Amelia Nichols – Loved

Loved, by artist Alexander Ocias, is an incredibly self reflective game. The 2010 platform game forces a strong reaction form the player. The game begins with a series of questions such as Are you a Man or a Woman, and Shall I teach you to play?, to which it answers with No, you are a boy(or a girl depending on which answer you gave), and either You do not deserve it, or You will fail. You are then given your little 2-D character on a very barren 2-D platform. At first the platform is empty, but as you move with your arrow keys you start to see higher ledges and eventually spikes and gaps. As you jump and duck the obstacles, the game will give you instructions, such as which route to take, or to touch the game saver statues or not, or to let yourself die. You can choose to follow these instructions or not, but if you do, you are rewarded with colour, plants, and pattern being added to your world, if you do not, then your world stays barren. The game gets progressively more and more condescending regardless of whether or not you listen to the game.

This game really makes you consider your personality traits and your subconscious. For some the condescending game causes a need to please the game and to complete everything it tells you to do, and for others the game merely causes anger and frustration at the insults. There are several reasons for being compelled to please, one of which being a lack of self-love. This game, Loved, makes you want the game to love you and rewards you when you are obedient. The more demanding it is, the more you are compelled to complete the challenges, and the more insulting the game is the more you want to please it. It tells you that you are ugly, underserving, and disappointing. Eventually the game reaches a point where the colours and the patterns stop being rewards and start being punishments and the more you fail, the harder the game is too play. The screen gets so crowded with blocks of colour you can barely see your character and the path you must take. It is at this point where you must obey the game or you cannot reach the real ending. If you are unable to obey the failures ending of the game is a series of statements saying I loved you, why did you hate me?

When reaching the failures ending, the player is overwhelmed by a sense of almost sadness that the game has ended with out being able to win the love of the game. This intense emotion is a sign of how well the game has achieved its goal of playing with your mind. The game plays on our fundamental need to be loved. The more the player craves love in their life, the more addicting this game will be. It simulates the unsatisfactory relationships in our lives and our drive to do whatever we can to win the love of the game, whether that be to spend ten minutes beating it, or going back over and over till the player reaches the winners ending, or trying different game plays till the player is shown the desired outcome.

In order for this to work, the player must be in one way or another insecure with themselves. If the player does not feel a lacking in their life, then this game will likely hold nothing more than curiosity for them. It is true that there is a fundamental need for love in everyone, but if the player is completely satisfied then there will be no drive to finish the game.



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2 Responses to Amelia Nichols – Loved

  1. Meagan Sin says:

    This game is absolutely beautiful. I love it. So creepy and weird and yet I couldn’t seem to stop playing.

  2. Kwan Ting Katie Poon says:

    I think this game is kinda like Heavy Rain. You fully experience the psychological effects it has on you the first time you play it. The second time, you’re just seeing what will happen if you didn’t choose what you did the first time.

    If you enjoy Loved, you’ll enjoy this game too. Don’t spoil yourself with walkthroughs!

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