For lack of a better word, it’s called a “game.” But it’s less than that. More like an animated painting. But more than that.
“Mountain.” That’s the name. That’s all there is to it. It’s from David O’Reilly, if that name means anything to you. It meant nothing to me. Other reviewers seem to think he’s a big deal, a filmmaker who describes his game as a “Mountain simulator, relax em’ up, art horror” type game. Make of that what you will.
You start the game, create two or three drawings in response to prompts, and your mountain appears. (My prompts included “friendship” and “children.”) The drawings somehow determine the details of your mountain, but in general it will be a conical shape floating in space. After that, you just watch it rotate and evolve. Night and day. Seasons. Weather. Swirling clouds. It’s your own little virtual ecosphere.
If you zoom in, you’ll hear wind and, sometimes, rain. At night you’ll hear crickets and see fireflies in the trees. Tilt your mountain if you like. Zoom way out and you’ll see your mountain floating in deep space. The sound will change to that of the cosmos.
Parts of your keyboard become piano keys, and the sounds produced will change according to your perspective. The tones in deep space are hypnotic, mystical.
Brief messages will appear at the top of the screen, with tones announcing their arrival. Cryptic. Philosophical. The mountain speaking? You can elicit more with some of your keys, or just wait for them.
Occasionally random objects fly in from space and embed themselves in your mountain. At some point last night a Jeep-like vehicle crashed nose first into my mountain. And then a sailboat. And a park bench. No explanations offered. And now, mysteriously, some cosmic recycler has removed the Jeep.
Leave your mountain in the background and go about your other work; you’ll have the soothing sound of wind, rain, or perhaps the cosmos, in the background. Of course, you might miss something. The icon in the upper right corner opens the menu for pause, save, and audio on/off.
Reportedly the game runs about 50 hours and will autosave. One report said some really “weird” things started happening in the latter stages. More weird than Jeeps and sailboats from outer space? Hmm …
That’s about it. It’s a strangely relaxing thing, my mountain. Like meditating. But then, I’ve always felt like that in the mountains. Get your own Mountain.