games and places


Games I Played Last Week In America, Each One Written About For The Same Amount Of Time That I Spent Playing It

BREAKUP SQUAD (by Catt Small). 4 minutes.

Breakup Squad is a five-player game. I play as one of a team of three allied friends; we're trying to keep two exes away from each other at a party. The exes, controlled by rival players, are nice people but they're bad for each other. They need to stay apart for their own good. You can push other partygoers in front of them, build barriers of flesh to ensure that they stay separate; as a last-ditch effort you can just get in the way yourself. I'm playing this game at a party, and real-world crowds are around me, barriers of people I had to push through to get my turn: it feels like a good setting.

But after fifteen seconds of playing I realise: wait, no, I'm not a helpful friend at all! I'm one of the exes. And as an ex, I know what's best for me! I'm a grownup! These crowds are my enemies, these on-screen crowds and the real crowd around that wants me to fail. If I'd like to talk to someone at a party, then who are my monstrous friends to try to stop me? And all of a sudden I push my way towards an intensely adorable on-screen figure, my long-lost love, and we meet. Ah, it's so great to catch up! Why haven't we hung out lately? I high-five the real-world stranger who played the other ex: WELL DONE US. "This won't go well", the screen informs me, but it already has.

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Holly Gramazio