me think of another possible interpretation, although probably not the game's intended one.
One thing to take from this might be that we should always examine our actions, and consider whether we're doing them for the right reasons. We shouldn't something we don't want to (or don't feel right about) just to please someone else. Especially if that someone's "love" rings hollow, or if they're asking us to do something we know isn't smart. (Such as "Throw yourself onto the spikes".)
Maybe one way to take the game is that it's about knowing when to follow orders and when to do what's right/safe/healthy for you.
In that regard, I guess, I still feel self-doubt works best for me personally as an interpretation. The game berates you for disobeying, and towards the end implies failure is absolutely unthinkable. ("Do NOT fail.") Then at the end, when it says it always loved you, it's sort of like saying, "It's okay, you don't need anyone else." and you're stuck with your self-doubt because you're too afraid to venture into the unknown or try something that might be difficult or scary. Maybe it's just about identifying that pessimistic, hateful voice inside you and knowing when to ignore it.
I dunno. ART ARE HARD.
I found a glitch. near the begining, i found a
tunnel full of spikes and you can sink into the ground and circle the ground around the tunnel. Also this game kinda reminds me of that pink song, Split Personality,which i'm currently playing,while playing the game,just to compare them. you guys should go to youtube or some thing and look up Pink Split personality.
@Person: I thought the voice was a woman too. I don't know why but it just seems like it to me.
That said, I really enjoyed the game. I like interpretive games such as this one. I'll probably play some more times.
No complete analysis, just a couple of thoughts:
The first place where the game really struck me was the question "Do I control your body, or your mind?" Until then, it seemed like the same "you vs. omnipotent narrator" fare as Tower of Heaven or Beacon. But when the voice asked me this, I actually had to stop and think. Which would be worse -- a brainwashed mind, or a free mind trapped in a slave body? I was actually worried about what answering would do to my character.
The answer is, of course, "not much." And here's why that's interesting. The gameplay premise is that you're presented with a highly controlling narrator whom you have the option, at certain points, to obey or disobey. And it's actually quite easy to fall into one of these two traps -- perhaps thinking that you're playing the game "correctly" by "rebelling" or "following," perhaps trying to see where they lead you. But once you assume that these are the two things you can do, you've fallen into a false dichotomy, and I believe this body/mind question is a tantalizing clue.
See, when I read that question, my gut reaction (as I'm sure many people's was) was "Neither, of course!" But you can't choose neither -- you're forced to pick one or the other to continue. It's like holding up a green tie and asking if it's red or blue.
But in fact, both options hold, another possibility not acknowledged by the question. You're unable to move out of the screen or through walls or through spikes (without dying). So the game controls your body. And I'm guessing most of you, aside from a little side exploration, proceeded from the start to the finish. You only thought of standing still when the game asked you to, you probably tried to get to the end (maybe 2 or 3 times), and, oh, you probably thought of your character as yourself (and I've been referring to the two of you as the same for most of this post). So the game controls your mind.
Obeying the voice vs. disobeying the voice is a false dichotomy. All of the things I mentioned (not interacting with the game, not playing the game, dissociating from your character) are ways of escaping the voice's "love." I think that, at least in part, the game is a commentary on these dichotomies as a method of control. (It doesn't jibe with me to see the voice as just the game, on the other hand. The "I loved you" lines seem to suggest otherwise.)
I was also reminded of a few other texts. In "The Taming of the Shrew," Petruchio forces Katherina to say that the sun is actually the moon and agree with him on several other blatantly false statements. It's a demonstration of abuse more psychological than physical. I was reminded of this first when the game tells you you're a boy instead of a woman or vice versa (which the player could choose to reject), and second when your choices to obey determine your worldview. I was confused on my first playthrough because I disobeyed the order to fall into the barbs and so never saw them as barbs. If you obey the voice, your world becomes more detailed, perhaps more beautiful, though it also fits the voice's specifications. Again, this is more insidious than just ordering you around.
Another thing this made me think of was Annie Anthropy's "Redder," which I think JIG reviewed. (Putting this in spoiler tags because y'all should play it before you read about it.)
Disobeying here has the same "pixilating" effect as collecting gems in Redder. In both cases it's distinctly meant to annoy, as it becomes vastly more difficult to platform correctly. Redder's starts more subtle and becomes vastly more powerful, even seizure-inducing, while this game was too short for it to be more than an annoyance. Dora even saw it as beautiful! But Redder's seems to me to be more gamist, more of a commentary on collection and maybe game addiction than on any sort of relationship. That is, I don't think there's much thematic overlap, but it's a neat mechanic and too much of a similarity to go unmentioned.
Finally a comment on some of the other comments -- it's somewhat of a narrow view of God and religion to interpret God as issuing commands which we can choose to disobey. Not all religions have Gods that command, and I think you'd even find a substantial portion of Christians who believe that we always end up obeying God's commands, no matter what our intention. (Which ties back in to my statements on false dichotomy, I guess.)
Actually on the beginning screen,
When you click and it says "Not that, you will control nothing." If you press ANY button it says "You are wrong." Not just the ctrl key.
YESS!!! I just got to the top of the cliff in the very beginning. I took a screen shot of it for proof.
But there's nothing up there: http://i322.photobucket.com/albums/nn407/Blueagle13/Stuff/Loved_Kongregate.jpg (Also, if you must remove this I understand and apologize)
What a provocative experience! A something that entertains, but not to the extent of guns rattling away at the screen-- something that just is. And it is is very beautifully, I have to admit. Thanks, Mr. Ocias. My playthrough is in spoilers. :)
It denied my gender-- the skin I was born into, and instantly, with the then strange scoff at my essence, Voice allowed me to be guided. I personally wasn't getting hurt, and the little critter didn't seem like it minded the barbs too much, so I followed what Voice said. Voice guided me through life, death, pain, illusion. I didn't question its demands-- there was no need to capsize my perfectly happy situation --and despite my many deaths it seemed placid, polite, firm. A kinder teacher, maybe a parent, maybe a god, maybe a conscience. Either way, I listened as best I could since I was not being hurt and in turn it's best to be as mannerful as possible, and I failed Voice once by accident when it told me not to fail. Funny, yeah? The sudden squares of colors that appeared right after my first failure were interesting items, almost terrifying in their quick multiplication of the otherwise black and white environment, but in the end only different. I held a whimsical neutrality for them, regarding the colors like happy accidents-- I didn't particularly want them to go away, and I didn't particularly lust for more color. The squares were there and it looked like more were coming but they didn't hurt me, and I believed that I wasn't hurting them. How did I come to that latter conclusion? Because Voice didn't say otherwise, and from the obedient path I'd taken, Voice was truth. I ran, and fell down a bright chasm. I was given the option: was I a boy or a girl? I chose girl, Voice rejected that statement but revived my first answer, at the game's start: "No. You are a woman." How curious! I hopped a hill and tackled a spinning coin, and I was loved.
Voice loves me! Voice loves me! But will it ever mean anything? I think so, because I listened to a self, and a self is likely me, and if I listened to me then I trust me. Then I am my truth and my truth molds me, and ultimately I realize, yeah. Yeah, I am loved. I'm loved by me. And to love the person you are is something so mindbogglingly precious that it hurts my heart to think of the people who don't love themselves, who don't love who they are.
Adding my own two cents on this unique and incredible game.
I agree completely that neither ending is particularly good or bad. It depends entirely on a person's point of view and the context in which one places the game.
For example, from a purely literal perspective, the game works like many others. If you follow the rules of the game as best you can in order to win and avoiding those that might damage you, you can most certainly "win," without really finding a meaning in the game.
Assuming a relationship between two people, obeying creates some difficulties in the beginning, both in gameplay and to those players who, like me, had to quell an itch to rebel just for the sake of rebelling. However, in the end, the frightening unknowns of color have been exposed for what they really are in black and white, and the player can achieve an ending that feels like a success. There are certain those, as evidenced by the comments, who felt comforted and soothed by the guidance and enjoyed "winning."
Disobeying, on the other hand, makes the game more difficult (I agree with those who noted that the blocks of color are disorienting and can confuse gameplay), yet rewarded those players who felt that the splashes of color and rebellion against the controlling voice WERE a sort of victory, the same way those who rebel for the sake of rebelling feel a victory in simply having the choice to do wrong. When I played through the first time and disobeyed entirely, the brightly lit cave at the end felt very much like a victory: I was trapped, but surrounded by brilliant dancing colors, something that the black-and-white obedient player never experiences. I suffered, but saw something incredible and unique.
Translating this to bigger or more specific issues, then, reflects the duel nature of order and choice. There is safety and comfort in the black-and-white rules of good and evil, right and wrong, and law and order. However, as generations of writers and artists have pointed out, a world of black and white has no beauty or splendor because it has no complexity and nothing is uncertain.
I feel that the message at the end of "Loved" is that life is a sacrifice, either way. One has a CHOICE in how much of the comfort of black-and-white one is willing to sacrifice in order to see the color in the world. (Or sometimes no choice, since some of the orders are nearly impossible to obey or disobey.)
It's a beautiful metaphor for life.
here are my thoughts on the pixels when you disobey:
the more you disobey, the more pixels appear. They cover the landscape and constantly change color. This could represent chaos. If looking at it relationally, the chaos could mean abuse or turmoil in the relationship.
Just a thought.
I'm playing on Firefox v. 3.6.3, and I'm not hearing the voice. Did the author remove it?
Just played "loved" for my second playthrough and i accidentally found an easter egg.
Do the first thing the voice tells you to and jump over the barbs. Then do everything wrong after that. Later when you make the long fall and your standing on the platform surrounded by spikes, the spikes to your left will disappear and reveal a hallway there will be a message at the end of it.
Ooooh, this game gave me the shivers. At the end:
Voice: Do not fail. DO NOT FAIL.
