Kentucky Route Zero
A man is in an unknown part of the world and has to rely on strangers for help. He takes them at face value. He doesn’t have the energy to be suspicious. He wants to deliver his package. They point him towards a world that is like our world but is not our world.
There is a line between whimsy and horror, where different shadows make the charming into the grotesque. It is not a sharp line. Sometimes it can be crossed and crossed back without awareness, leaving only a mild feeling of discomfort that evaporates in the presence of an amusing signpost.
We give voice to the man. Our choices help define him. But in the face of this strange world they have little effect. In the end, these choices serve only to tell us a story about ourselves.
A dog wears a straw hat.
There exists a delightful contraption that cheerfully mocks our hyper-efficient world by making us feel good to be engaged in something so unnecessarily complex.
It exudes a charming strangeness and yet it promises us that all of the clues are here; that we can understand it all entirely if we care to. The soft, tinkling music lulls us in. We trace a few pipes. We examine a few labels. Twenty minutes goes by. It is the tinkerer’s meditation.
Pull a few more levers, it whispers. Turn a few more wheels and see what happens. You’re almost there. No one will mind. Not even the elephant.
Your hand drawn avatar stands over his hand drawn weapon as the hand drawn monster bears down on him. He looks back at you serenely, waiting for the acoustic guitar crash that will end this round. The hand made aesthetics are welcoming; the systems upon which they sit are not.
You have work to do. Your ongoing physical survival at the level of comfort you have become accustomed to depends on you completing this work.
But you are sure that you know where you went wrong.
Your hand drawn avatar looks back at you serenely.
Three points away from your best score.
You enter the dungeon again.