This kind of inward withdrawal and assemblage takes primary importance in Mountain and Journey, a pair of games that investigate our relationship with nature and how art can lead to the disclosure of ecstatic truths. Mountain, released in 2014 by O’Reilly, is a game about its own means of articulation. Much has been written about its form but less about its effect; perhaps writers are simply hesitant to read into a game that resists interpretation. I’ll roll the dice: Mountain suggests the endless inscrutability of nature and art by simply being, floating, and enduring, regardless of the game’s reluctance to provide straightforward answers. We interact with it yet lack immediate identification or familiarity with its mechanics. Any understanding to be found in this game must be found through a perspective beyond our role as mere players, and in this sense Mountain reveals videogames’ ultimate role as an empathetic art form. The game quietly goads players to step outside the limitations of a solipsistic, self-contained kind of play and consider the wealth of disparate experiences that other players have. Each mountain is different with new playthroughs, and one must ponder their mountain in relation to the other. Thrown against the relief of the cosmos, Mountain eases us into thinking about videogames through a wide range of experiences and contexts beyond our immediate, individualistic play.
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