Me: I'm trying! I'm trying! *avoiding killer floaters and spikes*
Here goes my interpretation: The disembodied voice, the commands, all reminded me of
GLaDOS, the voice of Aperture Science, in the puzzle game Portal. Bet that's no big surprise. (But compared to this voice, GLaDOS looks like a kind, sensitive woman. *shiver*) This especially makes sense, because according to some interpretations, GLaDOS has either a mother/daughter love or a romantic love relationship with Chell (which would of course be entirely one-sided).
As for the religion explanation: At the beginning of my first playthrough, when I obeyed everything, it really seemed to have religious undertones. "Sacrifice yourself. I will forgive you. We will see each other soon." And how the more you obeyed, the more defined and black/white your landscape became: it's like, the deeper you venture into religious explanations of the universe, the more you think of the world in religious terms.
When I disobeyed throughout, though, the game seemed more about a search for identity. The pixels when I disobeyed were exciting, refreshing; the color was a nice change from the black/white. I thought this represented the player's "soul," especially since it grew stronger directly around the person, and faded away when he left. And the playing-field objects (the statue, the blocks, the spikes) staying their plain green/red colors was like the player was keeping his mindset free from the voice's, from the "establishment."
A couple of interpretations that have been touched on briefly or not at all.
Well a few people have mentioned this one but no-one's really gone into much depth about it. The idea of the voice as a portion of one's own psyche, strongly associated with feelings of doubt and inadequacy, holds a lot of merit. The game can be seen as a portrayal of a person trapped by the idea of h/is/er own weakness, reaching some sort of coming-of-age decision point in life. Something I have seen evidence of in my own life: failure is comforting. Self-hatred can become an addiction as bad as any other, and more difficult to break out of. The world is a harsh place that often presents a face of danger, and listening to the voice in your head that says 'you're not strong enough to do this' can become a comfort on which you depend. If it's even possible to break out of such a mindset, it typically becomes significantly more hindering before one's life improves: you're shattering something that has slowly grown into the foundation of your understanding of the world around you. Nothing is going to make sense anymore. You'll start seeing things in ways you have never conceived of; it can be beautiful, but also frustrating and even terrifying. At the end you may escape in a sense, but you will always know that part of you is still there. How far can you really run from yourself? How hard would it really be to let it take control and love your own failings again?
The above can also be extended fairly easily to be a look at addiction of any sort - but substance abuse in particular.
The last idea I had, which I don't think I've seen mentioned anywhere, is the possibility of the voice portraying an external captor or jailer. The game shows a prisoner undergoing a process of conditioning designed to break down their ego and make them amenable to control from an external force. Could be a captured soldier or spy, could be someone in a totalitarian society undergoing rehabilitation. One either grows to depend upon the 'love' of the opposing force, or rejects it and goes through further oppression and torment. It may be possible to rest easy in the strength of one's knowledge of oneself, but even so, the fundamental tenets of one's beliefs are being called into question. It will present a confusing and dangerous mental landscape. In this scenario, it is strongly implied that the 'escape' achieved at the end either comes at the cost of completely sacrificing one's individual identity, or is in fact a total illusion in which one simply goes on to further degradation.
I felt...strange at the end of the game, after thinking about it when I got both endings. I felt a little rejected, hated, but then again I also felt missed by the Voice. With everyone saying it forces you to disobey or obey, only two things when you could be doing something else, it reminds me of a quote from a movie;
"The only way to win is not to play the game." Seems very fitting for a game like this.
I played the game first without any preconception (besides the author's comments about it being "confrontational", and the title of the achievement Kongregate was offering for it).
I felt very uncomfortable at the start, with the invalidating questions, and before long I was disobeying the voice at every turn. I liked the colors, and felt that I was doing the "right" thing by disobeying the clearly abusive and manipulative voice, no matter how confusing the colors made the later areas.
On my second playthrough, I had an impression much closer to Gar's idea of a BDSM-type relationship - and the more I played it with that impression, the better things seemed to fit for me. In particular, the hidden area that is only accessible for the obedient is strangely moving when you think of it in that framework - the surprise and affection from the voice when you go out of your way, into danger, without even being commanded, for its sake.
It's worth considering that no matter how frightening, seemingly abusive, or painful BDSM play can be, the submissive partner typically holds the actual power: they can stop the scene at any time, and it is by their consent that the scene even occurs.
Nobody forces you to play Loved. It was your decision to click the link and start the game. You can quit as soon as you feel uncomfortable... or you can choose to keep going.
I should note that, replaying Loved and viewing it through the "consensual BDSM" lens, I found it to be a much less uncomfortable and much more fulfilling experience than before. Very interesting.
This game is one of the best portrayal
of the most evil thing possible to exist on the multiverse:
Love is well known in many media as a good thing.
Fusing evil and love together , you'll get Black Love
It has all the properties of love, except all good side of love is flipped
It is the most evil thing possible to exist, as it has only 10^-(infinity) good portion
Even the evil will be feared of it as it can disrupt the very balance between evil and good (which must exists together). It is somethign beyond evil that is even worse than evil
There's only one thing that evil hates, not its plans being destroyed by good, but the threat to the balance of good and evil (as, ironically, both good and evil depends on it to have it's value or meaning in the multiverse, like a extremely abusive relationship, they want to be freed from each other yet want to stay together)
I thought it was a really creepy, but strangly beautiful game.
When I started playing, with that "Are you a man or a woman" "No, you are a boy" thing, I was really freaked out by The Voice thing.
I decided, however to do as The Voice said as soon as I heard the first instruction (obviously, I wasn't going to jump onto the barb things).
What made the game really insightful was the way I reacted to The Voice when it asked me to kill myself, which I ended up doing, just to hear it say "Good boy".
At the end, when it told me not to fail, I was scared at how much pressure I felt under to succeed.
Being a bit hopeless with platformer games, I slipped up almost immediately, and I actually found myself completely devestated with myself for failing.
When I tried again and succeeded, I was so happy that The Voice had forgiven me, and it still loved me.
There was something very unsettling about it all. I agree with the others who say it was like being in an abusive relationship. The scary thing was that I actually did what The Voice said, even when it would hurt me, just because it had said that it loved me. Obviously, this is all just a game, but it really got me thinking "There are people out there that are in a relationship like this, who will do anything just to love and be loved".
Overall, I loved this game, gave it 5 stars, as it really gave me an insight into my own mind.
My opinion of the game is [longer than I expected it to be and]
that the game can refer to a teen/ parent relationship in that teens do not like to be told what to do all the time. In the ending if you disobey the Voice then it asks why you hate him/she/it, when it loved you, (or "What have I done to you that makes you hate me?") which is what parents have asked their teen children when the children have done something bad or are acting cruel towards their parents.
It is maybe seen from a teen's view in that they reckon that their parents are very controlling even though the parents only want to protect their children.
The part where the Voice asks you to jump into the barbs, and therefore makes you go through a hard part of the game again, could be that the parents do not always know what is the best to do even though they are just trying to protect their kids, for example rejecting the teen to do something, and the consequence is more pain for the teen or possibly a replay in a previosly recent painful scenario/ event.
One of the most evident points can be in the beginning where, as mentioned by others, if you press the mouse button when your character first appears it sais "Not that, you control nothing" and if you press any button after that then it sais "You are wrong", whereas "control" and "wrong" are both in bold. The teen child will try to control some parts of his/her life but the parent will deny it, hence the "you control nothing"; and the part where it sais "You are wrong" could refer to that when the teen tries something the parent immidietly rejects it and tells his/her child that he/she is wrong.
The fact that the place becomes easier and that all the objects become clearer, can show that obedience to your parents makes life simpler and clearer, while disobedience will make life harder and will drag you behind (I think that disobeying in the game makes you slower and jump lower) but will seem more like a journey and possibly be more fun; more like a dreamworld as the surroundings become obscured. So obedience = straight-forward, less of an adventure and simple, while disobedience = adventure, challenging and fun.
I got more to it, but to sum it all up; teen's see their parents as control freaks who do not know what they are doing, while the parents are just trying to protect their kids from the bad things in the outside world, and obedience is shown to be easier in the long term but less fun. The moral of the story could be that no matter what your parents do, they do it cause they love you.
Spoken by a 16 year old by the way if it makes any difference, and like looking into symbolic meanings though I guess I could need some practice. I understand if you couldn't be bothered reading it all though :P I can't even be bothered reading all the other comments...
I loved Loved - not for anything it "meant" but what it revealed to me about myself.
I definitely don't think it is bad trying to gather some idea of what the game was supposed to mean, but for me that wasn't what was important.
There was a part I got stuck at, having hit spikes over and over, and with most games I would close the tab and move on, but not here - I needed to be told I was "good". Which is something I have known for a while, but to have such an explicit example of what I was willing to do for that... that was new.
I think I can definitively say that I have never had an online game experience that was as emotional as this one.
For some strange reason,
this game taught me a lot about myself. I found myself personally attached to the Voice, only to come back and play it again and again.
After it told me to kill myself, I had mixed feelings because I had just come after a hard part in the game, only to lose the progress after I jumped, but the "Good Girl" made it...easier?
I ended up following the Voice's instructions all the times I've played, only teaching me how drastically I want to be Loved.
I loved it. It's absolutely fantastic.
However, this might just be my computer, because it's incredibly old, but the movement and controls were kind of twitchy for me. Was it like that for everyone?
found a secret passage at the end, before the final jump? In one playthrough, I think I did everything the voice told me to, and after running through the "gauntlet" and "not failing", as I jumped into the final hole I saw a white opening to the right, as if there were another hidden passage (like the one near the spikes). I haven't played through that way a second time to look for it again and make sure I really saw it, but there were two friends watching me and they saw it too, so I'm pretty sure it's there. I just don't know how to get into it! Anyone else seen/done it?
