Eat Me

Yep, it's Chandler Groover, all right. Opulent and sinister, rich and heady as arsenic-laced Bordeaux. Groover's pulled out all the stops on this one, for better or for worse ... and I kind of wonder if it's meant to be a personal challenge. I know I described Groover last year as like "partaking of some everlasting, continuous feast ... a sense of decadence, of something delectable made from organ meat and fat." This is like that, but much, much more so.

And literally so, as the story is framed as a sort of living feast with six courses that must be consumed before the final denouement. We begin as a child prisoner in a dungeon cell, but our manacles are of cocoa. Eat them, get out, and discover that everything is edible. The narrative voice encourages us, eggs us on with cloyingly sweet endearments that telegraph more efficiently than any Lovecraftian prose that this person quite probably does not actually have our best interests at heart.

For all its candy-striped framing, this is definitely a horror story. Some of the imagery is in fact the stuff of nightmares, and some of our actions are ... well, kind of gross. That's part of the horror, I think: we've been reduced to a single function, and that is what makes us monstrous. And that's without considering that much of what we eat is still living: animated characters that don't particularly want to be eaten. The act of eating a character must often be repeated two or three times before the character can be completely consumed, as if to ensure our complicity or to draw out the experience. And the narrative voice eggs us on with purple prose, rising to something disturbingly orgasmic on the final bite....

I'm not sure that this isn't meant to be a sexual experience. Certainly it's a sensual one. Imagine, for a moment, that the Deadly Sin under examination were not gluttony, but lust: The tone makes it a very easy jump from one to the other, and I believe it to be intentional.

I should take a moment out to talk about the puzzle/game design. I found it really interesting how the solution of various main puzzles would result in concrete changes to the map: routes get closed off, and in at least one case, the solution to another puzzle must now be approached from a different direction. That sort of thing is pretty easy to get wrong, but Groover's clearly a pro. From a story standpoint, it's also interesting to see how the castle setting deteriorates and collapses as a result of our progress.

As a breakfast ... oh, it's too much, too much. Belgian waffles, crisp and golden, generously topped with whipped cream and maple syrup; black pudding swimming in sausage gravy; eggs, fried sunny-side-up in lard, the yolks ready to burst. French vanilla coffee with 35% cream. All very rich, very heavy, very likely to play havoc with your digestion before you're even done.