Every City Is The Same

I have been feeling pretty lonely lately. Turns out having a large friend group does not mean you’ll have all the emotional support you need; I miss having proper conversations with some people who are far away now. With that thought, I open Every City Is The Same by Aleks Samoylov.

I start looking around the room, and as my attention moves between objects, the game reminds me of feelings and moments and people. I turn off the light, and notice a piece that I hadn’t read yet. The white text is burned onto the unlit wall. “And you miss everyone and everything. And, oh, if only there was a ritual for that”. I turn the lights back on and venture into the next room. Through the window, I can see a silhouette, and I feel sorry for his badly tuned piano. The notes vibrate irregularly; it’s almost macabre.

I point towards the lamp, and I am asked about how I pack and unpack when I move places. This reminds me of Detritus, and a game I made that was inspired by it, August. I start thinking about how our possessions build up and surround us without us participating actively, and how entering someone’s room for the first time is An Experience.

The fridge asks me a rhetorical question about empty spaces and how they fill up, and I realise that the metaphor deals with different types of liquids: filling up does not mean filling up well. It leaves you satisfied but sad, and you cannot for the life of yourself find why you aren’t happier, when you clearly haven’t got it bad.

I walk back towards the skyline, and the shapes are minimalist but evocative; as the game mentions, this could be any city, any flat. I turn around right before the window because I am not ready and I also want to make sure I’ve looked at everything. Call me cheesy, but I decide that my favourite quote is the one about the lover. The past tense, the mention of time, but it might as well have been another city at another hour.

I point at all the buildings, hoping for something to satisfy me, but there’s not much and the streets are empty. Does this mean I’ll just have to look into the horizon and make my own thoughts?

Every City Is The Same makes me feel empathy while being alienated, as I discover memories through objects which have been displaced, but also do not really belong anywhere anyway. They’re moving in and moving out boxes, crude, out of place, just like my character. I notice that some lights in the other flats are on; are those people thinking about the same things as me? Will I ever meet them? I don’t know. All I know is that it was a hot summer. There were trains.

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