I find all the discussion of the game's "meaning" interesting. I wonder whether it's sort of a Rorschach test? I mean,
players' responses are fascinatingly disparate. It's about an abusive romantic relationship, a parent/child relationship, a god/mortal relationship? Even more interesting are people's different reactions to the same phenomena. Some found disobedience to feel liberating, others reported feeling uncomfortable. Some take the final "loved"-ness that obedience earns you to be intended as a positive feeling, others as a creepy damnation. Applying this pop psychoanalysis to myself, I find it interesting that disobedience didn't occur to me until I noticed Kongregate's "A man chooses, a slave obeys" badge—perhaps poorly named, since it immediately colored my view of what the game was supposed to be "about." I concluded it was a somewhat abstract statement about authority and individualism with an overtone of abusive entrapment. I find it interesting that the "God" interpretation never occurred to me until I read the comments here—perhaps the fact that romantic, or parental, or deistic interpretations occur to people says a lot about how they view romance, parents, or God? (Also, a side note to those who say "This game can't be about God because...." The question is not whether it accurately portrays God but whether that might be an interpretation that the author intended. (Same goes for other interpretations, I guess.) Personally, I too believe in a God whom you can't please simply with obedience, and who assures me I am loved in much more pleasant ways. But the question of the game's "meaning" has no more to do with my beliefs than the meaning of Pac-Man has to do with my belief in ghosts. Besides, I strongly suspect the author is one of these that would rather die than reveal any symbolic meaning he might have had, preferring all the personal interpretations on display here. If he had a symbolism in mind. Which I also kinda doubt—maybe it's just an abstract exercise in the concept of "the tutorial" and of following directions.)
To be honest, I found the game much easier when the obstacles remained as giant red pixels as they do when you disobey.
The achievement was named after Bioshock 1, in which "A man chooses, a slave obeys" is one of the central themes. "Loved" serves to illustrate this concept in a similar way, albeit much simpler.
I am very familiar with the bible and consider that god, if it actually existed, would be a manipulative abusive devil. Which is why the game, if interpreted from a religious perspective, makes perfect sense. The fairy sky friend was quite cruel for no reason.
An omniscience, omnipotent god would have to not only know in advance that horrible things were going to happen to you, but since he could stop it if he wanted to then he's also negligent and responsible for letting it happen. So he just committed EVIL!!
According to "god's plan" two year old babies are raped to death and that's a good thing, 'nuff said, please stop supporting that crap.
As a teenager trying to accept my transgender identity, this game had an extra level of interesting to it.
When the Voice asked me if I was a man or a woman, I stared at the screen for a moment, trying to decide what to say. When I finally clicked the gender I identified as, male, it told me, "No. You are a girl." And I nearly cried.
Hearing the voice call me "good girl" when I did the right thing made me angry and disobediant. Much like my relationship with my mother. But I quickly realised that if I restarted the game and was decietful, disguising my true nature, the game would call me a boy. I was willing to lie to the mother figure make my life easier and gain the acceptance I wanted in the end. This made me more complacent to the Voice's commands.
And as for the less all-age interpretation
I also found the BDSM interpretation interesting. It made the Voice somehow easier to tolerate, realising that like a submissive in a healthy D/s relationship, I could leave at any time. In fact, I almost grew to love the voice back. >>
I feel that this game affects you no matter what age.
If you are a kid, the voice congratulates you by obeying and is disappointed/insulted if you disobey. Either obeying or disobeying is natural to a kid. The voice sounds like a parent whom we dread disappointing because that "gut feeling" of our conscience advises against it. If you are an adult or older, this game reminds you of your childhood, the voice acting once again as a parent.
As for the game analysis,
I got three endings. Always obeying=voice happy. Disobeying and leaving=voice sad. Disobeying but agreeing to stay=voice happy/wanting to start this thing over.
Hoo boy. Do I have a lot to say about this one.
First, my playthroughs. On the first playthrough, I obeyed everything except for the order not to fail. I only disobeyed that one because of those damned starfish spike things. Even though I was choosing to obey, every time the Voice would say "Good girl," I would feel VERY creeped out. This especially became noticeable after the Leap into the Pit command. I had just killed myself, and my reward for obedience was having to repeat a groin-grabbingly difficult platforming sequence, and the unsettling praise of the Voice. In most cases, I would give up on such punishing platforming. I continued, mostly because I wanted to see it through. However, I was almost creeped out to the point of stopping after the Voice asked if I was excited or frightened to meet it, and I responded that I was frightened. Good lord, that was disturbing. The "excited" response wasn't much better. The "I loved you, always," sounded like a lie. Oh, really? You LOVED me, Voice? Your demands that I KILL MYSELF, your disgust with my failure, and your delight with my fear meant that you LOVED me? WELL, then! At the end, all I was promised was a continued relationship with the Voice. Joy.
The second time, I disobeyed as much as possible. The ending was better, but the Voice sounded almost sarcastic when it begged me to stay. "No, don't go. No. Stop. And so on."
ok.. im going to be honest here and say i was scared....not just scared of the voice but how everything was just lifeless but mostly i was scared because i never knew what happened next so i obeyed the voice...in a way i think the voice can use fear to its advantage to make people obey it and manipulate people into doing what it wants i think that this game is about many things..
1)about an abusive parent father/mother
2)about trying to play god and demanding obedience
3...and about a bad relationship
i have plenty more to add to that list but i would rather not because i want to make this quick
also at the point where it asks whether you are exited/frightened i chose frightened and the reply i got was "then it will be even more enjoyable when we meet"...well thats what i think it says anyway that just scared the crap outta me and im too scared to keep playing so uhh could somone tell me what happens next?
by the way i know i sound like an absoloute wimp but im only 10..
PS: i like how this game draws you in and gives you choices you can be obedient or rebellious or both!
The game is easy to understand as it was made to determine your true intentions inside and outside of the real world. As you disobey, your karma gets worst according to history and will end badly. According to this game, your karma WILL get worst and you will be more distracted making things more difficult in your life outside and inside the game. But if you listen, everything will be easier and better inside and outside the game. The game would get easier if you obeyed, and harder if you defy the voice. The insult at the beginning and saying you will fail/dont deserve it represents that you are not assured about something, due to your reaction. The game's SFX represents emotion and the voice represents literall defiance. At the end, if you obeyed, it gives you the true reward and calls you your true identity as a man or women thru victory that you are strong enough to leave solo and triumph the mountain with strengh. While when you defied, you got lost in your mind and ended up in a cave. But if you choose go when you defied at the end, the sfx gets stronger, and you get more emotional since you are leaving the one thing you truely love, but the voice still reckons he/she loves you still no matter what. While picking that represents independence. But picking close, makes it less tense, and makes you feel better. This represents first sign of defiance. The 3 endings represents: Defiance, Love/Strengh, and Independece, there is no bad ending. There is an alternate ending to independence though.
This is very long but I think it is worth reading :O
I loved this game, and I felt the need to play again to see what would happen if I decided to disobey.
I found it strange that at the beginning of the game when the Voice asked me if I was a boy/girl it told me No, you are a girl after I chose boy (which I am a boy). Even so, I found myself obeying every request that the Voice made, even when it told me to kill myself.
At the part where it asks you to take the lower path, I kept trying to do it, even though I became frustrated and kept dying. I kept trying, just to be told I was a 'good girl.'
Further in the game when it asked me not to fail, I found myself terrified that I might fail the voice. I tried so hard and I didn't want to fail the Voice, and surprisingly, I didn't, I survived. At the end of the game when I was told that he/she/it always loved me, I believed it, at I found that I kinda loved it back.
When it asked me a second time if I was a boy or a girl, again I chose boy, and I was replied with a 'No, you are a man.' and I felt that the voice loved me no matter what I chose to do and the only reason it told me to do difficult things was to see if I loved it back.
I looked through a lot of these interpretations and although I think they all make perfect sense, I disagree with them. I thought the Voice truly loved me and just wanted to see if I reciprocated the feeling.
I first started playing this game a while ago. Being hopeless at platformers, I gave up about halfway through, and I really didn't care much one way or another about the Voice. But today, when I came back to it after a couple months, it was a completely different experience. I obeyed the voice the entire time (If only to make it easier for myself), but nearing the end, when I was told not to fail, I did. Not on purpose, but I ended up disobeying that way three times. I had followed every other direction to the letter, but at the finish, the Voice was upset that I hated it. I'm not really sure what it means, but it still made me catch my breath a bit. I wanted an opportunity to please the voice again, undo my mistakes to make it happy. It was a really disconcerting experience. I'm not sure what I'm taking away from it, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't stand for just one thing, like religion. Still thinking about it, but I know for sure that this was the one game on this (excellent) site that really has cut me to the core like that. Good stuff.
How come when I said I was a man, it said i was a girl?
I felt that
this game seems to separate the idea of 'love' from a sense of positivity. The initial denial of gender and adulthood is demeaning and undermines your self-confidence, and the Voice (although I never heard it) is immensely cruel, and yet somehow extremely compelling. The point is that when he (for me) told me he loved me, I believed him, and despite myself somehow felt that connection. The gender games made it very sexual, but that personal love was nothing to do with caring about me. I felt insignificant, and yet lucky to be considered even that by this ?person? who made me feel so excited when he promised to see me. Even disobedience felt like I was following a part of his plan. So this (for me) was about whether love could exist without empathy, and with this imbalance of emotional connection. Does demanding suicide invalidate a promise of unconditional love, or is this bond still real? Are these just empty words, part of a game of emotional manipulation to deepen your sense of obligation?
I love this game because it's seemingly the only art game that everyone likes, one way or another.
As far as the Voice being
the Voice is totally the
This is a very interesting experience for me. I played this game a couple times when it came out on kongregate, but looking back, I now have a much different perspective than I did back then.
