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GRIS—Exploring Grief Through Game Design

Wed, 05/12/2021 - 3:52pm by ivanamalia

GRIS cover art depicting the main character, a  close up of a young girl with short, blue hair, eyes closed, and a tear trailing down her right cheek.GRIS is a single-player adventure game created by Spanish developer, Nomada Studios. Widely regarded as one of the best independent games released in 2018, GRIS' story and artistic impact have become increasingly relevant in light of some hardships of the last year.

GRIS follows the journey of a girl navigating loss in a cold and lonely achromatic world. Colors, sound, and mobility are stripped away from the first second in the game, and the player is, quite literally, thrown into the world with little to no instruction. It immediately evokes a feeling of confusion as you try to understand how to control your character and what exactly your purpose is in order to progress through the game. 

As you explore, you are met with a range of puzzles, obstacles, antagonists, and friends as you slowly bring color and life back into your world. Visual, auditory, and gameplay elements are introduced and stripped away again, representing grief as a process of ebb and flow, of progress and relapse.

I highly recommend anyone interested in interactive storytelling to give GRIS a try and exploring how to similarly use design as a storytelling tool by checking out Interactive Stories and Video Game Art by Chris Solarski.


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