Hor­ri­ble goose game tops charts

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Sunday Special -

Some­times, when you’ve had a rough day, the best an­swer is to go home, play at be­ing a goose and drop some­one’s sand­wich in a pond.

Or at least, that’s the premise of Un­ti­tled Goose Game, a video game de­vel­oped by four friends at a Mel­bournebase­d stu­dio, which in­volves a goose hell­bent on mildly an­noy­ing res­i­dents of a nice English vil­lage. It has charted an un­likely path to the top of video game charts and spawned memes of avian ter­ror on so­cial me­dia.

With noth­ing at stake — no world to save, no bad­dies to fight — the plea­sure of the game­play comes from both­er­ing towns­folk: chas­ing frightened chil­dren, steal­ing from shop­keep­ers and honk­ing in­ces­santly at peo­ple try­ing to read.

Ja­cob Strasser, one of the cre­ators of the game, said the vil­lage was a nod to the Bri­tish tele­vi­sion pro­grams he and his friends grew up watch­ing, like ‘Brum,’ a chil­dren’s show with a sen­tient vin­tage mo­tor­car.

He and his team at the stu­dio House House loved “the kind of English­ness that seems very proper and prim,” he said, which runs “very counter to the chaotic course of the goose.”

The game, which can be played on the PC, Mac and Nin­tendo Switch, was re­leased on Sept. 20. It quickly rose to No. 2 on the Bri­tish and Amer­i­can Nin­tendo eShop charts, and last week­end, it bumped The Leg­end of Zelda: Link’s Awak­en­ing, which was re­leased on the same day, from the top spot on the Aus­tralian chart.

The idea started as a joke in a mes­sag­ing chan­nel at the stu­dio, when one of the de­vel­op­ers shared a stock im­age of a goose. “Let’s make a game about this,” the de­vel­oper wrote.

“We re­al­ized that peo­ple who live near geese seem to have this dif­fi­cult re­la­tion­ship with them,” Nico Dis­sel­dorp, an­other of the game’s cre­ators, said. “They seem to be a bit afraid of them. Not the same way you’d be scared of a poi­sonous snake,” he said, but more like a “so­cial awk­ward­ness.”

In the game, play­ers put­ter around in the guise of a feath­ery, bot­tom-wig­gling bird, tick­ing off the game’s as­sign­ments, like ‘Make the groundskee­per ham­mer his thumb’ and, ‘Steal a pint glass and drop it in the canal.’ While the vil­lage is imag­i­nary, its build­ings are mod­eled on a real town, although “no one has rec­og­nized it yet,” Strasser said.

Alex Walker, edi­tor of the gam­ing web­site Ko­taku Aus­tralia, said many peo­ple have watched a goose “on a warpath” or been at­tacked by one, adding: “Now you get to do that to other peo­ple. It’s cathar­tic to be the goose.”

AVIAN AD­VEN­TURE: The pop­u­lar game where geese ter­rorise res­i­dents of an English vil­lage is cathar­tic for users

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