I personally am a recently discovered bisexual. I'm constantly discovering new things about myself. I came into this game remembering parts of it, but not much. When I chose that I was a man at the beginning, and it denied that, I felt offended in spite of myself. I felt like this voice (which, for whatever reason, I identify as male) was trying to provoke me. I proceeded to disobey his directives, and as I went, I couldn't help but think that the more I disobeyed, the more diverse the world became. I simply ignored the voice for the majority of the game. The only one I didn't disobey was the "do NOT fail". As I fell, I couldn't help but feel guilty. He still loved me, despite the fact that I had disobeyed him at every turn.
Restarting, I decided to go the obedient route. When he called me a girl this time, I oddly didn't take nearly as much offense to it. I almost even slipped into the role. I submitted to his demands, and I felt a perverse pleasure doing so. Going through this time, I became much more attached to him; I didn't see him as an antagonist, but instead as a domineering ally. It made me question a lot about myself. I can argue that it has made me identify with my latent submissive nature.
As I finished the obedient game, it asked me if I was a boy or a girl. Without thinking about it, I chose girl. It then said, "No. You are a Woman." This shocked me. Am I a woman? I am clearly male, but am I a woman? This is the question that was repeating in my mind for an hour after I finished playing, while I was reading the comments here. Am I, in fact, the submissive?
I suppose this has made me discover a lot more about myself that I would like to acknowledge. Thank you for having this game on your site, because it allowed me to see it and play it again and discover more of it's meaning.
Woa, Dora you are right. ART ARE HARD. I have read every comment(my brains hurt), & still don't know what interpretation I like best. All I know is:
-I disobeyed the first playthrough. The only times I obeyed were when the Voice told me to do something that I knew was in my best interest. The message I got from this was: I HAVE THE CONTROL. Even when the voice actively told me I didn't, I did. I could decide to make my world a more interesting & free-minded place, by refusing the tyranny. I DID have control.
-The second time, I obeyed. I felt strangely happy. When someone else does all your thinking for you, you have no worries. I was a total slave to the Voice, & would do ANYTHING just to hear it say 'Good boy'. Speaking of which, I thought the first few questions basically showed you what kind of abuser the Voice is. It told me I am not what I know I am, & I can't question its rulings. Back to my earlier topic! I felt, despite all my hatred for the Voice, an incredible attachment to it. I would go through any suffering just to gain its fake, plastic, love.
-I realized: the Voice was not only a psychological abuser, but also incredibly manipulative. Look at how I loathed the Voice, & yet in my second playthrough, hung on its every word! It's true that what you do affects how you feel entirely. Just obeying makes me feel like a happy puppet. No thoughts, no worries.
This game rocks. 5 'shrooms from me!
How did I miss this?! I thought this game was amazing.
What is it to be loved? If you could hear the inner narrative of your lover, would it sound like this?
This game resonates with me. Love is hard. If you don't do what your lover desires you to do, how long can it last? When your lover calls you an "Ugly creature", do you stay or do you shut everything down and look for something else? How long can you stand being treated like a "little girl" when you are so clearly a man? (in my case.) This is a game that asks as much of the player as the player asks of the game.
I didn't see it as a parent/child relationship. I suppose because I've always felt unconditional love from my parents. But that's just a personal experience and like any good art, it's all subject to interpretation. That's where this game succeeds.
Wow, funny you can get so much from a game that looks like it was made in MacPaint 15 years ago.
What struck me most about the game was that
If you disobeyed, even though it was the stronger thing for you to do as the player, it made the game much harder. Your pathway was blurry, pixelated, full of those distracting colored squares, and the "enemies" showed up as hard-to-see red squares. Conversely, if you were submissive, you felt slightly dirty but the game world was clearer.
To me this says something about human relationships and needing to be defined by submission.
Did anyone else find the actual gameplay to be really frustrating? It's entirely possible that I'm just bad at platformers, but given the claim in the review that a few playthroughs should only take ten minutes, I was not expecting this length and level of difficulty.
Also: my thing about not having to think meaning you don't have worries. Madeline L'engle used the exact same thing in 'A Wrinkle in Time', when IT is trying to persuade Charles Wallace to come over to IT.
In addition, When the Voice ordered me NOT to fail, I felt some kind of insane pressure to NEVER let it down. To NOT fail.
Plus, in my disobedient playthrough, I'd like to point out that the reason you have the power is that the Voice can't stop you. The Voice can only use its, well, Voice, to try to make you obey. That's why you have the power.
OK, just tack all this on to my previous post :D
I'd like to make note that when I played this game, yes, I was one of few, like Kangra, that have suffered lag and losing the capacity to jump and run as more squares changed colour. I'm of the opinion that has nothing to do with the game, but only now, in retrospect, due to the many comments devoid of such a mention. I believe that may just be lag suffered due to more memory necessary to load the colours and track them each time one moves or they change.
As such, my personal take on this game initially reflected the lag and includes it:
This is why I initially agreed to self-doubt and self-loathing, having been burdened by the lag and the subsequential failures.
However, I think I prefer to take a different look at it, by that I mean to say the voice isn't one's self-doubt, but something echoing in the dark to evoke one's self-doubt.
Allow me to explain myself. For me, when I initially found this, it was from a forum I traverse and the title of the thread was simply "Are you a MAN or WOMAN?" to which my stubborn wit gladly challenged. In keeping with that question, I selected my opposite gender immediately and was told I was actually what I am. I smirked at my success, having guessed correctly at what my mate on the forum had implicitly warned. Continuing from there, I proceeded in accordance with my character: As I wasn't heavily invested in this game and it seemed rather simple, I chose the path of least resistance and that agreed or disagreed with the voice at respective intervals. During this play-through, I hardly noticed the voice and, after noting that disregarding its instruction did nothing to me, I was urged to continue this scheme. I obeyed when it favoured me, disobeyed otherwise, but with the lag hindering me, it felt as if I was being challenged with the threat of failure, something every platform game challenges. (I also believed the colours were a glitch at first or lag derived) Eventually, I reached the final areas with the moving spikes (or as they were to me at this point, moving red blocks) and the lag hindered me so severely, I couldn't complete it at all. With the lag, it was around about 5 minutes into the game and this one area had kept me for another 5 minutes. As I said, I wasn't nearly invested enough and so began recklessly running about, which is also when I discovered the "secret area." Having no chance at successfully navigating the rest of the labyrinth, I simply made note of the secret and exited at about 12 minutes.
After that, I went back to the forum and read the many replies to the thread, finding out that it was an artistic game and that there were several endings, unlocked by obeying or disobeying.
In hindsight of that, I felt one's personality can be reflected by it. Having read all the comments, I see this probably to be the case. As anyone who has heard of me knows, I do what I want when I believe its right. I hardly care for strict rules and don't feel any reason to follow orders if they hinder my path. The lag in my play-through felt a reflection on what happens when one does what one feels is right regardless of the established norm, a heavy burden that is increasingly cumbersome as friends and family alike scold and reject. However, should one surpass it (I got my ending in a later run), the burdens seem worth it to know the path taken was one's own choice, no one else's and that it was good.
Now, that only explains what I felt the first time. To explain what I said earlier, I constantly feel as though there is a voice speaking to me, telling me the dangers of proceeding in anything I do. (No I'm not a schizophrenic and no I do not have multiple personalities) In that light, I feel as though the voice inside that warns one of the dangers, either purposefully or inadvertently, evokes one's doubt, which causes hesitations in everyone whether or not to listen. The scrolling map shows little of what's to come so "taking the lower path" could potentially lead to an easier path further on whereas the easier path could lead to an impossible path ahead. I'd even go so far to say this for throwing oneself into the pits or spikes at its counsel because it may open a better path (yes I know it doesn't) than going with what one sees.
As such, it can almost be related to trust, if Alexander Ocias had gone the step further. For this game, listening to the voice as it tells you to do obviously detrimental moves will cause the subsequent death and respawn, but what if it didn't? On various occasions in our lives, we reject ideas that don't seem productive ourselves without doing the research to guarantee our rejection was correct. Why can't we trust in each other? Why must we doubt the potential good will of others? What if throwing oneself into the "spike bed" was actually an easier escape that led to the exit sooner? I came to this realisation upon reanalysing the secret area, as it was behind false spikes. When one entered, the voice said "Even here you search for me" as though there was enough trust and love shared to allow one to disregard his own notions of safety and make the sacrifice for the sake of another, which only betters oneself. If it is a game of love, why not this sort of love, dedication and devotion for another that can lead one to saving and preserving that love in times of jeopardy? We can see remnants of it, more prevalent in Eastern cinema where the hero has a choice to save his love or kin from themselves and would rather sacrifice himself to serious injury at their hands if there is a chance to protect them from their own actions. The callous remarks of the voice could be the desires of a self-destructive loved one, be that a child or lover. To protect that person, one must be willing to make sacrifices in the hopes, slight as they might be, that person will come to realize the harm that's been done.
I also made note of the other ideas people have had.
@joye: I'd beg to differ. Obey or disobey might seem like the only options, but there are moments where one is allowed or affords himself an exploratory role. When taking the high road, one can travel left at the top and descend back to before the fork in the path. Likewise, when one is told to stop, leaping down after takes him to an area where traveling left leads to steps that reach back up to the top. Furthermore, there is the secret passage and various methods for "not failing" the last areas, being that one can jump from different combinations of platforms. In the end, I feel as though its each person's own limitations or perspectives on available freedoms that dictates the choices. With the lag I suffered, I found myself hoping for any possible shortcut, which then allowed me to travel along those paths.
@Acidifiers: Actually, the secret passage is there all the time, which is how I arrived at the "trust" concept. If one disobeys, he may be granted a "peek" at what could be another route and can choose to ignore the spikes or "red blocks" to arrive there. However, it is there regardless and I myself discovered it in an attempt to destroy myself once after minutes of lagged failure in the following sequence, therefore being startled by the discovery of not dying.
