Life is Like a Store Full of Violent, Exploding Fruit

A VR game about shooting evil fruit while working the checkout counter at a grocery manages to capture the frantic nature of modern life.

Written by Kevin Schut / Published on January 16, 2018

Mama always told me life is like a store full of exploding fruit. You never know what kind of murderous, psychopathic produce will drop down out of the air vent and assault you. Sometimes, it’s just a common hopping mad green apple—the kind of problem you can dispatch with nothing more than light weapons. Sometimes it’s a weird and surprisingly difficult-to-deal-with spinning banana. And sometimes, it’s a terrifying giant watermelon ominously rolling straight at you as you attempt to blast it away with whatever big guns you can find.

"… we often hunker down, guns a-blazing, as we face down a surreal avalanche of problems."
Yes, Shooty Fruity, a VR game from UK developer nDreams, is really the perfect metaphor for life. The game positions you as a minimum wage worker behind a counter, bagging groceries or filling cafeteria trays. Oh, and there’s a string of guns moving past you that you can grab at any time. That turns out to be handy, because for some unexplained reason, giant mutant fruit are angry (would we expect them to be any other way?) and they’re coming for human flesh. Or at least, they’re coming to repeatedly bounce off the counter and break the cash register.

As I was frantically scanning milk cartons in between blasting evilly grinning raspberries, I really felt the game captured the life of the modern person. We’re constantly bombarded, constantly under pressure, whether it be by little, but constant pressures like advertising or the clamor of social media, or under assault by big, life-changing decisions or tragedies. I think we often hunker down, guns a-blazing, as we face down a surreal avalanche of problems.

But there is joy in overcoming. In Shooty Fruity, success is a delightful mess. The bigger the fruit, the more rapturous the cascade of juice when the foe explodes, splattering the counter and gloves and guns and the jumbled up pile of unscanned grocery products. By the time a level is done, and the sardonic narrator evaluates our performance, the once-spotless store is littered with the remains of violent limes and cracker boxes thrown higgledy-piggledy all over the place. I ended each firefight with a feeling of chaotic relief.

So next time the psychotic fruits of life have got you under siege, remember to fight through it. Being covered with juice is worth it.

About the Author:

Kevin Schut is professor and chair of the department of media and communication at Trinity Western University and author of Of Games & God.