Фùþç, AKA Glitch The Game

Фùþç

Most of the time, game developers are battling to keep glitches and bugs out of their creations so that players can have a smooth ride without being sucked into another dimension full of screen-tears, cacophonies and abysses. I’m actually quite fond of falling into these strange spaces between in-game realities and their darker alt-dimensions. Delighted was I, then, when Jóhannes Gunnar Þorsteinsson told me about his game, Фùþç (apparently pronounced “Fooths”), which is apparently a title made constructed by smushing together a single letter from each team member’s first language.

Фùþç was made by Jóhannes and his small team for Exile 2013 game jam in Vallekilde, Denmark, and was then polished up to be displayed at Bring Your Own Beamer exhibition in Antwerp, Belgium on the Press X platform.


“Warbling bass underfoot and strange, tepid blips in the air that excite you with curiosity.”

Jóhannes refers to it as “Glitch the Game,” but it doesn’t actually contain anything game-breaking or even remotely game-threatening. What it does contain is an artificial recreation of the kind of effects that glitches can perform across your experience, should they interject. Fortunately, the game doesn’t solely rely on this as a compelling notion as there’s a mysterious and quite intimidating alien world to explore.

Фùþç

You’re dropped into Фùþç quite suddenly, without reason or motive. You can see a small ship that you presumably crash landed onto the planet with, and just beside it is a strange, spinning, white shape. It may take a while for you to discover what it is you’re supposed to do, and you’ll put the pieces together by exploring the vast environment around you. Fortunately, you can move at a pretty incredible pace, and your jump matches the vivacity of your walking speed.

I love the large architecture that seems crumbled and broken up, deformed. There are large, fallen statues with glowing eyes that caused me to act with caution, and the soundscapes assigned to each different area really add another layer of presence to them. Warbling bass underfoot and strange, tepid blips in the air that excite you with curiosity. You can go inside cloud-infested spheres, climb to the top of an enormous structure and glide back down to the drone of “shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit” the whole way (well, I did).


“…if progression through a game involves destroying your body, is it worth it?”

There’s a particularly horrid patch of large spikes that lay before the statue sunk into the ground with red, glowing eyes. The darker lair of something more sinister than the more jolly-looking patches, perhaps? You don’t know.

Фùþç

Anyway, in each of these areas, you’ll find more of these spinning shapes, just like the one near your ship. You’ll soon work out that you have to collect them all and place them each on a pedestal that “restores” the world. Unfortunately for you, restoring this world, turning dark into day, has the adverse effect of deconstructing you as a being. Your vision becomes torn, ripped apart, and each journey to find the next artifact becomes harder, like you’re rushing head-first into an almighty force, willingly sacrificing yourself to restore beauty.

Jóhannes mentions to me that it’s supposed to make players think about chasing progression. Indeed, if progression through a game involves destroying your body, is it worth it? You can no longer explore the world laid before you that you helped to recreate. I love how with each artifact you place, the world becomes lighter, but also even scarier due to the sounds that erupt around you, as if the planet is charging up, and the those statues you saw would suddenly gain life once again.

Unfortunately, the inevitable denouement is a bit of a disappointment. You pretty much just die, and it’s game over. It’s a shame. I really wanted to see what I had achieved. Alas, that is the point of the game, I suppose.

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