a portfolio of videogame writings
Imagine you are a particle travelling through the Large Hadron Collider, how would the world appear to you? That is the question Shaun McGrath poses with Dyad, a synesthetic tube-racing puzzler. The answer, it would seem, is like gliding at warp speed through a never-ending display of fireworks, observed through a kaleidoscope.
Dyad is experiential; the kind of videogame that looks more like a hyperactive music visualizer to the outside observer, as its principles and mechanics are difficult to discern through observation. They are easily conveyed, however, through touch and feel, as smooth simple movements form the basis of play. In this respect it’s reminiscent of Rez or Space Giraffe, but there’s a feeling of those F-Zero style tube races when spiralling around each tunnel.
‘Hooking’ is your particle’s primary means of propulsion, allowing you to latch onto distant stationary enemies and accelerate towards them. Hooking two of the same colour gives you an even greater boost, and is an essential skill in meeting time constraints and other objectives. ‘Grazing’ through the highlighted ring of a hooked particle builds energy in one of two ‘lancing’ meters, which, when full, allow you to perform a quick invincible speed boost through as many enemies as possible.