Silent Conversation: The future of reading? Or a new artform?
The other day I stumbled upon an old game that I missed when it first came out and consequently it got buried in the pile at ArmorGames. Part of the fun of the site is sifting through the piles of old material and occasionally finding something really noteworthy. And this game here is definitely noteworthy as it isn’t so much a concept of “game” as it is a “reader”.
Basically you are a cursor, one that doesn’t blink, sadly. You have to light up the words of sentences without being hit by power-words. Inadvertently you also get to read the sentences as you go through it. This opens up a whole new world when it comes to fiction. To read is to enjoy, but what if reading became competitive and a score could be gauged? Would books still be as entertaining or moreso?
The music in the game is also really brilliantly designed, it’s haunting and never serves to overpower the scene being presented. I still open this game and have the music playing in the background while I’m writing because it just works for me. But, we all have different taste.
As you pass through words and phrases, they become part of the animation, part of the story. For example, when you pass through the phrase “Storm of sand” an animation of those words begins to fly across the screen. Does this enhance their meaning or give it more significance? In a way, I find that it does.
As does the layout of the levels and forms of words. Each teases a meaning out of a phrase in a visual way, one that isn’t to the detriment of the words, but rather to their power of effect.
Silent Conversation will make your eyes bleed. As you follow the story along, the alignment and arrangement of the words will put greater emphasis on the sentence, you’ll find yourself hanging on words, literally as you jump to the next one.
As a side note, one of the reasons why I love this game is that it features one of my favourite authors, H.P. Lovecraft. His works have become a foundation of the horror and fantasy zeitgeist and are represented in almost every B grade movie out there. He also was a big proponent of the incomprehensible alien idea, a recurring theme of interest for me!
Play Silent Conversation, not as a game, but rather as an experience into that of reading, what it could be had we the patience to see it through.