“Welcome to an existential nightmare, one that doesn't gain much clarity from Mountain's own creator,” Klepek(2014) The Madness of David O'Reilly's Mountain.
Mountain is a toy-like game where the player is able to just barely interact with their mountain in a way that they can feel like they are still playing a game and have some ownership over what happens to it. In the game you are able to reach your dreams of becoming a Mountain, through experiencing the weather, seasons, life growing and dying, and some objects appear. The player has no control over the Mountain, but the game is still considered interactive, in a very relaxing way. “Mountain has just enough interactivity to suggest the player can be part of the Mountain experience beyond the singular act of watching stuff occasionally happen to a Mountain,” Klepek(2014) The Madness of David O'Reilly's Mountain. The game starts with sets of questions and statements, and commands like asking the gamer to draw what fear or privacy is. After a few moments of being patient, the Mountain will generate and the gamer can watch this mass floating in space. The mountain will share different phrases throughout your experience, like "Welcome to Mountain, you are mountain, you are god," "Hey it's me," or insightful comments about the weather. The Mountain will slowly spin on the screen while you have the ability to zoom in and out till it is a small mound in the middle of space, and change perspective of the mountain. The game is very adamant that gamer has no control over the mountain; but the gamer is able to play different music and melodies at changing speeds; it is unknown if this has an effect on the mountain, though many players choose to believe that it does.
Many video games give players a sense of god-like power; they have the ability to create and destroy. Mountain also has a god-like feel to it, but in the deism belief, that there is a god but he just lets humans exist and will not interfere in their lives. “That makes us the inhabitants of a theological snow globe,” Cox. God Mode Enabled: A Review Of David O’reilly’s Mountain. It is not clear what the true meaning behind Mountain is, but it gives people the ability to reflect on their own control as well as gaming in general. A major element of the game is that the gamer needs to slow down and reflect. Many games are filled with endless action and surprises, but Mountains' interactions are minimal and still maintain a peaceful environment. The gamers that enjoy Mountain the most are the ones who accept it for what it is.
Though there are major differences between the animations of the games, I find some similarities between Mountain and Temperance by Josh Fishburn. In Temperance, the player has control over a tiny ball that moves throughout the screen and causes reactions from the background. Both pieces play with a changing ecosystem and balance while not giving the player an overt amount of control. The pieces also use the idea that there is no true way to win; instead you are just along for the ride.
David O’Reilly is new to Game Art, but his themes in Mountain are similar to those in his other works. The External World is an animation, and similar to Mountain, the controller or god-like figure of the animation is very unclear. There may seem to be “an order” for a short period of time, but then the scene will drastically change; a piece of poop will birth more poop than try to eat it, and people will reflect the deeper meaning in their life. The film will force the viewer to reflect on the world and meanings around them. Mountain accomplishes this as well, it gives the gamer room to think about how much control they have over their life, and how much control they need.
Mountain is a very different game than most others. No longer do games need to be only about beating others and being the last one to survive. It embraces the idea that it is also important to calm down, watch, and realize that one's impact in the world may not be as great as imagined and that is just fine. Mountain is almost a step back in terms of gaming; it is no longer about getting the highest ranking or improving your score, but being able to enjoy the combination of randomness and order.