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Summit

by Phantom Williams profile

Surreal
2015

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Number of Reviews: 4
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A surreal adventure, and metaphors about life, November 22, 2015
Summit takes you on a surreal, dreamlike journey. You play as someone who is unsatisfied with their placein life, and goes on a journey toward an unreachable summit. There is a legend that if you are able to reach the top of the peak, you can attain anything -- including immortality. But no matter how far you travel, you never seem to get any closer to your goal.

Instead, you spend some time traveling through various strange lands, meeting various strange people, and you have the option to stay and enrich the lives of those people, and have them enrich yours, or to move on with your journey.

Summit is full of symbolism, the most obvious and unique of which is the idea of the "fish stomach." Essentially, everyone in this world has a stomach full of live fish. If you vomit up a fish and eat it, the result is ecstatic, possibly orgasmic -- but the fish will travel through your body, nibbling at your organs, and eventually kill you. On the other hand, if you abstain from eating the fish, your fishstomach will eventually burst and you will die of fish rot.

As a metaphor, this really worked for me. It seems like a memory for nothing less than life itself. No matter what you do, you will eventually die. But you can hasten that death, or ward it off, and sometimes avoiding death also means missing out on life. So like the decision of eating a fish in Summit, life is often about finding that balance between risk and safety, indulgence and restraint. And I thought the fish thing was such an incredibly evocative way to portray that, with enough nuance to avoid bashing you over the head with themes.

And of course, the "life" metaphor is woven through other things, as well, like the aspirational nature of the summit, that nagging dissatisfaction you feel when you should be content, the way you give up on good things when you're searching for something better that you may never find.

Playing this when I did, it definitely resonated with me on a personal level. I will say it felt like it ran on a little long; not that the game itself needs to be shorter, but that it's probably better digested in smaller chunks rather than tackled all at once. But for an otherwise incredibly evocative game, that's a pretty small complaint.