I wish I’d written about Proteus soon after playing it: it’s an amazing game, different in significant ways from almost every other game I’ve played, and while I don’t think I’d managed to come up with too many coherent thoughts articulating what I had to say, I suspect I had more at the time than I have now. We did talk about it as our VGHVI Symposium game this May, but it looks like that conversation is never going to be published as a podcast, so I can’t go back to listen to the discussion there to see what collective thoughts the game spawned, either.

Ah well; perhaps that feeling of loss is appropriate for the game’s wistful nature and presentation of irreversible change. At any rate, two fragments that stuck with me:

  • The first time that the game really felt different to me was when I pressed the space bar and, rather than having that cause my character to jump, it caused my character to sit down. So: a game about pausing and drinking in your experiences; I spent a lot of time sitting down in the game.
  • In my first playthrough, I was a bit rushed (we had to go to a concert), so I was trying to make it through the last season. But I couldn’t figure out what needed to happen to end the game, so I was running frantically around the island under the assumption that I just couldn’t see the spinning lights because of the cloud cover. And then I started floating away, my worries turned into wonder in one of the most transcendent sequences I’ve ever encountered in a game.


So: not much to say. Maybe, for a game like this, it’s more appropriate for me to just give pictures without commentary.

opening credits
whirling lights from mountain
statues on mountain
looking up at statues
owl 1
owl 2
day again
the house
river of stars
summer sun
summer house
summer mountain with statues
sun about to set
stars and glowing lights appear
view from the water
in the ocean
looking across the bay
night lights 1
night lights 2
the owl again
distant view of statues
fall hillside
setting sun across the beach
more owl
aurora 1
aurora 2
aurora 3
aurora 4
under the clouds
shrouded house
house lit by red
red snow
red break in the clouds
white ground and sky
statues and winter sun
islands in the clouds
setting sun over islands
sun goes down
moon comes up
muted orange
once more into the breach
glow of moon on clouds
winter aurora 1
winter aurora 2
starting to float away
going beyond
one eye closes

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