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Indie Nation: Ergon/Logos

12:00 PM on 08.29.2009 // Anthony Burch

Our Indie Nation series highlights cool independent games.

What is this? An interactive poem? A fast-paced Choose Your Own Adventure? A smarmy existentialist critique of videogames and the status quo? A silly bit of conceptual game art a la Tale of Tales?

Ergon/Logos is all of these things. Or maybe, it's none of them. Or it's some of them.  I'm not a hundred percent sure. I am sure of several things, however: it is free, it is very well paced, and it is interesting. Once the basic premise behind Ergon/Logos becomes apparent (I won't spoil it here), you will either laugh, pontificate, or close the browser window. It's that sort of a game.

If it's even a game, that is.

Hit the jump for more ramblings about whatever the hell Ergon/Logos is.

Most artgames, for whatever reason, positively revel in their ability to be as slow-paced as humanly possible. I can't blame anyone for not enjoying The Path, nor for not particularly looking forward to The Night Journey; for whatever reason, time passes differently when you've got your hands on a controller, and seconds can feel like minutes if something relevant isn't always happening.

That's part of the reason I like Ergon/Logos. It's not terribly subtle and can be downright irritating at moments, but you'll never be outright bored while "playing" it. A typical "playthrough" lasts less than a few minutes; you may find the experience pretentious or uninteresting, but you certainly won't feel the familiar sleepy-eyed irritation one typically gets from so many modern artgames. 

Then again, it's not really a game. It asks nothing more of the player than the ability to read relatively quickly and mouse over words at their own leisure. I haven't bothered to check out every possible "story" branch, but there is not, as far as I can immediately tell, any definite "win" scenario. Or, if there is, it's probably no more meaningful or interesting than the far-more-numerous "losing" paths that all seem to end in the word "DYSLEXIA" flooding the screen, for whatever reason. This isn't the sort of game I'd hold up as an example of the medium's expressive potential, so much as it is an interesting experiment in...well, something. Choice-based poetry where the choices don't really matter. High-speed, self-reflexive narrative. 

I have a hard time pinning down what the hell Ergon/Logos is, and that's what I like about it. Maybe you will, too.

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