Look at you, sitting there with your AAA gaming titles, like you own the place. You’ve probably been indulging in the top titles of 2016 over Christmas. Battlefield One, FIFA 2017, Forza Horizons 3 and Gears of War 4. Perhaps these are too “mainstream” and not being a “filthy casual” you’ve been playing the indie darlings or PC exclusives from Steam. Darkest Dungeon, Inside Out, Super Hot.
While you’ve been playing the aforementioned games, I’ve been playing the epoch-shattering and paradigm shifting Update by Microsoft. A brave attempt to discover the pure essence of gaming, by distilling bold minimalist visuals and no audio into a groundbreaking experience that has to be seen to be believed.
Graphically, its stark monochrome background and bold simple text really highlight the overwhelming feeling of instant despondency when it says “Your console needs an update.” Your excitement at getting to play your long anticipated game soon dissipates when you’re forced to wait up to 90 minutes before you finally get to play a computer game…on a games console. Revolutionary stuff!
As an exercise in existential dread, it’s an astounding and revelatory experience. Nothing makes me question my existence more than looking at my frowning reflection on a darkened screen while clutching a small rectangle of fluorescent green plastic. I’m looking at myself on a screen, but is it the same person looking back at me? Are his thoughts mine? Did he just blink? Metaphysical questions such as these abound in Update.
As a work of existentialism, it’s genius. How many other games can actually make you question your hobby and existence? In fact, Update has been so successful, I often don’t even allow it to start, preferring to do something more intellectually nourishing like reading a book or watching Furious Seven. How many games have you played that actually made you not want to play games? Genius!
Being denied the visual and aural stimulation promised to me, will see me start to question my horrific life choices as I stare at the sad balding man in the telly screen. “Man, I should not have gone to University.” “I should have probably moved jobs after three years rather than waiting until I was made redundant”. “I wonder if the PlayStation 4 does this.”
In a way, as your mind wanders, you’re using the most powerful graphics engine ever created. The human imagination, your beautiful mind. You can go anywhere and be anyone. Thanks a million, Update.
Watching the download bar go up by 1% every 3 minutes 22 seconds is really engaging. Inexplicably, it seems to get far slower the closer the bar gets to 100%. Will I have time to get a cup of tea? Run an errand? Go for a shower? The suspense is electrifying. Who knows what will happen next? It’s a race against time and you’re running a marathon.
Of course, once you start Update you’re in for the duration. I hope you don’t get bored because there’s no turning back. Update has to update fully. For God’s sake, don’t turn off the console! I don’t know what will happen. Perhaps it might open a time portal to another dimension where consoles work straight out of the packaging (to be fair the time portal would only need to go back to 2008). Who knows.
As an added bonus, the longer you don’t play Update, the larger the game gets. How many other games can boast of such an innovative feature?
In fact, while playing Update, I usually find my phone more interesting. Update even makes you pick up, other, rival hardware while you’re playing it. Incredible!
By the time Update finishes, you will have been taken on the full gamut of human emotion. From the dizzying highs of anticipation to the appalling lows of depression and boredom and then back round to the inevitable decision to do something else with your free time.
Update. 10/10. 50/10. 100/10. Game of the year, every year, all year from now on. Look out for its exciting sequel, Applying Update, coming straight after Update.