Of course, there’s irony to this, as well, because the whole of Inside is about getting outside, about escaping the facility that is the game you’re playing, and the allegorical game designers seem to be trying to help you do that, even though you’re not actually escaping anything, because it’s all just the game. To escape this—to make it more than a prepubescent meta-snort of postmodernism—you have to broaden your understanding of what escape might mean. If escape means distraction, then Inside fails as art, but if escape means enlarging the boundaries of the self, then it succeeds. In other words, Inside is not about whether the kid, or his sister, is dead or alive at the beginning or the end of the game, it’s about whether you are.
The much remarked-upon narrator of Raymond Carver’s classic short story, “Cathedral,” experiences such a moment as the story climaxes with a blind man helping him draw a church. “My eyes were still closed,” the narrator says. “I was in my house. I knew that. But I didn’t feel like I was inside anything.”
At its most ambitious, Inside aspires to a similar feeling. Escape in art that is not transcendence is cheap, and if you can climb beyond the foolish puzzles and the Easter eggs and the hidden meanings, you can feel, for a moment, that you are not alone on your sofa with your phone, playing a game; rather, you are somewhere else—somewhere grassy, bathed in warmth by a ray of sunlight falling from above.
aw i like this