From reading the comments, I found it quite surprising the quantity of submissions there were. There were so many eager to please the voice as if an overseeing controller, parent, lover, or god. There were comments about guilty pleasure in gaining approval and the need for the voice's brand of love. Even O.o, who started out similar to my route, utterly diverged later on in favour of obedience. If there be notation on this, I must say that it appears as though the majority would rather instruction or direction with support rather than pave one's own path in the face of scrutiny and abomination.
The obvious choice is "love" as the title of the game is "Loved." However, the many divergent thoughts on it are interesting. Many have likened this to an abusive relationship due to the tactless words of the voice. Some have said the voice is the abusing party, whether it be a dominator or abusive partner. In that scenario, I've noticed that obedience is due to submissive or passive personalities that seek and crave approval for fear of being rejected. Some have said they long for the voice's praises and suffer anxiety when it has gone or the game has ended. There is an emptiness inside when there's no more love being shown, no validation to be had. The disobedient ending reflects that in those people, the endless cavern and loss of the voice are devastating.
Otherwise, one comment noted that the voice may be one's own instincts, which one should follow in order to escape the clutches of a brutal relationship. Denying oneself leads to a chaotic world and being "lost" in an "endless" cave.
In my opinion, this could very well be what Alexander Ocias had in mind at the very beginning, again in accordance with the title. Therefore, I agree that it is to relate to an abusive relationship, which allows the player to seek approval from his harsh master or escape its clutches.
The concept of parenting, both children and adolescents, was an interesting one I hadn't thought of at all. However, it does pose great merit. Many occasions one will find a parent cannot predict everything his child will encounter in life and may, at the off-chance, choose a path unfavourable to the child. Now, as an obedient child, seen very often in my particular culture where all children seek approval from the parent for fear a lack of approval equals depravity, one attains the love and approval of the parent and is comforted by knowing he won't be disregarded. Likewise, disobedience leads to being denounced and scolded by the parents, while possibly coupled by outside failures. This can be a heavy burden on some who now have not only been wounded by failure, but have that wound further aggravated by his own family and friends.
On the other hand, as a teenager, especially in modern times, the information acquired is of such a greater abundance that teens of this age are much more equipped to deal with sudden changes or conflicts in society than even their parents despite the experience. The teens "rebel" or rebel and are scolded by the parents regardless of success or failure for not doing what they're told. In this light, I see some comments about wanting to disobey, that being a sense of power, control, or simple indignation when faced with a controlling entity. Whether or not the teen is rebelling or "rebelling" is a matter for each person to decide, but either way, a choice has been made and the parent feels the loss of control and is dejected. In this case, there really isn't an easy solution. A parent always wants to protect his children and usually considers himself more capable of saving the child than the child himself. When offering poor advice, a parent will often be blinded to the possibility the child has foreseen failure ahead and will commit the child to the advice. Obey and fall or deny for something else, the parent will either see his mistake or feel unappreciated by the child.
On the many notions that this is about God or possesses religious undertones, I'm of the opinion there's some truth to it. In many older versions of Judeo-Christianity, even Islam (some lasting to the present day), God was vindictive and wrathful. One fears God and disobedience is dealt with by damnation, a terrible fate. Much as many have said, disobeying the voice leads to a "chaotic" and "disorienting" world in a myriad of confusing colours and easily missed dangers, a life of torment and painful death. This also holds true to the one comment about Karma, in that disobeying leads to suffering, in this case, being drowned in a sea of indistinguishable calamities. Conversely, obedience to the Heavenly Father or to Spiritual Karma leads to a clean and ordered world, much as an Elysium or Eden would be where one can travel in peace, avoiding the dangers as they are made clear.
However, some modern versions to these religions show a much kinder and loving Father who nurtures and protects, which completely contradicts this game then. So, for those who are only taking this view, I can see the offence taken by those who'd compare the Lord in such an unfavourable light. However, please keep an open mind to other interpretations as they exist for a reason.
@The GLaDOS comments: Well, that's the premise in Portal so I can see where it correlates. However, this one is more refined to love and obedience while GLaDOS uses this in a general sense for laboratory purposes.
^Just to note beforehand, spoilers are there due to sheer length. You have been warned. ^_^;;
@TheFez: Dream Lord... Doctor Who reference?
This game always screws with my head and depresses me. I can never finish it, but every time I restart it, just seeing "no, you are boy," drags me back down. I always get so breathless with wanting the Voice to forgive me and tell me it loves me. I have yet to try disobeying- every time I try, I break down and want the Voice to accept me. The name, 'Loved'- I want to feel that way.
That's EXACTLY how I feel- just put in much much better words.
This is a good but Terrible game, i mean yes, its kinda fun but very unsettling and kinda wrong, but you like the wrong too dont you? youre being told what to do and you do it just so the game will love you, you dont want to Disappoint it now do you? no, because youre like that, you are too loyal but you get a certaint thrill or sensation when your being what some say "abused", you cant be abused if you like it. even when it will hurt you, you do it for love and you deal with whatever difficulty or pain there is, because thats just who you are.this game is about you and who you hate or want... in real life you'ld be too scared to do half of these this, but its a game right? its controling your mind as if it were real, this usually leaves you with eithor saying F@#& you to it or helplessly obeying.... Have fun and don't screw up your life.
Did anyone get to the second level?
I got to the second level by being obediant and never dying, and it took me to a place that slopes up, but then I touched what looked like a coin and the game ended
I am disappointed with the lack of options in it.
Oof. What a fascinating game. I'll stick this in spoilers for those who haven't played yet
My first playthrough, from the moment I heard the voice I hated it and I decided to disobey its every order. I'm currently in a power struggle with my parents, and I felt really proud of myself for disobeying even when it meant dying. I was actually really happy with my ability to sacrifice for independence, even when it wasn't in my best interest. In that case I felt that the relationship was really harmful, a hate-hate affair that neither of us seemed able to escape. Frankly, I was delighted with the colors. The ending confused me, but I personally felt that the screen had been turned on its SIDE, so my perspective had been shifted and I could escape the pit that the voice had dug for me.
My second playthrough, I was surprised when obeying the voice brought me similar rewards to the colors, although in a different format. I thought the drawings were beautiful, and I really did want to obey the voice, but every time it told me 'Good boy' I felt demeaned. I had done all this for it and it still didn't see me as an equal? In the ending, I saw the coin and I felt like an indentured servant buying my way to freedom. But I wished I hadn't touched the coin; it made me feel like there was more on the other side of the mountain? I want to play it again and find out.
I highly recommend playing it each way; they're both fascinating.
At the beginning of the game, there is a hidden message. For a split second, in light gray, another voice tells you, "not that, you will control nothing". (This happens right before your character appears). I had to screen cap it to actually read it. Did anyone besides me notice this?
It's definithey parent-child. It's a really nice game, I obeyed everything but towards the end when it said "do not fail" I accidentally died and I didn't get frustrated! I APOLOGISED!!! I don't usually apologise to The Voice :S
As a submissive, I found this game deeply calming. Rather like when in the Simpsons when the school gets shut down, Lisa finds relief listening to a recording of a teacher saying "Is that gum? A+" and such.
On that note, I wish the game was longer and for the record, I'm a little shocked people didn't get the D/s element. I guess it's more obscure than I thought.
Wonderful, unique game...extra gratifying for subs. Hehe. Good girl.
I see that everybody thinks this is a great game, but...
*whispers* I can't even get past the first part after I press that I want the game to explain the instructions to me. It says, you don't deserve to know or whatever.
Does the voice not like me?
So many saying it's "definitely" this or that... and each of those theories fits the facts so well and makes so much sense. The game is definitely a Rorshach blot (or a Dagobah cave), you get out of it what you bring into it. It makes the comment section actually more interesting than the game itself.
I have to ask Tabs though if s/he read the same Bible I did. And if so, how s/he could possibly miss the horrible atrocities the ancient Israelites committed in the name of their vengeful, wrathful war god? The Old Testament is filled with bloody passages of mass slaughter in the five and six digits, and not just of opposing armies but of civilians, women and children and seniors. At one point, the Israelite army is instructed to kill all the males and old people, and every woman "who had known the touch of a man", but were "allowed" to keep any virgin females for themselves. Yes, that's right, God literally COMMANDED the taking of sex slaves and the commission of genocide --and worse yet, he HELPED!
Some may consider this offensive, but the stories of those slaughters and many other horrible incidents are all through the book. I didn't make any of it up. And I honestly question the morality of anyone who can argue in favor of such atrocities just because they were ordained by a divine being. It raises the question, does good and evil flow solely from authority and power, and thus ultimate power can justify anything and everything in it's own name? Or is morality universal, in other words murder and rape and genocide are evil no matter what? And if the second is true, what does that say about a deity who would order such things?
It was these questions, among other issues, that led me to leave the conservative Christian faith I was raised in. I simply could not reconcile the proclamations of God's all-good, all-just, all-loving nature with the records of the things this God had done. I had to face the fact that if a human leader had done such things, that human would be lumped with the likes of Hitler and Stalin and Mao. My final conclusion was that the book had to be wrong, and thus that Christians were following a fiction. In other words, my suspension of disbelief kicked in because of massive, unreconcilable plot holes.
I still agree entirely with Penn Gillette, who says that if you want to make more athiests in this world then we should encourage more people to read the Bible.
I decided to play this again after a long time.
I read some of the comments and chose my actions. I found it weird tht I had trouble with the controls now, but I played on. I tried what Acidifiers had said, about the disobeyance and the melting spike wall after the statue you weren't supposed to touch, and was amazed. When I first played this game, I felt really connected to the Voice, and, somehow, the Voice telling me that I was still searching for it after disobeying just left me dumbfounded. I was unable to say anything or move until I fully absorbed the situation. Thanks Acidifiers, for the observation, it pleasantly surprised me (although I didn't know it was pleasantly at the time).
