The Text Says No: Why you can't interpret Limbo any way you want

I like getting thoughtful and intelligent criticism of my work. I like reading what people had to say. It means I had enough of an effect on them to make them think and drive them to respond. And while I like the criticism, whether it agrees, disagrees, clarifies or whatever else, I also like responding back. I want to head off at the pass that I’m writing to the following in an effort to silence my critics. No, I’m responding to them the same way they responded to me. We call that a conversation.

Right after I wrote ‘Atmosphere is Not Enough,’ within days I got two written blog responses that I’ve been meaning to respond to myself. I’m a little late, but I still want to do it. So here are my musings.

The first is by Chloi Rad who went to the lengths of setting up a blog just to respond to my piece. I don’t know why he didn’t just respond in the comments, especially since as of writing this it’s the only post on that blog, but I still appreciate the effort. He also says he hasn’t played Another World yet; well I implore him to do so.

Chloi Rad says that I am misrepresenting the presentation of Limbo by condemning it for being open to interpretation and that its vagueness is an asset as it matches the oppressive nature of the world Limbo is portraying and thematically resonates with the mystery of waking up in such a world in the first place. He then goes on to give his own interpretation of what is happening in Limbo. Generally I applaud this kind of thinking and yes interpretation can go many different ways and no single interpretation is flat out wrong so long as the text can support it. I have written on the nature of interpretation before, but now I’d like to add a caveat to it. While a work can have many interpretations and your interpretation is loosely supported by the Limbo text…there’s no other way to put this, you’re doing it wrong.

Before I used Mulholland Drive to show that multiple interpretations can exist for a vague, confusing and sometimes batshit insane work and still be cohesive. The trick is finding a key that can unlock the obtuseness and interrelated meaning of all the elements. This is true for all works, but for most it is much more obvious and we don’t instinctively put it in same mental category. For instance, Die Hard is about family and coming together to defeat a humbug in time for Christmas. Yes, it seems to go to absurd lengths when you boil it down to that, but it is true and is rather obvious about its intentions to the point that people get it without too much hand wringing. Mulholland Drive is another matter altogether, but only in terms of degree. The two main interpretations that I am aware of are the death dream that latches on the key of the finale and explains the story backwards, unlocking the meaning of the duality the worlds and the weirder imagery. The other is that the blue box is a hypercube that crosses two parallel realities with the elements mirroring themselves with the worlds based on tragic or comedic drama subtypes. Both work because they latch onto different elements to unlock the rest of the meaning. But each one focuses on one element in order to make everything else falls into place. Not so with Chloi Rad’s thesis.

He says several times “suppose” or “what if” or “maybe” to different elements to get them in line. He says that the boy in Limbo is the victim of a car crash and before he can go to the other world he must find his sister. Okay, simple enough. So he begins by crossing the River Styx (nevermind that Limbo is on our side of the River Styx and not actually in hell, I put that mistake on the shoulders of the developers not Rad) and is in the forest to represent life flashing before his eyes. By itself that is an reasonable statement, but you already said it was a car crash and the text needs to connect the two. Then he says:

Perhaps this is simply a metaphor. A hotel is a place visited temporarily, and the boy is slowly coming to terms with the idea that where he is now, Limbo or someplace similar, is exactly that. He’ll move on eventually, but not before he accepts that. Or, maybe the hotel is a familiar place to him, part of a memory that he’s torn himself from the reality of his situation to visit, one last time.

Excuse me what? If the game doesn’t inform you of this in anyway then you are forcing things to fit. In fact, throughout your interpretation you only offer two actual pieces of evidence that seemingly support your theory without pushing other elements into line like the above Hotel piece: the burning tires and the crash through the glass at the end. Other than that you leave a lot of WTF imagery (that is far more important to latch onto) by the wayside. Like the fact that you do see your “sister” long before the end until being attacked by another brain slug only to come back and find the environment has changed. Or the rising water levels in certain sections, the spider, the kids, any of the industrial equipment. You give some reasonable explanations for the shifting gravity and bear traps, but everything else is based on further guesswork and supposition. And then you say:

That is the beauty of art and interpretation, after all. My own imagining of the game’s narrative utilizes and at the same time neglects many of the elements I’ve gathered from playing through it, which just means there are so many other ways of looking at the story.

Then that’s a shitty interpretation. You can’t exclude elements because it doesn’t fit your vision of what a work means. You have to figure out how they fall into place. If they don’t fit and there are as many items included as excluded then its wrong. The text says you are wrong. Your interpretation and understanding of interpretation is faulty. Yes, Death of the Author and all that, but a work cannot mean whatever you want. The text says no.

