MISHAWAKA – Nintendo’s release of the non-titular goose in, “Untitled Goose Game,” has players flocking to their Nintendo Switches.
The goose simulator that no one was asking for, nor expecting, but that everyone is deeply grateful for, was released on Sept. 20, 2019. After a relatively low-key release, the game took flight in popularity, appearing on YouTube, in dozens of game journals, and, the hallmark of ubiquity, in countless memes online. The game follows the player, a goose, as it terrorizes a bunch of laughably oblivious and sometimes unrealistically suspicious townsfolk. Honestly, I wish there was more to say about it to pad out this paragraph, but the in-game story is about as bare-bones as the art style.
“Untitled Goose Game” begins in the same way all works of art do: with a button prompt to honk. After bursting forth from a shrub, and taking a few tentative steps around a clearing, the goose sprints off to cause unconscionable terror among the innocent denizens of a town as unnamed as the game itself. The player is allowed all the necessary components of goose behavior to carry out their sinister machinations. The goose can honk, flap its wings, run, grab objects with its beak, swim, and, of course, duck. The opening stage of the game involves bringing a host of inconveniences upon a poor gardener. The player must, through increasingly convoluted means, cause all manner of harm and mild annoyance, like stealing the groundskeeper’s keys, hat, and trowel; dousing the groundskeeper with a sprinkler; and relocating his garden rake to the bottom of a nearby pond. Now, watching people chase after a goose at a comically slow pace, compounded with the improbable coordination of this bird, is some of the purest slapstick comedy, on par with Tom & Jerry.
Now, some of these citizens, confoundingly, don’t take kindly to your feathery skullduggery. The goose’s actions will be made much more difficult if a person spots them, especially the current target. For example, if the groundskeeper notices you in the garden during your attempt to purloin any number of his possessions, he will chase you out. In another level, a child, to whom interfering with is mission-critical, runs from the goose in fear. These NPC’s (Non-Player Characters) would not be much of a problem if they were not marginally faster than you, a two-and-a-half-foot-tall goose. The anticlimactic nature of a slow-paced chase, however, only adds to the game’s spectacular humor.
“Untitled Goose Game” is a honk of a good time for all involved. The player is given a gaggle of levels to play through, though some might get your goose if your attitude gets too fowl. Feel free to call me a quack if you disagree.