A 2017 calendar of climbing, colours and cerebration
A Road to Awe is a game by Lectronice and can be found at time of writing at this page.
To travel the road to awe, it can be assumed the place one starts from is not of awe itself. But to do the simple “2016 blows, let’s hope the future is better” reading of Lectronice’s diary structured maze would be a disservice to what it does or purposely does not do. Released on new year’s day, A Road to Awe is scheduled to receive daily updates adding a new level to pass through on a daily basis. No single level has yet to be consist of much on their own, merely a rather simple maze of stairs and turns that the player will complete in about 30 seconds or so. But these levels add up, and 8 days in to the project the game already presents a variety of these mazes in a way that makes the whole more impactful than the sum of their individual parts.
Despite labelling A Road to Awe as an abstract diary on the game’s title screen (title landscape?), the game doesn’t really function like one. Yes levels are generated on a daily basis, but they aren’t marked as such in the game anywhere. It’s not a matter of a level being the “January 4th” level, just that it’s the level that happened to be released that particular day. There’s no way to mark days of importance or levels of note. Nor is there a way to navigate back to a particular level without working your way all the way back to it from the start or finish points. As of writing that’s not too much of a problem, but as it quickly grows, any one level in the middle of the pack will take serious effort to reach.
This makes A Road to Awe less of a diary about specific days, and a more about time as one larger progression. The game asks very little of a player on a day to day basis. It takes about as much time to turn it on and off as it does to navigate the day’s level. This means the game will exist more in the player’s mind or memory than it does as an actual thing that can be interacted with. The act of playing A Road to Awe is more about this decision to play it than to actually do the deed. And as memory the game blurs. As each of the game’s levels demands the same basic navigation goals, it’s hard to separate days of the game in the mind.
Because of this, A Road to Awe is something I have done throughout 2017 but it’s not something that chronicles it. It has been an ever present background noise that has instead become part of my year. That’s certainly different than the traditional understanding of a diary, but of no more or less merit. A Road to Awe, is about the act of trudging through time, not a reflection on it.
I can’t say what contributions A Road to Awe will serve as a mental soundtrack to my 2017. But I’m interested most in looking back on what shape in takes in my memory a month from now, or twelve months from now. And then I’m excited to compare that to what the game actually consists of. What parts will I remember or forget? What parts are misremembered? Will my memory construct levels or sequences that never existed? And can the answers to any of those questions be traced back to some of the more important moments of my own life this year. I won’t be able to answer these questions for some time, but if I’m still writing here in a year I promise I’ll come back to this one and see if I have answers.
But for now, I encourage anyone reading still to try to pick up A Road to Awe sooner rather than later. I can easily foresee it as something people “in the know” mention in 2017 wrap up pieces a year from now. And by then it’ll be something that’s come and gone, so start walking the road now.
A Road to Awe was game of the week for January 8th, 2017.