About a month ago, I spent a bit of time with David O’Reilly’s philosophically-charged exploration game, Everything. It’s an undoubtedly unique premise, one that melds gaming with scholarly endeavour in an attempt to draw us away from our own narcissistic lives and into something greater (and far more entertaining). You’ll play as whatever you want, from microscopic organism to entire galaxy, as you listen with rapturous intent to the dulcet tones of philosopher Alan Watts as he lectures on the nature of existence.
Suffice it to say, it’s pretty transcendent stuff.
Everything has received frankly stellar reviews – you can see mine here – and was recently awarded the Jury Prize for Animation at the Vienna Shorts Festival in… well, Vienna. An amazing accolade in itself, this award has also acted as a springboard to something extraordinary: for the first time in Academy Award history, a videogame has been declared eligible for an Oscar.
We’re not sure if it’s the full Everything game that will be accepting the award at the ceremony, or just one of the stunning gameplay trailers posted on Youtube via PlayStation (see above). In any case, props must go to Mr O’Reilly himself, who tweeted with all the nonchalance of a seasoned Hollywood star the moment he heard the news:
The game will be competing in the ‘Animated Shorts’ category, and though the man behind the game is less than optimistic about his chances, it takes but a minute of playtime to see why the critics are absolutely loving it. There’s a certain tranquillity to the listless meanderings of both player and NPC (though that’s a redundant abbreviation in this case), to the point that the game will happily play itself, should you wish to simply unwind and admire.
Everything is available now on console and PC, for around 10 British pounds.