You see, every piece of the puzzle is required to complete the scene, while some have rough edges and some smooth, they all have value. Being grateful for each piece is not always easy, but it is necessary. – Greg Dutilly
Gorogoa, a game that revolves around puzzles, is a story about one boy’s life and the hundreds of pieces that are picked up, shifted and fit together to create it. The player is given a box with four spaces that they can use to interact with the “scenes” of the puzzle. You guide the young protagonist as he collects 5 magical items that portray different points in the boy’s future. Each new area of the puzzle catapults the player through history and providence, asking you to do more than just find a piece of the overall picture, but to use reason, and a bit of science, to aide the boy in his journey.
Artist and Creator of Gorogoa, Jason Roberts, has said that the title of the game, and the multicolored, dragon-like creature seen flying in the background throughout the pieces, is a reference to a monster Roberts invented in childhood. The monster follows the game’s main character throughout his life, popping in and out of scenes. It’s always looming in the background, serving as the game’s visual guide.
Unpacking the fragmented pieces of the window-like frame of Goroga lays out meticulous and mechanized illustrations of what we perceive to be the man’s thoughts or dreams. The layers piece together a story: a man pouring over a book about constellations, a boy falling from a precifice, a study’s ceiling crumbling as the world around it groans. Gorogoa’s gameplay not only serves its purpose of providing an interesting way to solve puzzles, but also provides a representation of our own disassembly. Moments in our lives that require shifting and rearranging. Out of place scenes from our past that fit perfectly with the pieces of our present.
There’s a familiarity to the game that, I believe, goes beyond puzzle-solving. I like to think it’s because it reminds us of how, our entire lives, we try to piece together the world around us and our place in it. Sure, there are times where the scenes that are jumbled in front of us are bleak, baffling or hard, but, oh, the satisfaction of hearing that soft “click” once the pieces connect together and as, slowly, the masterpiece is revealed. Gorogoa shows us that no matter the difficulty level, a puzzle is always worth solving and that the beautiful details of a life can always be revealed with help, ingenuity and a little hard work.