I spent most of the weekend having tantric marathon sex with my girlfriend, and then about a quarter of my time playing World of Goo; so that's my rating on the Kinsey Scale. World of Goo is polished and innovative, but it's important because of its unrelenting spunk -- this game will cover you in spunk. I met Kyle Gabler in a bar at GDC 2007, speaker's party, and my description of CuttleCandy prompted him to ask "are you sexually frustrated?"
"Well, I haven't been laid in a few months."
"Guy or girl?"
"Uh... a girl."
He told me I seemed like I'm in touch with my emotions. I said "right on."
I always thought of CuttleCandy as a drug addiction metaphor, some people actually thought of it as a fun casual game.
Since then I've been, ah, curious as to the kind of aesthetic the man might come up with. I suspected we as an industry needed more creative diversity beyond the macho-gunman running around a world of grey and brown, trying to master space or find a princess or whatever. World of Goo is like Allen Ginsberg Howling into The Cat in The Hat's hat.
The starting point is goo balls, their texture, the way they hang and support each other. From this simple mechanic, dosed with cushy, jetted physics, comes an onslaught of hot, fresh gameplay. There many kinds of goo balls, their interactions with each other and the environment allows the author to weave us through a fanciful journey into whatever conceptual space the author wants -- like da Vinci inventing scientific humanism but with fewer paint fumes. Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be a frog, shooting puzzle-game objects out your mouth for the very first time? Have you ever wanted to use renewable wind power as a means to cut a kite? Has the outsourcing of job got you all sticky? These seemingly absurd vignettes build into a warped sense of being, happy and loose, thatched up but burning. The Goo Corporation becomes an effigy to burn the old, genteel sense of playing a game for fun, and leaves you with a quite sense of wonder as you begin the play the game in earnest for its personality.
And then there's all the phallic stuff. Half of it really works for the worldview that a world of goo espouses, while the other half is kind of like a sex scene in a Gus Van Sant movie; it's in there to make the hardcore blink, the child laugh, the parent raise an eyebrow, then lower it. It's subversive. The Sign Painter does not give a fuck what you think of his uses of the word "fabulous" or the threading of passive phrasings, the metaphors and mischiefs. There is so much confidence in the stick factor, in the viscous cohesion of this game as a gallant work of art, like a big wad of goo, that there is little holding back. This is a human being's expression of a wave that may be entirely contrary to your personal reality-tunnel, but damn is it a slick trip. In my dreams an elaborate goo structure walks dripping from a sea-journey on the highway across America in tears to the vacuum pipe of my cottage in the Western night.