In a world where games are only meant to be pointless fun, Alec Holowka is a fearless revolutionary. In a sea of Pong, Tennis for Two, Arkanoid and Breakout, .flesh. especially stands out.
From the very moment when the game starts, it is evident that this is not just another Mario Brothers clone like every single Personal Computer game currently on the market. The many shades of pink in the title screen may seem purely aesthetic, but as further analysis is made, the player realizes they symbolize the physical presence of women on the planet - equivalent to roughly fifty percent of the human population.
This becomes even clearer when the game starts - two carefully photographed (or drawn? Alec purposely makes this a very intelligent incognito, representing the questionable division between reality and a social utopia) green-colored human nipples show up on the screen. While this coloration may at first seem unexpected and weird, a conscious and self-aware enough player will notice it is an analogy to the role of women in the modern society - unexpected and weird to be important.
The background, too, has a deep sociocritical meaning. It is a chaotic spinning series of lines, vaguely resembling brush strokes. Upon further inspection, however, these lines reveal themselves to be accurate depictions of blood vessels located in one's heart. These vessels are obvious analogies to every person's regret, asking the player "are you really content with the world you live in?".
As the player clicks the nipples, they progressively turn skin-colored, then to a very bright shade of red. This illustrates the natural human instinct of taking advantage of anyone - even their mothers, here symbolized as the nipples - in any possible way. If the player proceeds with the clicking even after the nipples are red, the background turns green - a suddenly made weird and unexpected environment, like the planet nowadays -, the screen fades to black and the player hears a dying moan of agony or ecstasy: this is a clever metaphor for the end of capitalism and the world as we know it, which will collapse after we take everything we can from our planet, society, friends and mothers.
Finally, .flesh.'s title is thought-provoking by itself. Surrounded by periods, or different conclusions to the human history and very existence, our flesh stands strong, maybe able to overcome all of those challenges and flaws, maybe not. The entrance of the title on the first screen, made from above, representing the fall of flesh - will, courage, bravure, strength - when compared to the dawn of the human race, hints at a not very optimistic end.
However, the current version of the game is just a preview of what is to come. It would not be surprising if the creator presented, in later stages of development or maybe in the final product, viable solutions to the problems shown and aspects criticized before.
.flesh. is less a game than it is a critic to the repression towards women, our society, our humanity and our existence itself. It is easily comparable to the works of the most renowned artists of the world, ever. In the future, we will certainly see Holowka's works in world-known museums, side to side with those of Da Vinci's and Shakespeare's.
I'll have to try it out.
Maybe not at work though, because of all that social repression jazz that goes on.