Which only goes to further highlight the problem I brought up with Limbo. There is no answer and I don’t mean there is no authorial driven answer, there is no answer of any kind. The elements are so far removed from each other that none of them can associate with one another in any way. You end up having to do mental gymnastics to try and keep things together and that is a sign of incohesive work if not one that lacks meaning altogether. A work doesn’t need a spelled out answer, but some cohesion in its elements might be nice. So I thank Chloi Rad for offering me a piece to bounce my position off of and help better explain why Limbo was pretentious and how meaning escaped the work. If it was a black and white puzzle game without the atmosphere and just the physics puzzles I wouldn’t have ground to stand on with such an accusation and thus wouldn’t make it. But if the developers added so much with regards to atmosphere and narrative elements that, even if only thematically, the lack of any cohesion that allowing for a meaning to be discovered (if not delivered) causes the game to presents itself with pomp and gravities it neither earned nor deserved, then yes it is pretentious. Not a failed attempt or mere experiment of formalism, but a pretentious work.

Halfway there.

The second response comes from the all to infrequent writings of the belovedsanspoof blog. He goes to the lengths to invoke David Lynch in his piece, so you know this is going to be fun. He asks if he characterizes my feeling about Limbo correctly, and yes I believe he does, maybe a little better than I did myself. Belovedsanspoof (I don’t have his real name) defends Limbo not with a half assed interpretation that the game does not allow for, but with a different point of view. He says that Limbo is not about the “story” and is instead coming from the same place that much of Lynch’s work comes from, an image that the rest of the work is built around. He likes it to the Dadaist appreciation of an image as image. That works for paintings and maybe moving images in a set course, but in a video game it only goes so far. While the appreciation of an image as an image is nice in its Platonic conceptualizing it doesn’t work in practice. Even Dada art had meaning behind it or at least a point in the case of the formulism experimentation. Even Lynch at his most batshit insane has a core behind his work, even if he himself does not realize it at the time of shooting. Lynch’s work is cohesive even at its most ridiculous mainly because he is a circular creator. Elements repeat, they separate, scatter and then coalesce back together.

I also feel that I must clarify what I mean by a connecting point. The connecting point is the key I metaphorically explained above. It is the point that when used unlocks the meaning of everything else and also sets itself into place in the interpretation. It doesn’t have to be one thing; it can be any point in the work that sets all the other elements into place. Limbo does not have that.

I also feel like there is a disconnect between our usage of certain words. Story does not mean plot. The story is what the work is about. It’s what the core of a work is, where everything takes its direction. Belovedsanspoof says that the atmosphere was built from the ground up, but that’s not true. Playdead has spoken at length that the core of the game was the puzzles. The vicious nature of the puzzle elements and deaths were done as a teaching element and not as atmosphere building. The style came after they had many of their broad strokes in place as a way to explain puzzles to the player. The puzzles are the core of the game with the specific atmosphere tacked on. I’m sure a lot of the other atmospheric elements they had were tacked on as well. In fact Limbo goes on too long because of the puzzles. They ran out of creepy imagery and concepts long before they ran out of puzzles. The final third is full of padding. The shift in setting doesn’t help the game any either. We go from the forest to industrial environments with nary a word or pictorial why. This hurts the game overall.

Conjuring up a series of images without a clear connecting point and then presenting them without an accompanying story might be someone’s way of trying to [dramatize] their subconscious; bypassing what they perceive to be the filter of narrative. This, indeed, might manifest in a noise of non-sequiturs but just as with the series of images, ideas and emotions that occur involuntarily in dreams, they can’t immediately be dismissed as meaningless just because there’s no apparent connecting point to them. There might even be a meaning that hasn’t been [realized] yet.

Could not agree more in theory. In practice Limbo does not earn any of this consideration. Because if this is supposed to be a crazy subconscious dramatized, then it doesn’t go far enough. Furthermore if that were the concept behind it that would be the connecting point bringing meaning to the rest of the work. The thing is the game does not eschew the “filter of narrative.” It revels in it at the beginning. The repeating motif of the children and the spider as antagonists are clear narrative motifs of man vs. man. Even without them the narrative motif of man vs. nature still permeates the work at the environment becomes the antagonist. The narrative is one child’s journey through limbo until it just stops. You can’t have it both ways. It has to commit to the imagery idea or the narrative one. Lynch submits to the narrative every time. His works may start off with an image, but in the end they are there to supplement the story, the meaning behind his work.

