«[I] doesn’t exist» breathes new life into the text adventure genre with modern visuals, a clever narrative concept and technological sophistication. Employing direct commands as well as interpersonal conversation, the relationship between avatar and player forms the centre of the game experience.
In the game, players take control of the avatar, finding themselves in a dreamy woodland setting. There, they need to combine objects in order to open a door in the middle of the wood. To do this, they have to send keyboard-based commands to the avatar. These are carried out without objection – until the avatar has had enough. After a while, its own character comes to the fore as it seeks to engage in conversation with the users. A shocking truth about control and isolation reveals itself, making the players question their actions. How it will all end is entirely dependent on the players.
«I see myself in the future wherever an interface between man and machine - and fun - is needed.» – Anna-Lena Pontet
In the game's first few moments, «[I] doesn’t exist» feels like a leap back in time to the 1970s: players are greeted by neon green script, an unmistakeable genre signifier of early text adventures which could only be navigated by text input. Soon, the textual aesthetic is complemented by the next reference – a side-scrolling adventure in pixel graphics. A complete break then occurs between levels, at the transition into the second act, when the game starts to address the players directly. A conversation AI was embedded in the programme code, meaning that the game disagrees, makes its own suggestions and apparently prefers to talk to the players rather than being played. This culminates in the third act when a fairly self-assured game once again changes its aesthetic and presents itself in three-dimensional real-time rendering. Players experience a puzzle-based, wild ride through text entry, screen aesthetics, technological references and AI conversations which raise philosophical questions about the relationship between humans and computers.
«[I] doesn’t exist» is a game about games. It revives the well-known text adventure genre with modern visuals, a clear narrative concept and refined technology, but it also grows far beyond this format – centered thematically around a self-empowered intelligence, it points to a future in which completely new game developments are possible, while also raising key social and technological-philosophical questions. This game is a strong example of innovative, intelligent and mature game design which pushes the boundaries of existing conventions and formats. It is also enormously entertaining.
Jonas Füllemann & Paul Schmidt (music and sound design)
«I see myself in a small indie studio designing creative and innovative games.» – Luzia Hüttenmoser
Following my A-levels at St.Gallen, I completed a 1-year foundation course there as well. During that time, I was able to try out many different fields before eventually focusing on digital arts. I then studied Computer Sciences at ETH Zurich where I first gained programming skills. In the end, I opted for a creative career and will finish my B.A. in Game Design this summer.
I have a multi-faceted background as a designer. After studying Visual Communication, I taught myself many other design skills such as graphics, programming, narrative design and UX. In addition to these solid skills, I have an equally strong desire to inject meaning into my designs. Moving into Game Design was simply the logical next step.