Little Inferno, A Fiery Reflection

So, in class we had to do a report over a video.  We were supposed to play the game and analyze it and so on.  I was originally assigned Modern Warfare 2, a first-person shooter game that has done much to categorize an entire genre, and also has some very analysis-worthy moments (The airport section, I’m looking at you).  However, there was a distinct lack of Independent Games, which I felt was a great injustice to what is kind of my favorite group of games to talk about.   For the sake of this discussion, I’m going to assume any readers of this blog will know what an independent game is, or can at least utilize the magical search engine known only as “Google” for finding out.

                So, anyway, I decided to do my report over a wonderful game I had recently acquired. A little gem called “Little Inferno.”  To summarize the game quickly, it’s basically a virtual fireplace simulator.  Yes, a virtual fireplace simulator.  But that description does not do it justice.   Instead, it’s a far more varied piece of work; a piece of art I would even hazard to say. It deals with so many complex themes and ideas in a way that is both entertaining and informative and I just think that is great for a video game to be able to do.  In my presentation, my main argument was that the game is in fact a remediation of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.  However, which my professor pointed out, in my overzealousness to present the game, I presented what was simply a reading of a game, as an actual fact.  Which is true.  While this game has no actual evidence that points towards its “authorial intent” being an allegory of the cave remediation, it is possible to present a very convincing reading of it being that.  However, what I want to stress in this short blog post is how some of the strongest evidence for this reading comes from the gameplay rather than the overarching narrative.  The gameplay manages to enhance the narrative, rather than being a simple backbone for the narrative to be built upon.  And I think that is how video games should function.  Gameplay and narrative should intertwine rather than one simply existing to act as a simple support structure for the other.

~N. Edwards

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