There he hung, that little boy, motionless, spikes protruding from his entire being. He had failed in his mission to rescue his sister. Or had he?
Limbo is a fascinating game. It takes the notion of unrequited love and expands it into a cycle of ceaseless agony. Not once does our protagonist waver from his journey, however. His dedication, through thick and thin, is representative of a remarkable person, one who won’t stop until he has saved his nearest and dearest. Where isolation and loneliness dictate a story born of utmost cruelty, this single, miniature character perseveres where stronger men would ultimately flounder and fail.
The inherent idea of love in gaming is an intriguing premise. One could say that our immersion and interactivity presents almost a skewed loving stance for a character, as, for a momentary existence, we are them and they are we. Nevertheless, there are certainly arguments for love’s impact being multi-faceted. Where we fall in love with a kooky personality on the screen, they fall in love with another in-game, and perhaps in the process we fall in love with the mere, poignancy of being able to render a co-operative mission so very personal. There has always been a versatility to gaming and certainly, insofar as love goes, it’s clear that the buck hasn’t stopped short here.
If you ask any number of people, they would proffer that my favourite game is Limbo. It isn’t; that honourable award falls at the feet of Kula World, but where Limbo becomes so invaluable to myself and others is the lessons that it teaches. Dependant on your view of the game, there could be a multitude of varying avenues of analysis, but ultimately, this indie gem delivers such an emotional wallop that it’s hard not to associate it with that ever-present notion of kindred love. Perhaps because it paints such a bleak picture, that the idea of carrying on to try and save someone is elevated beyond just a beautiful scenario. Limbo portrays the very nature of love: it’s not easy, it’s often tough as hell, but with the willingness to search for a solution, regardless of if you find it or not, you can often determine the very nature of love as something entirely individual and personal.
Ironically enough, Limbo composes its rendition of a loving relationship as anything but black and white. It might meet the same determinants as other video games in that it is one character trying to save another, but it truly teaches that finding and maintaining that sense of love, or semblance for the cynics, can bring about devastating periods where there seems like there’s no respite. If the little boy in Limbo can teach us anything about love for another though, it’s that underneath the superficial frills and bells of romance, true love resides in a place that requires you to constantly and repeatedly fight to conserve it.
It might sound a little corny, especially when you’ve seen it plastered all over MTV channels, masquerading as sound from Cheryl Cole’s perfectly plumped lips, but you do indeed have to fight for love. If it was as simple as looking at that spectacular man or woman across the street, then we’d probably all be doing remarkably well. The distinction between some shallow words and this wonderfully woven metaphorical tale, however, is that the reasons and actions for wanting to save a loved one and look to protect them are entirely selfless. He knows he loves his sister, and he is willing to travel to the ends of the world, and possibly further, in order to restore their emphatically heartening affinity.
So, as Valentine’s Day has done, as it approaches again next year, and people profess their love for family and friends, just remember there was a little boy in a video game, of all places, who represented everything that love should stand for: responsibility, perseverance, compassion and motivation to make a relationship succeed at any cost.
So, as the little boy was reborn whole again, he didn’t give up, he didn’t waver from his mission, he continued along the same path, focussed and resolved to find his sister, a sister that he would continue to love dearly for time eternal.