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I’ve never had much luck playing the bad guy in a video game. The “renegade” option might look like fun, but I can never commit. I always end up feeling bad and find myself drifting back toward doing the right thing. That is until I played Untitled Goose Game, which is out now on PC and Nintendo Switch.
Geese are nature’s most hateful creatures. They are walking tufts of feather and meat with no room left over for scruples. They were once dinosaurs, and they still believe they are. When you first take control of the waddling villain in Untitled Goose Game, you may wonder why it has a to-do list with items like “Get the groundskeeper wet.” But the reason is simple: Because you are a goose, and geese are a-holes.
By putting you in evil’s webbed feet, Untitled Goose Game frees you from vestigial human notions of morality. Instead, you need to play the game as the best goose you can be, and that means you need to honk and throw a man’s slippers in the water.
As a mere person, mayhem and spite will not come as naturally to you as it would an actual goose. But Untitled Goose Game is about trying to put yourself in that mindset to correctly achieve your dark mischief. The carrot does not go in your crate, Mr. Gardner. It goes in the lake, where it will float stupidly.
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In Untitled Goose Game, you must become the goose
This is why you can’t just play Untitled Goose Game. You have to perform it. You have to embody the goose to properly enact its calamity upon the land of Britain.
What this means is that you cannot simply steal the boy’s airplane, you must torment him. You must stalk him and never let him know a moment of peace ever again.
And because Untitled Goose Game is a performance, you will have more fun playing it in front of others. You can do that on Twitch or YouTube, but I played in front of my family. It was great having everyone get into the spirit of cheering on this awful little devil.
With this audience, I found myself guiding the goose around with the goal of nailing the comedic timing on certain moments. And the game works with you as a partner to create this performance. The dynamic music begins to play elements of Debussy’s “Prelude” as you the goose steals objects or runs away from an angry villager.
So when you have the goose hunched over in silence, and then suddenly you honk to frighten someone and the music kicks in as you steal something, everything is working together to create this dance. My 2-year-old kid was totally enamored with all of this. She would get excited when the goose began sneaking up on someone. Then, as the music kicked in, and the goose began rascaling away with a beer mug or whatever, she would squeal in delight.
That’s what makes Untitled Goose Game so special. It’s not about beating it or getting to the end — although it has a great final moment. It’s about playing your part in a ballet of mayhem for the benefit of anyone who has the pleasure of watching geese do their work.
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