This new video game lets you do nothing in particular in a suburban Russian tower block
As the gameplay and graphics of big-name games grow ever more dazzling, this low-key Russian offering grounds the player in a world of mundane detail where there is “no room for adventure”. Is this the future of gaming?
It’s nighttime and you find yourself in a small, dark flat in a nondescript suburb in Russia. You look out of the window and see the courtyard covered in snow, illuminated by street lamps and the cold neon glare of store fronts. You turn on the light switch and look around your apartment.
This is the melancholy start of a new immersive game made by developer Alexander Ignatov and poet Ilia Mazo. It’s Winter has garnered complimentary reviews from players and journalists alike, despite the game having no clear plot or mission.
You can make eggs on toast, turn on the radio, take a bath, and take out the trash. You leave the flat and go for a walk around the deserted courtyard. The corner shop and beauty salon are both close and the playground is eerily empty. In fact, there are no people to be seen wherever you go.
The game is what is called a “sandbox”: where the gamer is free to roam and alter a virtual world. The developer describes it as “post-Soviet and sad 3D” where “nothing awaits you: there is no chance to get out, no room for adventures, nor a breathtaking plot.” All you have to do is experience the precisely detailed, pixelated mundanity of the world around you.
The game has been released as a part of a larger project by poet Ilia Mazo, which also includes a book, a play, a short film, and a musical album (turn on the radio in the game to listen to the music).
The game’s developer announced on Twitter that a summer version of the game is in the works.
The game is available for download on Steam here.