Swain asks many questions of Limbo throughout his piece culminating in “What The Fuck?” Maybe Swain is asking Limbo the wrong questions.

I would love that to be the case, but it isn’t. Even without a clear meaning or just not being able to see it a person can tell whether they are looking at a work with an obscured meaning or one without any at all. It comes from pulling back the layers. If they find more and more layers then yes they just haven’t found the key yet. If they pull back and find only the other side of the same layer they just pulled back and nothing else, then no, there is no key. I am perfectly capable of asking the wrong questions of a work, but I don’t think Limbo has any right questions. It will ignore them all because it hasn’t the material to engage with any. It is a work that ultimately falls apart under it’s own façade if you ask anything of it.

In the end what I learned from all of this was not the something I was missing from Limbo, but rather that my dislike for Limbo apparently overshadowed my love for Another World, so let me clear that up. Another World is an all time classic that has stood the test of time and will continue to do so as one of the greatest video games ever made.


  1. Thank you for that article. I haven’t played the entire game but from what I have seen, I had a hunch that there wasn’t too much there besides formalism. It’s unfortunate to hear confirmation on that:

    To echo your sentiment: if a text is open to any interpretation, it doesn’t really make statements. Then everybody can walk away with an arbitrarily different idea. They could have done that before having read the text. They can’t even talk about the content of the work because everybody has a completely different work in mind. So the text might just as well not exist.

    I agree that what a text needs to have some ways to cull the number of possible interpretations down to a narrower area so the ideas people walk away with have some resemblance to each other and so they can have a meaningful conversation.

    On the other hand, I wouldn’t discard Limbo completely. It’s still valuable and inspiring for atmosphere and visual style alone. It’s just a far less substantial game than it appears at first.

  2. L

    Minor correction: that ‘halfway there’ “screenshot” isn’t actually a scene that made it into the final game…!

  3. Phil

    I am a fan of Limbo, so I want to disagree with you, tell you you’re wrong and full of it. But I can’t. It’s probably because your arguement is stated so well it’s “convincing”…probably even true. But I still cannot look down on Limbo because of it’s pretentious fascade. Very few games have EVER had a true “statement” to get across, even the ones most applauded for their “emotionaly driven story” (I think what they mean is “narrative structure”, but that doesn’t sound as good when thrown in the hype machine), and there are even fewer games that have an “atmosphere” at all, let alone a good one (which Limbo has). So yes, it is disappointing that Limbo doesn’t have a “point” beneath it’s skin but having an atmosphere is good enough, simply because most other games don’t when they should. Think of it as a step forward. One day, a game will be presented in an atmospheric shell that allows subtle hints and clues into the meaning of the gameplay narrative. Until then, we at least have Limbo.

    • Except and I highlight this in both posts, that game is Another World and it came out in 1991. It is a silent, perfectly paced, puzzle game with an atmosphere that inhabits every screen. It has a clear story, themes and relationship with your buddy. The more I look at these old games from the late 80s, early 90s the more I begin to think we’re not breaking new ground in the gaming industry but retreading things we already learned how to do. I implore you to play it. You can find it Good Old Games for 10 bucks. It is so worth it.

      Having only a shell without a central core, without having a point I think is actually reductive. If the atmosphere was merely to spur an emotional tapestry in the player that would be the point. But Limbo doesn’t do that. It teaches us that a veneer of style is a replacement for substance. A work needs both.

  4. Pingback: A Video Game Made Me Come Clean About Infidelity | Kotaku Australia

  5. Ellen

    Interesting discussion, I stumbled across this somewhat by accident, but feel compelled to chime in with a somewhat opposing viewpoint. It seems like your main criticism is the lack of a connecting point or meaning, but I’d like to present Waiting for Godot as a counterpoint to your Mulholland Drive analogy.

    Certainly there are works that present a story-puzzle to the audience, like Mulholland Drive, where it’s clear that some complex brain-twisting solution exists to make sense of it all. But sometimes, the meaning can be much closer to the surface, such that it is overlooked in favor of something more complex or satisfying. As Beckett says, “Why people have to complicate a thing so simple I can’t make out.”