This game is so strange I can't decide if I want to play it again or never even look at it.
When the game said I was the opposite gender, I couldn't helped but be distressed, so much that I restarted the game and lied just to get my real gender! As the game went on I decided I didn't like the voice, especially after it told me to jump into the pit of spikes. I scared me pretty badly, and I actually almost committed suicide when it told me to not fail, just to spite it. Some great insights in this game.
Only to add this: At a point the message is "Soon we will see each other". When does that happen? (if at all). I'm searching for that answer. And also, I find the audio reminiscent of the music used in the film 2001 A Space Odyssey; it carries a feeling of deep meaning or tense discovery. There may not be a tub of meaning to the 'game' and the choices and changes can be artistic distractions. I like Alex Ocias' style. The website includes other stunning works of art. A happy, healthy and prosperous 2011 to all.
the voice did not appear ever, any help on how to get it to work?
I had a bit of fun, playing this. I obeyed the first time. I chose ''MAN'' as the first choice when the Voice asks my gender, simply because the photo said ''good boy'' at the top of the page. When the Voice said, ''No, you are a girl,'' to me, I felt an odd sense that the game was sentient. Of course, it isn't, but I felt like it could see me through the laptop's webcam. (As I AM a girl.) I liked being called a good girl, and I never disobeyed. At the point where the Voice tells me to jump, I felt like the Voice was testing me to see if I trusted it. I was so pleased when it praised me, even though I had to go through that infuriatingly hard bit again.When the Voice asked if it controlled my mind or body, I said mind. The Voice then told me to beg, which unnerved me, but still made me happy. (Which is an odd thing to feel after being told to beg, now that I look back on it.) I never got the message that the Voice was disappointed, and I was so happy until the "do NOT fail" command. If told to not fail at a test or something in real like, I always mess up on purpose, even while I was a kid. (And I never was a contrary child.) So I had the urge to die, just because of my habit of being a contrary person. But I felt so strongly that I wanted no anger from the Voice, I tried my hardest not to fail. I was so happy, almost giddy, from not failing that I sort of disturbed myself. Because it's just a game, right?
I don't know if:
a)I am an airhead
b)I am an oyster
I though the voice was just kind of a dick, I didn't specifically ignore the voice or went against it, but instead did my best to get the character to the end, I mean the only emotion the voice elicited in me was mild annoyance, as for the game in general I didn't try too hard to interpret anything I just learned what I could and tried to explore my posibilities. I was sort of confused about the game's relation to "relationships" so I began reading comments. I guess in trying to find the relation to "relationships" in general I didn't stop to think about the game portraying a specific type of relationship, that is, relationships of power that imply some sort of sense of intimacy. I guess that's why opinions swayed between abusive relationships with a significant someone and god. The voice was rather incoherent, I have met people like this, who treat others like shit and then act all "oh but I love you", maybe I can't be manipulated that way? maybe I didn't care for validation? maybe I get my validation elsewhere? maybe the game is supposed to leave you with questions, maybe it tries to show the implications of confrontation? if you follow the voice the world becomes "clear" if you don't it becomes hazy but colorful, I even found a secret passage thanks to the colorfulness, in the end it's all more or less the same in terms of outcomes, so maybe the whole point of the game is to confront you with confrontation? people paint it with whatever they want god, other people, etc.
Interesting game. The character's relationship with the voice reminds me of
The ending of Orwell's 1984 where the main character is conditioned to love the oppressive Big Brother after originally opposing him.
...This impacted me deeply. The voice...
Immediately as I began I knew that disobeying was out of the question. Maybe that's what some people do but I knew that the answer was to not disobey.
But then it got to the part...the "hard" part - you should know - near the end of the game -
And I failed.
It destroyed me inside so I had to shut the game off and look for a link of someone who did it successfully.
It's not the same type of satisfaction --- but I felt it - I felt the satisfaction.
...Now I feel calm and peaceful inside.
This speaks strongly.
Did anyone else notice that if you don't answer the question about owning your body or mind, it skips the question and you continue playing... therefore the voice own nothing.
Well, I've played the game like a bajillion times and I've come with almost the same things as everyone else. However...
I want to point out first that we've all been talking about a voice when there actually ISN'T one! xD There's no actual sound for the voice, but I agree with everyone who has said/thought something about the voice having a certain tone or quality to it. I know every time I play through it always to seem to be mocking or patronizing me. It's so annoying.
But I wonder how many people went ahead and obeyed the voice even though they didn't like it? I certainly did and it wasn't till after it told me, "I'm so glad your mine," that I realized what I had done. I had caved into something I disliked and borderline hated just because my gaming experience told me that's what I should do. I was horrified when I realized that.
And I don't know if someone has mentioned this yet (I didn't read all of the comments), but honestly the voice reminded me of society. Before the game really even seems to begin, the voice has already told us we are not who we think we are and has decided that we should be something else. Society does this all the time by forcing us to conform to fit in and meet its standards. We either do what it wants, even if it is self-destructive or harmful, or else it tries to make us feel awful and insecure about ourselves. If we do what it wants, it tells how good we are and how much it loves us. And drains out our individuality at the same time. To me, though, what's even worse is that society is an just an idea. We are being held hostage by a set of ideas and rituals that usually have no real benefit to us. And the voice is the same as society. We've all assumed that their must be a "person" behind that "voice", but for all we know the voice is just an automated program. And we put ourselves through all that pain in hopes that we would please the "person" behind the voice, when there's a good chance there is no person. Sad, isn't it?
I once read an explanation that said...
that in that player's opinion, it was about religion.
If you followed it and had faith, in the end you knew the outcome would be good, but your world became colourless and static.
If you disobeyed it and trusted your reason, in the end you didn't know what to expect, but your world became colorful and everchanging.
I think I agree with that explanation, it makes a lot of sense.
But my first impression was of an abusive relationship.
I do NOT think this is about a BDSM relationship; a good Master won't demand you to do something lethal (jumping on the spikes) or to give up important means of safety (not touching the statue). This is the opposite of an healthy BDSM relationship.
Also, if you are truly frightened a good Master would be at least slightly worried, not cruelly amused.
And I too thought that the "Voice" was
for some reason.
This game is fascinating, I loved reading everyone's comments about their interpretations and I happen to agree with just about all of them. For a simple game, this one really messes with you.
When I first started playing, the music creeped me out from the get go. When it asked me my gender, and it told me I was a boy, I was creeped out even more- why would it call me a boy?!
Aside from the original fear, I found that I much preferred to obey the voice, unless it was something hard for me to do. When it told me to commit suicide, or to take the lower path for example, I just went my own way. At the end, when it told me not to fail, I felt an extreme pressure not to. I ended up becoming so stressed that I failed several times and couldn't finish the game.
Overall, this game does tell you a lot about yourself. I've always been the type to try to stay within the box most times :)
This view might seem a bit weird, but I'll post it anyway. I think the creature you play might not be able to see or understand the world around him very well. It depends on the voice to guide it. If you obey, the voice will create a world it can understand. If you disobey, you see that the world becomes less easy to understand. However, since the voice is cruel and demanding, most people would disobey. But without a guide, the world becomes blurry.
I seem to be the only one who noticed this.
The more you disobey in the game, the harder the game gets. I think this is about authority. Sometimes you may question it, and think it's wrong, but if you just lay down and do as you are told in life, life becomes easier, without conflict. It's just so much easier to obey. Every time you obey life gets more clear and detailed, simpler. Don't get me wrong, I dont support this idea, however true it may be in some cases IRL. I rebel just like the rest of you. Parents, teachers, bosses. However, I think what the game is saying is you have the choice to rebel against something you KNOW is wrong, and have your life become more difficult. (And colorful!) Or you can do it, no questions asked, and be on your merry way.
My take on the game was
You are being tested by the voice. He is your master, and he loves you. When you disobey, he sees that you hate him. He just wants to see that you are his, and you love him as much as he loves you. His intents, as creepy as he seems, are good.
I also thought that it was a great game, and that you shouldn't be reading these thoughts if you haven't played the game yet.
While an almost endless number of different interpretations can be argued, I think this game more than anything points out attributes of the gamer's subconscious. But here is what I got out of it.
The first time I played I was angry at the voice for belittling me at the beginning, but determined to prove it wrong especially with the "you will fail" line. Then as I obeyed the first few orders bc they were logical choices beneficial to me, I realized the world became more clear and the game play became easier or at least felt easier, so I began to trust in the voice and follow. Than the ending came and I felt driven to "not fail" so that I could fully and finally prove myself to this voice that had led me along the way in hopes that I would somehow find or meet it. Overall with the title I came away with the idea that love in life is never easy. It may feel belittling at times, it may not make sense at times, but if you sacrifice for it and devote yourself to it, everything around you becomes easier and more clear, and at the end of the day you realize that the trials and hardships you may have felt or faced only made you stronger. Plus the statement of manhood and being loved all along at the end felt like a warm hug after a harsh trial, as if the voice was saying I'm sorry for the pain you had to go through, but I gave you what you needed to succeed, and I couldn't be more proud.
This time I wanted to see what the opposite route was, so I disobeyed every possible thing I could. In this way as the world become more and more colorful, but more and more vague, I felt as if my rebelliousness was a drug. It lightened up my world in every way possible sure, but at the price of reality. Dangers were hidden, details were hidden, the world felt farcical and far more difficult than it should be. As derogatory statements like "disgusting" kept being thrown at me, I was just motivated to "use" more and more through my rebellion thus making the world less and less real. Than with the ending I felt sorrow for hurting the voice despite the continual put downs as it felt like the voice had really been a motivating factor all along trying to help me succeed in life while I was giving in to my desires and pissing away my potential on the drugs of my own rebellion. Staying with the voice felt like a chance for redemption to right my wrongs, while leaving felt like an underground abyss that would never end.
