GAMES ARE ART
A healing journey
GRIS’ thought-provoking story about grief is as beautiful as it is inspiring.
Loss and grief are an unavoidable part of life and feelings that we can universally relate to.
While it’s easy to turn away from challenging emotions, GRIS confronts them head-on. At the core of the game’s narrative is a girl reeling in the wake of losing someone she cherished. And though the sense of despair and mourning she is blanketed by is palpable from the beginning, the story evolves to a more hopeful place where she finds the courage to reach acceptance.
GRIS is serene in its atmosphere and features beautiful hand-drawn artwork from artist Conrad Roset, along with emotive graphics and a soul-stirring soundtrack.
Roger Mendoza and Adrián Cuevas of Nomada Studio were so inspired by Roset’s watercolour-style creations that they decided to make a game together that featured his designs. “The three of us understood what it meant to lose someone close and we knew the heartbreak that followed. Be they family or friends, losing loved ones strikes something deep within the heart. We wanted to create a game that dealt with that pain,” says Mendoza.
And that led to GRIS and its evocative artful journey through the five stages of grief, all of which are explored through the symbolic use of colours.
Denial in black and white
In shock and pain, her initial denial of reality is presented in bleak black and white tones. These early stages in the game brilliantly encapsulate the helplessness she feels and the lack of energy she has left to support her wellbeing.
Anger in red
Anger seethes and swirls in red as an intense sandstorm blows in and the girl begins to destroy objects around her in rage. That rage is represented by bloodlike crimson colours and the tormented statues she passes seem to represent her anguish.
Bargaining in green
Deep in the lush greens of the forest, the realisation that reality is not something she can escape – no matter how far or fast she runs – begins to dawn on her. The crushing weight of sorrow manifests itself in the form of a giant monster that she must face up to in order to move forward.
Depressed in blue
The reality that she cannot change what’s happened causes a wave of depression to wash over her. But there is a turning point when she defies the urge to give up and, fragile though she is, she finds the strength to persevere.
Acceptance in yellow
As her resolve strengthens, she overthrows the chains of sorrow to follow a golden path to recovery. Upon facing up to and accepting her feelings, her heartache begins to subside.
This continual flow between different colours makes for a powerful visual journey through the complexities of grief. And while emotions like sorrow, depression and loss are not particularly common themes in games, GRIS melds them so delicately that players will be profoundly affected by this immersive and emotional gaming experience.
“Everyone in life faces these trials,” says Mendoza. “I think it’s a net positive that there are more diverse games that touch on these themes.”
In fact, some of the game’s players even reached out to share how the game helped them to deal with their own difficulties and gain a sense of closure to painful past experiences.
“If our game helps someone with their suffering, then we’re satisfied. So we hope you feel comfortable playing this game and enjoy it at your own pace.”