rara racer

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Multiple Layers of Meta

Free Download
Stephen Lavelle

Normally, new reviews appear in full text on the front page -- no need to click through for more. In this case, I am going to post only the first part, however, with the rest below the fold, because this is a 3-minute game (actually, a 2 minute and 10 second game, precisely), and almost anything I might say would amount to a spoiler.

In other words, play it first, then read the rest of the review. Failing to do so is a lot like hearing the punchline before the joke.

rara racer is, in part, a fairly tedious obstacle-avoidance sidescroller, in which you control a little cart with the arrow keys, dodging lines of obstacles as they scroll toward you. But if that's all it were, we wouldn't be featuring it. It's brilliant, in its own little way. Did I mention you should play it before reading the rest of the review?

You didn't, did you? Oh, well.

The game itself plays inside a small window that appears to be inset on a YouTube page. The "game" takes over your window, but the rest of the screen is what you might see on your computer, at least, what you might see if you had a seriously bad viral pop-up infection and a gay porn window open in the background. (Yes, it's safe-for-work, but it may be a little embarassing if someone peers over your shoulder and sees the "Gay Sex Links" tab on the screen.)

The audio is what you might hear if some very boring person had recorded a video playthrough-and-review and posted it on YouTube.

But what's brilliant, in a way that generates a certain degree of intellectual dislocation is that you do, in fact, play the racing game -- and the narration changes in response to what happens in the game. E.g., if you collide with an obstacle, the narrator may well say "Oh, fuck," as if he had just had that crash. Indeed, the narration seems amazingly seamless and appropriate to what you see as you play, which is no mean trick.

In other words, yes, this is a game, of a sort; but it's also a commentary on itself; and a metacommentary on the nature of video reviews and the inanity of YouTube -- along with a neat technical hack for splicing audio together. And quite funny, really.

(Source code's available too, should you want it.)


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I was pleased to see, when I

I was pleased to see, when I went to YouTube, that there is a gameplay video there exactly where you'd expect it to be, too.

More frustration

I found this "game" rather frustrating because of its presentation. There aren't any instructions, there's nothing telling you what to do. Sure, it says "Press Space", but that's something presented as part of a YouTube video, and we all know that pressing space won't have any effect on YouTube videos. It was only after I posted about it on a forum that the designer actually explained it. I think if you have to have the designer post on a forum to tell you what you're allowed to do in the game, something's wrong.

We also all know that

We also all know that YouTube videos do not reside within .exe files. As soon as the executable is launched we all realize that we are being transported into the magical world of the content provider, and are no longer within the usual realities of our desktop environment. The "game" designer must have been laughing his ass off when he replied to your forum post. I thought this was a very cute and entertaining interactive commentary on the scene. Thanks to costik for posting!

i don't think it's too much

i don't think it's too much of a stretch to expect the player, in experimenting with how to interact with a game, to perform an instruction that is pretty clearly visible on the screen.

Good fun.

The audio part is indeed very well made, and it always seems very realistic.
The "I made a completely useless video and put it on youtube" side made me think about all those Counter Strike gameplay videos with Toxicity playing.
Fun game.