Gris is a game about the incredible pain the comes along with loss. The game takes the player through the emotional feelings of a young woman that has lost her mother portrayed as a giant statue that supports and protects her. The first thing the player is introduced to is the young woman singing in the palm of the woman’s hand, suddenly she loses her voice and the statue crumbles. She falls deep into despair and hopelessness, this is represented by her unwillingness to walk as she just falls on the ground periodically in anguish and disbelief. Everything is black and white and very little movement can be seen. As the player progresses through the game a new color is introduced which is a deep red which may represent anger it also gives her the ability to transform into a stone cube that can be used to break objects and not be thrown off balance by the strong winds of life. She later on discovers the color green and the player can see that the bleak world is now becoming more beautiful. The player is being guided through the healing process one chapter at a time in a visual masterpiece with equally wondrous music to go along with it.
This game is very different from most as its goal is not just entertain but to communicate an emotional experience without actually saying it, this breaks the norm of what game should be. This is a perfect example that games can be used to stir emotions and create experiences of both beauty and pain; in this case both. At the moment games are still dominated by action male adrenaline games and it’s games like these that will break from this stigma and expand the horizons of gaming to new levels. As stated by Jon Dovey and Helen W. Kennedy in their book “the zone of play is understood to be generative of change and challenge to existing orders of power — we must hope and argue, therefore, that dominance in the field of play will, by its nature, be temporary” (p. 83). Sure, it will take time but changes in perspectives are possible and sometimes necessary, similarly to how this game evolves the player into a higher level of healing so too can our perspective of video game morph into something bigger and more refined.
Dovey, Jon, and Helen W Kennedy. Game Cultures : Computer Games as New Media. Maidenheard Open Univ. Press, 2011.