Regardless of any interpretation, this is an astonishingly deep, thought provoking work for such a short simplistic game format. Extremely well done.
My personal interpretation might not be correct, but here goes (in a spoiler tag, naturally):
This game seems based on more of an abusive relationship rather than a religious view. When I was sixteen, I was raped, and the man who did it would often say things like the game says to the player. If I disobeyed him (such as when he'd make an odd sexual request), he would call me names and punish me. If I obeyed, he would say "Good girl" and nothing more. No compliments, no reward.
Perhaps the world becoming blurry and pixelated is a form of "punishment" the game takes on. Or it could be a new reality that the player has broken into by disobeying, such as leaving the abusive relationship and taking steps to recover from it.
But as for the being "loved" part?
From my experience, a relationship such as the one I am describing has no love. The one in power may say that they love the one who is under their control, but there is no love in their actions or words, other than saying the apologetic "I love you" from time to time. This game may be saying it loves the player so that the protagonist will stay. I mean, why else put up with these crazy orders, if not for love?
I interpret this game as a way of demonstrating just how truly helpless you feel when you are overpowered. There's the empty words of "I love you," and you, personally, have no identity. The voice tells you your gender, and what choice do you have but to obey?
It's rather dark, really.
This game gave me chills. I was so absorbed in i t that I played it multiple times, each trying something different;
1. Obey-- All the colors disappear, even the red colored barbs. Things are harder, like traveling the lower path instead of the higher one, and throwing yourself into the barbs. But then you get praise, and that almost makes up for everything cruel the Voice has commanded you to do. You don't get any colors, as you do when you disobey, but you're Loved at the end.
2. Disobey-- You get told you are 'Disgusting, disappoiting, an Ugly creature' when you disobey, but more colors appear. It's easier to disobey in the beginning, but in the end, as more colors appear, it's more challenging as the colors can blind, confuse and distract you from the obstacles. Not to mention the Voice isn't very kind at the end of the game.
All in all, I've considered the option that it may be a parent/child relationship, or an abusive one. Maybe the game is both. It's very thought provoking, and could have multiple levels. But what I think is most likely; is a 'Would you rather have freedom(disobeying) or Love(obeying)? And how can you draw the line between both?'
This is possibly one of my favourite games, just because it's beautiful in the way it makes you think.
The voice reminded me of Akito from Fruits Basket (an anime).
oh man i wish i'd known about obeying making it easier! when i first played it it was at the end of a run of really creepy games, so of course i was expecting something to leap out at me.
the voice... i didn't like it from the start when it was rude to me and stuff. but i followed it in the beginning because i thought it was instructions. when it told me to do dumb stuff... i just plowed ahead.
even though the black&white was stark, it was also comforting to me. often when i'm feeling really panicked i switch my computer to greyscale or stare at some plain b&w stripes to calm down. the red naturally represented danger, so i didn't have to think about it.
i really freaked out when the color started coming in though. it was horribly distracting and it felt like a punishment from the voice for not obeying it. the whole game really felt like an escape, trying to run away from this rapidly dissolving world, and i was so glad at the end to get away.
(i also selected "frightened" not because i wanted to admit that i was, but because i was sure at that point it would tell me i was anyway, and being denied by the voice really sickened me.)
To me the game was perhaps about evaluating your reactions to things. I admit that i don't bother to puzzle things out and understand them just to barge ahead. I also know that i hate being told what to do by mostly everyone! so it's a pretty good test of "how you'll end up in life"... not really but pretty much! Will you just keep running ahead, trying to escape everything? will you accept the reward offered by obeying orders even if it feels wrong?
i'm also curious to know if anyone wasn't creeped out by the voice?? i guess the game is supposed to be about love, hence the title, but i didn't feel any love while playing it... *shrug*
am i the only one who HATES the red squares??? its so much easier when you play the 'good one'
can someone PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me what happens if you obey every time so i dont have to play thru yet again??? where is says
do not fail, I always fail!
please it would be greatly appreciated cuz i kept gettn the same ending!
i really liked this game its one that will certainly make you think. i prefered the side where you obey the voice, because I feel like even a love that sometimes mocks you but still helps oyu is better than total hatred. i found the erie voice oddly calming. i wish i had known where my character was going at the end... i didn't like it when i disobeyed becuase it was MUCH harder and the blocks swarming me were very distracting. i think im probably the only one on the page who liked the voice which creeps me out! I PROMISE IM A NORMAL PERSON!!!!!!!!!!!!!
btw i dont want to start a religious discussion but
@JIGUEST, really? like, seriously some of us are CHRISTIANS and that stings deep. look up c.s. lewis, please. i am trying sooooo hard to keep from going off on you right now, but im doing alright. just remember to PLEASE BE LESS HARSH! 2 Cor. 5:7.
back to Loved...
I dont think its about God unless the voice is the devil, because of how sweetly sinister it is. sorry if i hurt anybody. just trying to make a point.
also sorry to @JIGUEST I didn't mean to get snooty. it just stung a bit, is all.
one more thing. I have reviewed what i said about liking the voice, and i retract that statement because of @JIGUEST, when i realized that if it is meant to be about God, the voice could be the devil. Wow, I have conflicting emotions today! stil a great game.
can we please stop arguing about whether God is real or not? so many people putting Him down. its just a game...
I can understand how many people might think this game is about an abusive relationship, but i myself think that it isn't about anything specific, but if i were to choose what the voice represented, i would have to say religion. HOWEVER, i definitely would not say that the Voice represents God. Several people think that the Voice is God because it is punishing, controlling, sickened when you disobey, yet loving and forgiving when you DO obey, tells empty promises (we see each other soon), and it tells you to do things your instincts tell you to is bad as a test of your obedience. This is the wrong impression of God. God allows us to act freely and instinctively as long as, in the end, we comprehend our sins and hope to be forgiven. I would turn this around and say that the voice could also be the devil. It is mocking and taunting, and it somewhat frightens you. I myself loved the voice very much, however, and found that i was disgusted with myself when i disobeyed. I wanted it to love me, and i loved it back (which is NOT how i feel about the devil). Anyhow, i was almost frightened to do wrong and felt that even when it was best to disobey, i HAD to obey. As for the pixels, i believe they represent distraction, choas, and struggles that comes with disobeying something that has power over you. I have ABSOLUTELY no problem with people of other religions or no religion at all. It does not in any way effect how i view them, but i do not want people bashing my beliefs if i am respectful to theirs, so please hold all negative religious comments inside. Again, this is very abstract and there really isn't anything specific that the Voice is created around. It's just my opinion.
@panic I, at first, despised and feared the voice, but later on, i craved it's praise. I don't know why, but i loved it by the end of the game, and i was slightly upset when it was over.
But anyways, I LOVED it. Definitely my favorite. It's a bit creepy and intense (especially the music) but it fits together perfectly.
Played this for the first time and had my mind tied in a knot and beaten against my monitor. This is what casual gaming SHOULD be, in my opinion: an experience that forces you to actually think and draw new conclusions about life based on what you just took part in. (My only complaint is the iffy controls. They distract from the message)
I won't try to explain how I interpret this game because I don't fully understand yet myself. I plan to play this game through in the future to find additional insights that I may have missed.
Thank you for bringing this game to my attention!
I noticed that thee are a lot of personal or pedagogical responses (even some metaphysical), but I was wondering if it could be more. Instead of merely a close relationship, I thought it could also be political. It could perhaps be like: if you obey, its communism--it can be self-destructive and your will is ultimately ignored. when you disobey, however, you strike out for your own gain--follow your heart, but the game becomes clouded and shifty, and you lose focus on the world . . .
I thought it to be like a greater being, something less than a god yet still alike a deity, with a powerful love. It seemed to want to be loving butt have a temperament almost childlike in ways. I love this game c:
This is clearly anything but a poem. It teaches the life of a slave and what you must do in life, if you want to avoid those bad moments in life and possibly even get free and evade the grasp of the "voice".
And by the way, it kind of tests your personality, whether or not you go to the cave or the mountain.
I got both the endings and here is what the game reminds me of. I think the voice is symbolized as god as well. No matter what ending you get the voice still loves you, and wants you to love him back. (Example: In the cave ending, if you pick leave when the voice asks you if you will stay or leave, the voice says "I beg you to stay"). But then again Jen made a good point and there is a possibility that the voice is a combination of god and the devil.
even if you disobey once or twice, you get the same ending. The ending mostly based on the majority of times you obey/disobey
This game struck me as creepy. I admire the author for making the Voice's words strong enough to immediately evoke emotion, but sparse enough to allow our own interpretations and feelings to fill the vacuum.
My impressions during my playthrough are broken down into general topics below. Apologies for the length.
Who is this creep and why is he (I interpreted the Voice as being male) denying my gender? Getting someone's gender wrong is insulting; deliberately rejecting it is deeply demeaning. And what kind of person would do the latter, if not someone abusive? But people can be abusive for different reasons: some aren't aware that they are (they have good intentions in their minds), while others are actively malicious.
The Voice told me I "didn't deserve" an explanation of how to play. That's not someone with good intentions. Withholding that kind of knowledge is antithetical to the basic intent/duty of a parent or teacher (or someone trying to help, in general). So I concluded that the Voice was malicious - some abusive partner or "master" (self-styled or appointed).
The player avatar:
I looked at the character I was controlling. It seemed like a cruel caricature of an overweight person - it's basically an oval with short limbs, no neck, and animal-like ears (so, what, it's not even human?). Seeing that made me feel a little worse - it's not enough to have the demeaning Voice, but even the body we're given is one that would conventionally be called "fat" or otherwise ugly. This was amplified as soon as the Voice started calling me "ugly" and "disgusting".
