Why you should “subject yourself” to this free game about testing a smoke alarm

Why you should “subject yourself” to this free game about testing a smoke alarm

Everything is Fine is an absurdist browser game that tasks players with testing a smoke alarm through eight “ear-piercing” levels, but even its creator admits that it’s “not necessarily fun to play”.

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Available to play here, Everything is Fine starts simply, with a finger hovering under a smoke alarm. As soon as you begin the test, the finger begins waving across the screen, and each timed level becomes increasingly absurd – you’ll battle volume controls and sprinklers, all while the alarm beeps loudly in your ear.

The game was made by artist and creative director Rajeev Basu, who acknowledges that Everything Is Fine is “less a game you play, more something that you subject yourself to”.

As for why Basu made a game about testing a smoke alarm, Basu told NME that he likes ideas that have a “weird tension” to them.

“For this game, I tried to think of a theme that nobody would have any interest in playing, and then tried to make a game about it,” Basu explained. “But one they might actually want to play. Maybe purely because it exists for some reason… And that in itself is compelling enough.”

He compares the goal of Everything Is Fine to one of his past games, 2013’s Waiting In Line 3D – which is exactly what it sounds like. “They’re both like little social experiments you put out into the world to see what happens.”

“Most people play games to be entertained,” said Basu. “But the biggest and best titles often focus on similar themes and formats repackaged in different ways.”

“Everything is Fine questions the very nature of ‘being entertained’ by a game,” he continued. “It’s not necessarily fun to play, nor does it have a captivating storyline. The entertainment comes from the idea of it, and the sheer fact that it exists for some reason. The fun comes from however you choose to interact with the idea. Whether you hate it and never want to see it, interact with it for a second, or for some reason play it until the end.”

Everything Is Fine. Credit: Rajeev Basu.

This was the first game that Basu has made as a completely solo project, including the design and coding. As a result, the “retro Spectrum-style aesthetic” of Everything Is Fine was born partly out of Basu’s own technological limitations.

“As the game came together it oddly felt like something that might have existed in the ’90s though I’m not sure why,” shared Basu. “Perhaps as a freebie from a smoke alarm company that thought it would be a good promo piece for some reason. It’s why I also made the [above] ’90s-style poster ad for the game. The game feels like it exists in its own world.”

It’s been an interesting year for the games industry’s stranger projects. Back in March, art collective MSCHF released a visual novel dating game that does your taxes, the same month that a Doom modder managed to make a map inspired by Mark Z. Danielewski’s strange horror House Of Leaves.

The post Why you should “subject yourself” to this free game about testing a smoke alarm appeared first on NME.

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