This was a wonderful little experience. Now that finals are over, I have time to do a deep dive into it!
As for the first day: there are so many things that one doesn't consider when visiting an art museum but this brings them all front and center. The first day cycle is a particular delight, invoking the feel of an art museum without a piece in sight. The deftly written text, however, become pieces in and upon themselves.
Day 2: I love the voice acting (it sounds so natural, but I think kids have no choice but to be natural since they are so genuine beings), and the way all the other characters follow you around. The art is a treat as well, and I am still coming up with new interpretations for why you begin this day looking at your self-portrait.
Day 3: There's something to be said about how on this day you are boxed in your little booth area and cannot move, your only interface with the game world being to serve wine to your guests. Nice little way to hammer home your game's themes without needing to use a single word.
Day 4: Formerly Idealistic Cultural Worker will stick with me. I want nothing more than to spend my life working on art, but why does that instill me with such fear? Why is it fair to spend a life doing things that make you happy to lead to such precarity? This piece puts those notions into words perfectly. The moment where you take off the miniature ceiling to reveal the actual ceiling being removed above remains my favorite moment in the game. At night, I was very impressed by the falling down the chasm sequence (I imagine that was difficult to program), and found the fact that you were given a minecraft pickaxe to extract yourself from the resources (haha) is a nice little moment of levity. Jordan Peele's US showed how the underground can be used to represent groups of people that society wishes to "bury" or forget about and I think this symbol is used to excellent effect here.
"Those Fuckers Downtown" has been now added to my YouTube mix.
Throughout the experience, you invoked the same feelings for me that The Beginner's Guide did. And I hope you know that I adore The Beginner's Guide, so this is high praise!!!
I will end with this: I remember you saying that making games can sometimes be like yelling out into the void. Certainly, it was this way for me with my first seven or so games, of which I put even more time and love into than Time is Solid Here, and in part that practice was useful for me -- to show that making art in its own reward.
But unlike my earlier titles I don't think this deserves to remain in the void. I think this piece is about asking the question: shouldn't we deserve more than the void? More than to just make art for its own reward? Shouldn't we deserve to survive off this? To thrive, even?
I'm going to make a new public collection that will show this on my profile as a title I highly recommend. My hope is that anyone passing through will visit and be able to experience this gem.