Context is powerful. In virtually any other game, this avatar would be cute, maybe even cuddly. Here, it felt damning and dehumanising.
Unsurprisingly, I disobeyed the Voice. Words are words, and they don't have to be taken to heart. When I took the higher path early on to avoid danger and was called an "ugly creature" for it, that only reinforced the malicious/sadistic interpretation of the Voice, and therefore its untrustworthiness.
When the colours started appearing, I thought, "This looks promising. It's as if this black-and-white world were a hollow mockery of the real world, and the latter is now slowly bleeding through the walls, becoming visible again." But that real world was still far away, blurry (pixellated), and confusing. Spending too much time in a fake world makes us forget how to move and function in the real world, where things aren't so cleanly outlined (dictated) for us. I had to take a few leaps of faith when platforming on the coloured blocks, hoping that they'd be platforms rather than thin air.
When asked by the Voice if he owned my body or my mind, I wanted a way to answer "neither", but ended up selecting "body"... to which he responded, "Dance for me." Nauseating.
At the end, I chose to "go" (leave). "I loved you" sounds too much like a guilt trip, and after all the previous statements from the Voice, it rings hollow.
Overall, the game is a meaningful and interesting experience, although the controls feel very slippery (acceleration is such that it's easy to accidentally run into spikes from the side). I'm not sure if the tricky controls were meant by design, say,
to make it hard to comply with the Voice, thus creating tension and exposing more of the emotional content even with the most obedient player intentions.
The game can also be very upsetting, depending on your approach and interpretation of the Voice's role. But having the ability to successfully get an emotional reaction is part of why it's worth playing.
This is been out there for about 3 years now, but I just want to ad this:
the third command the "voice" gives you, "Touch the statue, I will forgive you" this game is about power and control, this voice has total control of the world around you, it tells you that if you touch the statue it will forgive you, the statues are checkpoints that take you to an advance point in the game when you die, so that you don't have to play it all over again. I don't know if I'm over-thinking this, but I think this may be an important point in the game. This voice has total control over the world around you, yet you can choose to obey or disobey it, but, is the choice really yours?
When I was playing this on Kongregate someone in the comments in that game found a glitch. Here is their post: " Found the secret. In the part where he says dont touch the statue, then you fall down that large row of spikes, touch the next statue and then walk left into the spikes, you will go through the wall and then you can find out what he says :). thumbs up so more people can see this." I did this and found a secret room where the voice says "Even here you search for me How sweet". Draw your on concussions.
Very elegantly-designed game imo, to be able to incite all kinds of different interpretations.
As for me:
-I am a woman
"No, you are a boy"
This set the tone of the rest of the game for me.
Conform to my expectations, or I will hate you and bring you harm. Or, conform, and I will treat you with condescension and scorn anyway. Your identity, your very sense of being, is of less importance to me than what I want you to be. And when you finally try to break free of me, I will resort to tears and emotional sabotage. "Please, don't leave me" I'll cry, as though YOU are the one in the wrong, abandoning me for falsely-perceived sleights.
I think there should also be a warning for
those who were raised in abusive households, or had any sort of abusive relationships.
To me, Loved resonates with me and not exactly in a good way. The narrator acted and sounded just like my mother had. Especially the continual belittling and degradation only to say at the very end, only after you've jumped through all their hoops and faced all their humiliating comments, that they've always loved you, that she was only doing this for you.
The first time, I did everything the voice told me to, even down to the suicidal crap. The second time, I made a conscious effort to disobey and found that after the first 'how disappointing' comment from the narrator, I couldn't do it. I had to step away for a minute to reorient myself and clear my head. The flash backs started hitting me hard and I wasn't expecting it. (Honestly though, the denial of the basic fact of my gender was the first clue and I should have figured it out from there, but either way...)
Had there been such a warning, I probably wouldn't have played it. Not that I regret playing it, but still. A warning would be great...
This game is certainly great for introspection. I didn't find the abuse or the commands uncomfortable or upsetting whatsoever (even, as a genderqueer person, being misgendered) instead being called disgusting only aggravated me and gave me more reason to disobey the voice's ridiculous demands. When the voice tells me to throw myself into the barbs, all I think is "make me". I guess I'm not as submissive as I thought I was?
As for interpretations,
The first time I disobeyed and was called disgusting and there were all these weirdly coloured pixels I wasn't thinking it was colour or freedom or whatever, to me it was fumes of decay, it was the game reinforcing that I really was disgusting.
As I disobeyed more and the area around me became more distorted, I saw it more as the game punishing me for disobeying. It was like a trail of decay or distortion that followed me.
By the end of the game I decided it was about an abusive relationship. The voice tells you to hurt or undermine yourself, and when you don't, it makes things harder, by distorting and decaying the world around you. The more you disobey, the worse things get. The harder they make it to escape and continue.
Maybe the voice did love you, but it certainly didn't deserve you. Leaving was the most sensible option.
When I played this game, whenever I "disappointed" the Voice I shook horribly and winced. I just got this horrible urge to obey everything it said, no matter what, and whenever I did the opposite I felt extraordinarily guilty. It was creepy, but I loved it.
Unfortunately I find this game almost impossible to play. By the time I got to the "Do not fail." part, it was so laggy I only ever made it up once (where I died) and I think all the "disobeying" there that causes the color blocks to appear made it lag even more. I'm disappointed I was unable to play through.
Everyone keeps talking about the voice.... am I the only one hearing music and reading words but hearing no voice at any point.... ? Just sound effects...
Same here, and this is a brand new computer that's supposed to be able to handle this kind of stuff...
Man, my heart was pounding through out this whole game. The first play through I obeyed all the commands and i got stressed out when i failed or died. The second time around I just smiled every time I disobeyed and the voice told me I was disappointing. What the hell does that even mean? I feel like it should be the other way around.
hi, my name is clare. how are you?
Now this was an interesting game. My interpretation has probably been said before (I didn't read all the comments, there are so many!) but I suppose I'll share it anyways :)
The first thing that came to mind when I played it, without having read any comments, was that the voice is of some kind of sadistic person, and that you are someone they've kidnapped. They're controlling simply for the sake of being controlling, as evidenced by the fact that they'll tell you to do something and later on tell you to do the opposite. They expect you to do everything they ask, whether it's going through a dangerous path or intentionally hurting yourself. They want you to be completely subservient to them. If you choose to disobey at the end they ask why you didn't love them, and proclaim that they loved you, so they clearly have a twisted view of the world and of what love is.
I thought some of the interpretations I read were really interesting, particularly the ones on religion. I hadn't considered that option, and while I don't really think that's what the message is here, it's a thought provoking concept.
It won't make any sense unless you know where I'm coming from. I'm sexually submissive, and I found the whole game really evoked the same sorts of feelings. The phrases the omnipresent voice uses are all very much what one might expect from a dominant with a submissive partner. Being ordered to challenge yourself (the lower path) or do something you know will hurt but not do lasting harm (throwing yourself in a pit of barbs and having to do a challenging segment over again), belittlement for failure...even the gender reassignment at the start (at least if you're into that sort of thing). Even little things like the terminology - most games would call the barbs "spikes," while barbs can be found on many corporal punishment implements. The aesthetics are similar in some ways: many BDSM implements (particularly for more strict forms of play) use a very limited color palette - black and red are popular choices, and sensory deprivation play (blindfolds, earplugs, etc) limit the submissive's ability to see everything that's going on. The pit at the end could be interpreted as entering what's called "subspace" in the BDSM community. (It's a bit of a weird concept, especially to vanilla people, basically a submissive feels a sense of euphoria that makes them somehow disconnect from reality (naturally, making communication difficult at best.) I've never experienced it, but even if I had, it doesn't seem like the kind of thing that can be easily explained in words. Both the obedient and disobedient paths can be framed in this perspective - most BDSM couples do "scenes" during which there is a dominant and submissive role, but are not always in such roles - and it's not uncommon fo such groups to plan a rebellious scene - one where the submissive, while ultimately cooperative and consenting, will pretend to resist, and earn more intense punishments as a consequence. (This tends not to fly with the couples that maintain the dominant/submissive roles constantly, though there may be exceptions).
One thing that makes me think of this as opposed to a truly abusive relationship (the difference may be characterized by nothing more than the fact that the BDSM couple is following any and all limits imposed by either party and both parties gave full, prior consent, while the abusive relationship is going by the abuser's rules with no respect for the wishes or feelings of the other partner) is the fact that, by playing the game, we are consenting to be a part of it. We have the opportunity to pull the plug at any time (an important point in most people's practice of BDSM - say the safeword and it ends immediately), simply by closing the tab containing the game.
That's my experience, anyway - it's clearly been crafted in such a way that no single interpretation is correct. As with all art, it's as much about how it makes you react as it is about what is actually presented. (This doesn't excuse the Canadian Art Gallery's Voice of Fire exhibit - how 3 vertical stripes can evoke any sort of feeling (as long as said stripes do not represent your national flag) is beyond me.)
I am horrible at these games, but I loved "Loved".
Usually, I play as the opposite sex so
I didn't feel invalidated when the voice told me "you're a girl." For some reason, I really wanted to obey the voice. I really wanted it to love me. The more demanding it became the more I wanted to please it. I actually felt comforted when it said "beg for me", or "I always loved you". That's weird, because in real life I'm rather headstrong.
Although, I can't see it as a religious thing. No god is that petty and desperate. I mean, what would be the point of an omnipotent being (one who sustains all life thru pure thought) who torments a single creature?
The unbelievable lag just kills this game. Not fun. And the multicolored pixellation effect, which is either part of the "breakdown ambiance," or just plain buggy, is unplayable at best. I stuck with it for much longer than I should have, given these limitations, but after countless false starts and blind jumps onto invisible platforms I had to throw in the towel. Properly coded and bug free, this might have come off as profound and glib, rather than a prolonged glitch. Nice try.