It’s true, without a doubt, that video games are an art form. Games can stir up feelings that might not even come up from a piece of fine art or a tear-jerking movie. Works like Final Fantasy VII and Spec Ops: The Line showcase these perfectly. Sure, you have those types of games. And then you have stuff like Donut County. This game is weird. And I mean like really weird. And it should absolutely be on your gaming radar.
Note: I notice that I cover a lot of “weird” games in this series, like this one and Golf Story. I’m not sure what to make of this, but it’s an observation nonetheless.
Games to Watch For: Donut County
Like I said, this game is pretty odd to say the absolutely least. But before we get to that, let’s get some background on this game. First off, it’s all being made by one guy. Ben Esposito is just coding, drawing, and creating this game in his free time. That’s right folks, it’s not even his job. But how does one even get inspiration for something like this?’
Back in 2012, a Twitter account known as @petermolydeux posted a tweet that said, “You play as a hole in the ground. That’s it.” Developer Ben Esposito saw that tweet, and ran with it. That was the entire basis for Donut County, a game where you, well, play as a hole in the ground. And yeah, that’s it.
The “gameplay” really closely resembles a physics toy, more than actual gameplay. But you know what? That isn’t bad. Rather, it’s incredibly satisfying to just go around as a hole and just make things fall down it. This is compounded by the fact that every time something goes down the hole, the hole grows. Think Katamari Damacy, but backwards.
The story, as far as most indie games that function as physics toys go, is just about par for the course. That is to say, there is not a whole lot of story here. What story there is, again, is just super out there and weird. The main plot of this game, if you want to call it that, is as follows.
There is a hole in the ground in a small town on the outskirts of Los Angeles. This hole is, apparently, sentient, and has the ability to move around. Canonically, this hole is about 900 feet deep (about 274 meters for our metric readers). When people are swallowed into the hole, they start to form small sects and begin to wonder what brought them there, and where they really are. Again, the story is offbeat, but the unsettling and sometimes even off-putting tone that this game gives off is awesome.
That Special Something: Mindless. Satisfying. Fun.
Nowadays, a lot of video games are really concerned with taking themselves super seriously. While that isn’t always a bad thing (Metal Gear Solid tends to pull it off really well), sometimes you just need a break. And that break comes in the form of Donut County. This game is the absolute definition of mindless satisfying fun. And that’s what video games are meant to be; fun.
Full disclosure, I have not played a demo of this game, or anything like that. However, I find myself watching videos of gameplay whenever I can. There is something so charming about this game’s nature that is just oh, so hard to resist. With everything from its adorable “animals on a moped” mascot theme, to the game’s general aesthetic, it’s just so pleasing to watch. A game like this simply cannot take itself seriously, even a little bit. Donut County knows that, and they embrace it to the fullest capacity that they can. It’s just a quick little romp through the surreal, and it knows that.
Why You Should Be Looking Forward To It
This is one of those games that needs some loving. With such an odd and novel concept, this might be a title that some people shy away from when it comes out. Additionally, Esposito has stated that this game will be a short one; about an hour long. But again, this is a game that encapsulates the original definition of video games themselves. That is, creative, mindless, fun. As stated before, this game needs some loving to become the hit that it deserves to be. So, why not be grateful for Ben Esposito’s work and pick up Donut County in 2018? This title absolutely deserves, without a doubt, to be on your watch list.