A tactless blast of unbridled imagination
Earlier this year, I did a little volunteer play testing for Vivian Clark, an approximately 12 hour long game hidden inside of another game called Soda Drinker Pro, I also donated a few sounds that my 7-month-old son had made for a 10-second-long sequence that’s hidden even deeper in the thing, so deep that 90% of people who play the game will probably never see it. This all came together after I spoke to the game’s developer about Kanye West for a video Dtoid put out last year. What a strange trip it’s been.
Vivian Clark just came out on Steam and Xbox One and I’m worried that it may not find its audience. The fact that it’s hidden inside Soda Drinker Pro, a game that’s boldly and intentionally unmarketable, is big part of why I’m worried. I’m also concerned that most of the people I know who would love the Vivian Clark may never try it. The closest the retail market has ever seen to a game this married to the process of free association is probably LSD: Dream Emulator, and that one didn’t exactly sell like gangbusters. You could also say it’s like a cross between Super Mario Galaxy and Warioware, but even then, what the heck does that even mean? If you had an 1,000 page book filled with children’s doodles that were also a videogame, how would you explain to strangers why it’s fun?
The fact that I’m so worried, and the game’s creator is not, is why he was able to make a game like Vivian Clark and I wasn’t. Being both unconventional and unself-conscious really helps when you’re trying to make artwork for public consumption, but it also usually leads to people either loving or hating you. For everyone’s sake, I hope the people who’ll hate Vivian Clark run far away from it, and that the people who’d love it are willing to take a chance on the awkward, sincere, freewheeling little dynamo.