Saturday, February 19, 2011

Afternoon Snack: Waiting for Godot

godot“Let’s go.” “We can’t.” “Why not?” We’re waiting for Godot.” “Ah!”

Let the parade of videogame adaptations of classics march on!

Have you ever read or seen Waiting for Godot and thought, “Well, shit, I could do that. Wait for some dude I barely know for eternity? And my friend can wait with me? Piece of cake.”

The comic site VectorBelly’s Waiting for Godot: the Game gives you that opportunity. Set on a barren road with barely a tree for scenery, WfG:tG follows Didi and Gogo as they wait for the eponymous Godot’s arrival. You can walk around, wait, walk around, and wait some more.

Programmer and animator Jeff Rosenthal designed the game for VectorBelly, and I’m impressed by how he adapted Beckett’s famous tragicomedy to a game. The graphics are suitably Atari-like, stressing the simplicity of Beckett’s vision. Just as you start to get bored with nothing happening, the screen declares “Boss Battle,” and you fight…nothing. The boredom itself is the boss battle.

There is a lone cloud on the left side of the sky that tracks your progress. At least I think it’s alone. No word yet on the inclusion of Pozzo and Lucky. I’ve only made it to Level Five.

The most insidious (and sort of genius) thing about Waiting for Godot: the Game is how it pauses itself if you click out of the screen or open another window. Being a 21st-century surfer of the web, I generally keep multiple tabs open at time. I caught myself flitting over to other pages as I waited for Godot to progress. I checked back: the cloud hadn’t moved. The game won’t let you pass time unless you’re actually playing it. Now that’s clever.