    In your previous article, you say, “Why are we traveling left to right? Hell if I know.” Exactly! In most games, there’s no question: you go to the right towards those coins you want to pick up, or those enemies that are threatening someone, or because of some other clearly defined goal. In Limbo, you don’t know why you’re doing it, but you have to do it anyway, or stop playing. It’s a game that highlights this very choice, between doing something that you don’t necessarily want to do (dragging around dead bodies to spring traps), or quitting the game and playing something else. This “Why am I going to the right?” question exists totally in the player-controlling-the-character world, whereas the questions presented in Another World (or Out of this World, as I knew it) are in-character: What is this world, who is this buddy, how do I get back to my own world? In both games, you become engaged by imagining how to make sense of it all, but this is where the execution fell a bit short in Limbo, to your point that “They ran out of creepy imagery and concepts long before they ran out of puzzles”.

    In this article, you say “If they pull back and find only the other side of the same layer they just pulled back and nothing else, then no, there is no key.” This brings me to my point about Waiting for Godot. Many critics have written all kinds of complex analyses of what the real meaning of this play is, ignoring the fact that hey, it’s about waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more, and not really knowing why, except that the only other option is to just give up. So, I wouldn’t discount the possibility that the “point” of Limbo is similar in its simplicity.

    Anyway, I never thought I’d be comparing a video game to a Beckett play, but there it is. I do agree with your points about the integration of the various game elements, it would have been interesting if they had raised more of the meta-existential kind of questions throughout the game about “Why am I playing this?” or “Why am I making this character do these things?” These are the kinds of questions that most games don’t raise, though if you know of any I would love to hear of them; this has recently become an area of fascination for me.

    • I was wondering when Beckett would come into this. Thankfully I’ve actually read Waiting for Godot and can respond to this. There is a stark difference between Limbo and the play about existentialism. It boils down not to the question, but what the question means by what the person is asking for. In Limbo I ask “Why” because I have been presented a situation that in the end does not makes sense within its own context. In Waiting for Godot I ask “Why” directed at the metaphysical state of existence because life makes no sense. A work can be about not making sense, but the work has to be clear that it is about the not making of sense. Naked Lunch is another example. Few, if anyone has figured out what it means, but the book is damn upfront about it.

      Limbo by contrast is the victim of its own desires. Either the game tries to straddle the line between narrative structure with weird imagery or mood piece focused on the sensual. In the end it satisfies neither. Limbo could have easily been an existential nightmare, but it would have to establish a few things before subverting them. I left this out of my piece, because I couldn’t figure out how to smoothly get it in there, but we all know the boy is looking for his sister because the developer told us so. Nowhere in the game is this fact mentioned. So we don’t know what he is doing other than surviving. When we find the girl at the end we don’t know why it is significant. Knowing she’s the sister doesn’t change that much either.

      Yes I said, “they ran out of creepy imagery before they ran out of puzzles,” but now I’d like to add to that. I say that in the hopes further creepy imagery might have been an extension of the malevolent children or new antagonist like the spider to tie either the different sections together or the piece as a whole. They could have added more creepy imagery that raises more questions than it answers, but I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt.

      Which brings me back to Waiting for Godot. Yes, it is a play about waiting, but much of the writing looking for its meaning is figuring out who they are waiting for or rather who is Godot. Given how much he figures in the conversation without ever showing up he is the central key to the whole affair. Theorizing who Godot is opens up numerous theories as to what the whole affair means. I like to think Godot is God and him never showing up is a result of these waiters being trapped in Limbo trapped in a generally state of goodness, but never able to feel the heavenly touch in their souls or that they are trapped in an uncaring world where Godot in fact does not exist and their meager belief is the only thing that causes them to stand up to the nightmare that reality is, even if they don’t get much done. Beckett was not a happy thinker. So while the end result is that it comes down the the simplicity of what it about, it does have a deeper meaning that Limbo lacks.

      I know I harp on about Limbo on and on, but it may surprise many of you that I don’t actively hate the game. I dislike it, but that stems from a very large sense of disappointment in it. The game could have been so much more. It could have risen to the challenge of being a deep existentially driven work, but decided to half ass it instead. Real pity.

      Now for your last paragraph. I don’t know if I can answer it fully, but I’ll try. In the area of formalism that Limbo tries to work to its advantage I have already spoken of Another World (Out of this World), but there is a slight difference in the meaning trying to be portrayed. You are asking for something more existential, I don’t know if I can answer off the top of my head, but at the very least you given me an idea for next weeks post. I do have a game in mind that does speak to existentialism, but not in the same nightmarish sort of way Limbo does. ( You have no idea how much I wish I could write the post “The Existential Nightmare Limbo Conveys.”)

      • sagesource

        A bit off topic, but what do you think of Tale of Tales’ game, “The Path”? I loved it, even though I found some of their own commentary about it very pretentious.

