Loren Schmidt is a game designer and visual artist. He makes games that are glitchy experiments very similar to Michael Brough but with a more aesthetic beat. Schmidt’s latest game is the fucked up mazey experiment Strawberry Cubes.
The game has you play as a simple white little girl, the Alice in a confusing wonderland of climbable flowers and killer frogs. You are dropped in the middle of nowhere without any direction and are forced to explore everything around you. The visual and audial elements start quiet but quickly undo themselves, melting into words. You feel less like you are playing a game and more like you are trapped in a poem and your goal is to inspect every stanza and every space in between the lines to figure out what is going on.
The story is a winder, a puzzle that is both everything and nothing. The game truly does fall on the Schmidt’s aesthetic: his fucked up way of giving you a “story,” his broken presentation of a game, make the game a constant confusion that will carry you away for hours. What are you getting at? What happens when you push that button when that word or letter is on the screen? Is there an end? Can I touch the frog? What happens when you die? Who is that tall person? Can you meet yourself? You get all wrapped up into philosophy so easily in Strawberry Cubes. You dissolve into red, pinks, and whites as you crawl around this happy, peppy, pretty graveyard. Is there an escape?
The game is recently available for all platforms at only $1 or more. (I paid $10: it’s worth $10.) There is no direction, no guarantee, and no anything to say about it: just get into it. People love saying the game is like taking an amble through a David Lynch movie. I disagree. That’s a very derivative way of getting you into the game. You need to get into this game because it is a tangle. It is an artwork that you can engage with and that requires you acting as a key to unlock it. It will not play itself.
You can buy Strawberry Cubes here.