If you’ve ever played Dyad, Proteus, or Panoramical, you’ve heard David Kanaga’s work before. He’s one of the smartest people in game design and his latest work, Oikospiel, is his most mind-scrambling creation yet.
Book I of the game was released late last week alongside a trailer that left me as intrigued as I was bewildered.
The late 90s computer generated visuals and Beast Wars vibe hooked me immediately, even if the game itself is more Bertolt Brecht than Transformers. I could try to summarize Kanaga’s explanation of the game’s premise, but somehow I think that would only confuse matters further. Of Oikospiel he writes,
“The Oikospielen Opera is developing an epic global-gaming festival called THE GEOSPIEL, scheduled for the year 2100. The opera’s employees, organized by the Union of Animal Workers, are trying to integrate the game dev dogs of Koch Games into their group, but these loyal pups love their jobs and boss Donkey Koch too much! Will there be Unity and community, or will Multiplicity and individuality prevail? Money has awakened— Pluto has captured the spirit of Orpheus, and Eurydice is lead composer in this operatic RE-FORM of the Adventure Game genre.”
Kanaga began working on the game in late 2014 and began by playing off the strange connections between how we use words now and what they originally meant. Opera is Italian for “work,” spiel is German for “to play,” and oikos is Greek for “household.” As a result, Oikospiel is intended as an interactive meditation on the relationship between these concepts and how they affect us.