A morning with Proteus

I didn’t intend to make this a series. Yesterday, I was unexpectedly awake before I needed to be, several hours before in fact, and thought I would finally play Bientôt l’été. I had been waiting for the right moment and, with it being 4 AM, thought the quiet of the morning would be the best time for something I knew would need time for reflection and meditation on the experience and my own perceived narrative. The effect of that morning though, something I don’t have too often anyway, meant I fell asleep early last night and thus was up again early today. Knowing that I would be discussing Proteus soon anyway, and wanting to confirm the time span I guessed at the other day, I thought I would revisit the game through the improved Steam version.

It didn’t disappoint. On what I think is my fourth or fifth time playing the game, it still managed to delight me in small moments. I laughed at times and enjoyed the often silly animal interactions even though I had seen most of them before. While the island was now a known quantity to me, having seen different versions and even talked to its designer about it, the combinations were new and the journey was still worthwhile.

The recording this time, the knowing I was recording, helped drive how I moved and what I did in the session too. Knowing others would see what I looked at in the game drove me to seek out certain interactions and incorporate various sights. It became as much of a performance within the virtual as it was a material one with me trying to shape an experience for others to later watch. I conscious of the fact that, while was playing the game, I was also directing a camera around a landscape and shaping a visual narrative too.

This becomes much more obvious, at least to me, during moments when the game’s performance was affected by other programs running on my computer. For several minutes, Proteus became incredibly hard to play as my other processes were swapped in memory. While the audio remained consistent, its appears as though movement slowed down and then sped up again. After considering stopping the recording, I finally decided not to as I thought it worked toward the sometimes surreal nature of the game. It was just another part of the overall narrative of the session.