        • I have not played it yet. It’s been sitting in my Steam Library for what must be a year and half now and I just haven’t sat down to play it. It sounds like the type of art game I would love and yet the subject matter makes me more than a little relcutant to dive in. So anytime another games comes along I generally jump to that as a partial means of procrastination.

          Additionally, I don’t know about their comments as regards to their games as I haven’t played it yet, but I’d be careful with that word. So often “pretentious” gets thrown around inappropriately. Their comments could warrant that descriptor, but I wont know until I play The Path. Though given the tone of their comments I think dismissive might be a better adjective.

          • sagesource

            Perhaps “pretentious” was the wrong word, but it was the first one that came to mind when I thought back to reading the comments and discussions around the time I first bought and played the game, about a year ago. It seemed they wanted a pat on the head or a cookie or something for not having done another first-person shooter. I’ll give them the pat on the head (though I am greedy with cookies) but not because what they did was in its very nature superior to other video games — it’s because what they did was superior, period, haunting and unforgettable and full of the sadness of being, even to an old Doom freak like myself who met his fiance in a game of Left4Dead (not a bad place to get an idea of someone’s basic character, by the way).

            Much of the controversy about the game, IMHO, was utter horse apples. Anyone who thinks that it is a “rape simulator” (I think that was the phrase that was being bandied about) needs professional care, and quickly. For myself, I don’t think a single one of the girls was raped, though I can’t argue that in detail here unless you really enjoy having your experience ruined by a hailstorm of spoilers. Each is broken, destroyed, but in the end…. it isn’t quite like that. The game comes to its own peace. I love the ending, and anyone who quit out of faux outrage before getting there is not qualified to have an opinion at all.

  6. Pingback: Games as symbols: Child of Eden | Nightmare Mode

  7. Thank you very much for taking the time to respond to my post Eric.

    I’m going to insist that Limbo was built around atmosphere. For sure, puzzles are the mechanics of the game but as Arnt Jensen (PlayDead’s founder and Game Director) said, “Limbo started with a mood setting…it was just this secret place. I tried my whole life to get ideas, but when I drew this first drawing–it was just like this is the place.”

    There was an article posted at Edge (coincidentally the day after you originally posted this response) that looks at the spider sequence:

    “Jensen couldn’t pinpoint the moment Limbo’s spider appeared in his sketchbook any more than he could date-stamp the onset of his arachnophobia…“I really hate spiders. And I still do, so it was very natural to confront one in the game, and kill it”…The basic outline of how Limbo’s boy would interact with the spider crystallised in Jensen’s mind before PlayDead’s founding.”

    It is revealed in the article that the puzzle part of the spider sequence (defeating it with traps) came later in the development after staff reacted with amusement to an animation of the boy being maimed by one and it describes the difficulty PlayDead faced in implementing the entire sequence. Development apparently rolled on for a year before staff meetings yielded anything more productive than observations of how challenging it was going to be, an extra programmer would eventually be hired to deal with the 2-minute cocoon sequence and in response to staff suggesting it be dropped altogether Jensen was adamant that it wasn’t going anywhere observing “a lot of times if you have an idea that’s too complicated, you just ditch it. But this was so important. I kept insisting, we have to do the spider”.

    This doesn’t strike me as something that’s been “tacked on”. It’s clearly something that has been conceptualised before puzzles, before Limbo, before PlayDead and implemented with the passion to instill a sense of unease and communicate to the audience Jensen’s fear of spiders (note that there’s no mention of what it means to the story). But even the boy and the spider themselves were preceded by the creation of the “secret place” that they inhabit, this “mood setting”.

    I feel that the importance of this point applies to the following:

    “The story is what the work is about. It’s what the very center; the core of a work is where everything takes its direction.”

    I disagree. What is at the center of a work is entirely interchangeable. The story is merely one element of a work which the creator can prioritise higher or lower than other elements. This is the case with Lynch who most certainly does not submit to narrative and whose work is driven by image and mood with meaning taking the passenger seat; still present just not at the wheel. If you found a key that unlocked the interrelated meaning of all the elements of Mulholland Drive then more power to you but any meaning you found was on the periphery of the visceral and textured atmosphere.

    We seem to be in agreement that dramatising the subconscious and avoiding narrative can result in some pretty crazy output but you suggest that Limbo does not earn the consideration of being a product of this because it “doesn’t go far enough” and because it does in fact revel in narrative. I would argue that if Limbo does not go far enough then this does not necessarily make it incompatible with that methodology but rather an example of it done badly, failing as a result of the creators lack of imagination.

