This is my experience with the game. This is what stood out to me. Please, don’t read on unless you’ve experienced it for yourself – it’s something that pulls at the way you think about games and the way you think about yourself. You’ll only be able to experience it for the first time once. Let that first time be through your own eyes.
This level struck a massive creative chord with me. Suddenly a whole new world of level design began tossing around in my mind. Writing on the walls that could only be seen when the player turns around and goes back. That you can change a game space so fundamentally with such a small restriction.
I saw Coda’s games as an art form. I was repulsed when Davey became concerned by Coda’s experimentation with the prison space. Davey began insisting that Coda needed help, that he was heading deeper and deeper into a dark place. But the stranger the spaces became, the more intrigued I was – I was mesmerized by the way Coda pushed boundaries. Where Davey saw an isolated and deteriorating sense of self, I saw a vibrant and experimental mind. But perhaps that’s just me doing the same thing I detested Davey for doing – using conjecture and self-reflection as a stand-in for understanding the mind behind the game.
> THE MACHINE
I don’t make games, but I am a “creator.” I make art. This is Coda’s reflection on living as a creative person. Though their more destructive games were somewhat of a caricature of the reality, the message was clear: Eventually, you will become a machine. You will pump out content to please other people, and it will destroy you.
Like I said, a caricature. But that doesn’t mean there are no elements of truth in it. Traversing the creative sphere as a content producer is tough and it can be thankless. Sometimes you stop enjoying what you produce, but you keep producing because it’s what you do. It’s what people expect you to do. Coda offers no solution. No solace. No silver linings.
That’s not the whole truth. But it’s a truth, and it’s one that a creative person will stumble upon at some point in their growth. I think overcoming that is where the real rewards lie.
> FINAL NOTES
So I’ve finished the game. The credits are rolling, and I’m feeling a lot of things. Let’s take a look at what just happened.
I remember feeling thought in the peripheries of my consciousness somewhere along the line – should I even be playing these games? Were these games ever meant to be played? But I ignored these thoughts, because this is a game nonetheless, and playing games is what you do. And that’s exactly what the game banks on.
By the end, I felt betrayed – I was complicit. There was none of Coda in this game. None that I had any right to know about or speculate upon, at least. I had become part of Davey’s voyeuristic, self-serving fantasy. I had bought into his “examination” of a person he didn’t know, a person who didn’t want to know him, and discovered that the only valuable commentary Davey was able to give was that of himself.
Maybe that’s the lesson here. Maybe we should all be more aware of the lens of our own experience that we see the world through.