Loved: The Game That Hates You and Punishes You for Disobedience
Alexander Ocias describes his platformer Loved as being “confrontational,” which wraps up the game in a nutshell. Setting the tone immediately with a question about your gender–and then rejecting that choice–Loved is a sparse, minimalistic platformer featuring a narrator that gives out orders. It’s up to you to follow those orders, but the narrator can and will punish you for disobedience by making the game chaotic and hard to navigate but also more vivid and colorful. Obedience has its own rewards–the world stays black and white but becomes more sharply defined.
The emotions that Loved evokes are purposefully negative. Choose to be a man and the narrator will condescendingly call you a good girl throughout. Choose to be a woman and the narrator laughs and says you are a boy. Choosing to disobey orders causes the narrator to comment “How disappointing” or call you an ugly creature. In this sense, there’s no winning the game. Loved is about the journey into adulthood, but it’s entirely on the narrator’s terms. Robbing the player/protagonist of all power, the game creates an interestingly uncomfortable tension throughout.
Loved is a fairly short game, but it’s worth playing through twice–once obeying, once disobeying–just to see how the game warps and changes.