The Beautiful Menace of Playdead’s Inside

A scene from Playdead’s “Inside”

A scene from Playdead’s “Inside”

I really don’t play videogames that often. Case in point, I’ve been slowly working through Bioshock 2 on my laptop for the last year or so. On my iPhone, I rarely play anything more complicated than DoodleJump when I’m waiting on hold. 

 

However, a few years ago, I did get obsessed with a  game called LIMBO by Dutch game designers Playdead, which was a sparse, 2D puzzle game played in black-and-white. It was gorgeous, fun and deeply disturbing. The young boy that the gamer controls must solve various spacial riddles to keep moving forward, but also avoid being crushed, drowned, shattered, eaten by giant spiders, or dismembered in the process. It was awesome, but also wonderfully understated. There was never an explanation or story to the game and the ending is equally obscure. 

Recently, Playdead came out with a new game upgraded to the capabilities of recent smartphones. While many elements remain the same as LIMBO: a young boy, various puzzles, grevious bodily harm always looming, the world has color (!!) and more visual depth. Also, the menace here feels more real with a storyline teased from a dystopian nightmare.  

The world of Inside isn’t a nice place, but one that you want to be in regardless.