Just won the moon, what else?

Apollo 2 is a Unity-based browser game created by Robert Yang. It can be played here.

It was full of gold! That’s what he said. I mean, it wasn’t really gold and he didn’t say anything, not much. He pulled out a family portrait, not gold. “Gold!” It was rich like gold, but not gold strictly speaking. Not gold.

Too bad it wasn’t air. God, how valuable air is in space, on the moon, in some crater on the moon. At six percent remaining oxygen, where can you get to in this white-powder desert? There’s just nothing here at all.

Over the lip, there’ll be Earth, its clouds, its peoples, your family back home, and some lens flare. But… you’re on the moon and you’re already resigned to your fate.

Apollo 2 has no objective. Or it’s not clear. If it exists, it’s understated in the distilled calm of air flow in your helmet. The goal is apparent, though. You’re to reminisce for your last minute 200-something-thousand miles away from home. How you do it is up to you. They’re your eyes in the helmet, your hands that are outstretched. You can break the game, walk a bit, jump some, do some hard thinking.

But time’s ticking.

So spaceman doesn’t speak. He doesn’t scream “Gold!” to high heaven so neither do you. You’re mechanically granted everything you need to explore and that’s all. It’s a wanderer’s game at heart and the player is powerless in facing ineluctable death alone and marked by a convenient counter. The world is devoid of color, empty of life and the only semblance of either is in the photograph clasped in your spaceman hands.

Apollo 2 revolves around a very cosmopolitan struggle. It’s the pressure, the distancing from the normal and the loved that creates the anxiety so central to this small game’s presentation. It’s not anything more than a setting and a few unspoken words – a family photograph and dust. The sentiments that matter most are beyond our initial view – what we fill in ourselves – with thoughts back home on earth, not here on this dusty rock.

Two percent remaining.

Apollo 2 appeals to something so universal that, despite its open world, the path always suggests linearity toward a single thought: where’s home? And maybe something more: I’m alone. Why? How could this have happened?

One percent.

Really not my place to guess.