    I’d also argue that Limbo draws atmospheric strength from the unexplained shifts in setting that you describe as hurting the game. The incongruous environments melting away into one another with “nary a word or pictorial why” demonstrates the marginalisation of narrative coherence in favour of mood; I felt like I was the protagonist in someone else’s nightmare. I should also point out that repeating motifs and themes don’t necessarily constitute a narrative.

    In this response you’ve repeated that Limbo doesn’t have a connecting point. I’m not necessarily disagreeing with that but in my initial response to you I was questioning (regardless of whether it does or not) whether a game lacking a connecting point lacks a core by extension.

    I guess my question to you would be the following: do you feel that a game can lack a connecting point but still have a core? That is, if a game lacks a key “which unlocks the meaning of everything else” then can it be anything more than a hollow shell? If the answer is no then may I also ask from where you derive this intrinsic value that you place on a connecting point?

    • I’m not going to do my standard piece by piece response to your comment. Instead, I’m going to get to the heart of the matter, your end questions. “Do I feel a game can lack a connecting point, but still have a core?” No. No, because the connecting point is the core. It is the very thing that lies at the heart of a work that holds all its elements together even if only tangentially. I used key as a metaphor when I probably should have used shovel to describe working with a multilayered work. They are not puzzles with a solution as multifaceted work that continues on down. But should there be a central conceit then yes, the work is hollow. My intrinsic value is in the core of the work, the thing that connects the meaning of all a work’s elements together. Lynch is not a bunch of strange scenes and mood images strung together willy nilly. It may look like that at times, but there is very clear deliberation in the images chosen and their repetition. He may start out with a mood or abstract concepts, but all his work is narrative focused.

      And this brings me to something that really bugged me about your comment. Narrative, plot and story are not the same things. These words get used interchangeably, but they are very distinct concepts with different definitions. The plot is what is going on, the narrative is how what is going on is told to us, and the story is what it is all about. In Limbo we know what is going on and it is structured in a way that we do have a narrative direction. But what is it all about, I haven’t the a clue. Yes, the developers put a lot of time and effort into creating complicated individual elements and making sure they evoked a mood that came across, but not once in those pieces did they explain how they folded it into the larger work. The spider sequences are just that, the spider sequences. The story of their creation is divorced from the rest of the work. The central part has some interesting ideas on its own with water and the mind slugs as the beginning had the spider and the children, but they lack the same punch. And the final section has nothing to it at all. An entire third of the game has no imagery, mood setting or otherwise disturbing thematic elements to even attempt to connect to the rest of the work. The PS3 bonus level had more mood and atmospheric building than the entire second half of the game.

      The first two-hour section could work on its own as a work unto itself, but that’s not what we have. The rest of the game fails to continue what the first part set up and it is set up because the game continues on for bigger and grander designs. Lynch’s work always brings his imagery around again like a big circle so that his work is consistent and images relevant to the whole piece. Koyaanisqatsi – a much better example of what you are talking about – piece by piece, image by image builds upon the last even though it eventually leaves the originals behind to work to some greater meaning. The images do not stand alone, but in conjunction with each other. Limbo does not.

      • Thanks for answering those questions Eric I’ve got a better idea of where you’re coming from. Thanks also for these exchanges, it’s been an interesting discussion. We clearly differ in the way that we consume some creative works in terms of how we reach what we perceive to be their depth.

        For you, the connecting point is the core, for me it’s one of the things a core can be. Whereas you find the connecting point in Lynch’s work I see the search for one (depending on the film) as potentially limiting. I think the Limbo would suffer if there was something in it that might explain it all (the damsel in distress trope goes too far as it is).

        I’m quite aware that plot, narrative and story are different things but I wouldn’t call their definitions distinct. It doesn’t take long to find someone whose definition of them overlaps or contradicts someone else’s and what you see as me using them interchangeably is, I expect, a slight divergence in how you and I use them.

        I could talk about Koyaanisqatsi but I feel this conversation has perhaps run its course. Before I sign off though I want to mention that I agree almost entirely with what you’ve written about Another World which is why I’ve had so little to say about it. It’s definitely a classic that should be played and, as you’ve said, it’s a game that shows that the new ground a lot of people think we’re breaking has already been broken and not even that recently.

  8. Pingback: 2011: The year in video game criticism | Tiny Tower Fan Community

  9. Pingback: Why classic games break the facade of creativity | Nightmare Mode