Recently I was referred to a game called Two Anthropomorphic Bubbles from a friend on Facebook. I started to jot down my thoughts on the game which started to get rather long, so I’ve decided to post them here. Before you continue reading be sure to give the game a go.
From the games title screen you get the impression that this game is intended to be a metaphor. The title partially gives this away with the use of Anthropomorphic. According to Wikipedia:
Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human characteristics to non-human creatures and beings, phenomena, material states and objects or abstract concepts.
So therefore these bubbles are meant to take on human characteristics which is further suggested through names of the two characters of this game, Mr and Mrs Pink Bubble.
Upon playing the game you move through the world which is populated by grey bubbles. You control Mr Pink Bubble using the mouse to, as you move the mouse Mr Pink Bubble follows you. A grey circle expands and shrinks around you based upon how close you are to the most recently touched bubble. As the grey bubbles traverse to the left hand side of the screen, this bubble inevitably becomes bigger. The more grey bubbles you touch, the more your score increases, as your streak of touching grey bubbles increases so does your size. It’s hard to tell but if you don’t touch the grey bubbles frequently enough or over time you, Mr Pink Bubble, decrease in size. I noticed that if you didn’t touch any grey bubbles for a while and went to touch them again then you would actually lose score.
There are several metaphors conveyed here, each with different effect. When you touch the grey bubbles you become larger, this could be interpreted as a metaphor of, the more you share love and understanding, the more fulfilled you become. The shrinking may represent how we become bitter and less fulfilled when we are alone and don’t share our love. The fact that grey bubbles move off screen could represent how we have to eventually let go of some of the people we love. The dynamic in which you inevitably touch another grey circle could represent how we meet people in our lives unexpectedly and we share our love with them. The loosing of score could represent how it hurts to start to share love again.
The game consists of dialogue between Mr and Mrs Pink Bubble as well as a background that slowly scrolls to the grave of Mrs Pink Bubble. These only lightly serve as means to provide loose context. In a way they are redundant.
At this point you may be thinking that this game mirrors the strong metaphors in other experimental games like The Marriage. I strongly disagree with this because I feel that this game is missing a strong sense of conflict between the mechanics that could be used to enrich the metaphor. Despite relating to these metaphors I feel as though it misses stronger and much more interesting metaphors about love.
Love to me requires sacrifice. The sacrifice to open yourself up to something that could hurt you and something that will make you vulnerable. There are no mechanics in this game that play off against each other to represent sacrifice. As a result I feel that it only hits the surface of being a metaphor for love.