Florence is the kind of video games that remind me how amazing the medium can be.

It’s short (the game lasts about an hour, but stays with you for weeks), and because it’s short it might seem odd that it charges a couple of bucks. It’s absolutely worth it. Monument Valley is also short and costs money. Sometimes good things cost money. I don’t know what else to tell you.

You might think it isn’t a video game, because it’s linear and you barely do anything but tap things. But it is a video game, because what you tap is up to you, and the story only progresses when you progress it. It’s not a difficult video game, even if it doesn’t tell you exactly what you’re supposed to do in any moment. Sometimes you’re presented with a blank canvas and you stare at it for a moment before curiously swiping and realizing a painting will reveal itself if you just keep at it.

Sometimes you paint by colouring in butterflies. Sometimes you work at your job by pairing up numbers in a match game. Sometimes you fill a shelf with items your new partner is bringing with him. Sometimes you fill a box with items your old partner is taking with him. Sometimes you kiss, or eat pizza. Each moment is heightened by interaction of some sort, your finger acting as the way the story progresses, tiny movements in a story about the self.

Why aren’t there more games like this? Pleasant, a bit sad, focusing on the pleasures and pangs of real life?

June 22, 2018