I’ve played pass the “red stage” of the game so far and have been greatly enjoying it. Gris, while being similar to a 2D side scrolling plat-former, differs in having 3D aspects of games such as needing to turn around to progress or having scenes with staircases on a different z plane than the original pathway.
If I hadn’t been told prior to playing the game that this game was related to the Kübler-Ross model of the five stages of grief, I would not have found the connection through my first run. However, once aware, it’s quite clear with the different stages, mechanics, and background music choice as the game progresses.
I will use the first colored stage as an example of how this is shown. First the whole background changes to red. This color often relates to extreme or strong emotions, such as excitement or anger. Aside from the visual, the gameplay and sound aspects also connect to this more extreme emotion. The level is filled with high winds that prevents the player from moving in places without cover, and the new ability of turning in to a block allows players to go against that wind or destroy obstacles violently.
My first impression of the game Gris was how beautiful the visual elements were. The visuals were displayed in a watercolor manner that illustrates strong emotions within. At first, I did not understand its control mechanism. Out of my previous experience with gaming and platform games, I instantly went to the arrow keys and the “WASD” keys to move the character. I realized that the only thing I could control was “A” and “D” to move the character left and right.
Soon, I’ve figure out how to jump with the space bar. The game aesthetic continues to develop and unfold into a clearer blueprint. The main character seems to not be able to find colors in the world she lives in, and she is on a quest to bring back the colors to her world. On her journey, she is joined by those tiny “stars” that follows her and gives her abilities.
I seem to have finished the first level and brought back the color red. As this game progresses the visual becomes more impressive with its simplistic yet full-of-detailed hand drawn background. Through the whole level I had barely seen any verbal cues or directions. It was simply the colors and images that conveyed the emotions on me. The character seems to be in grief, and the game “Gris” (as I remembered to be the color grey in Spanish), is trying to bring back colors back to her inner world, filled with greyness, storms, and abandoned buildings. I think the game, until this point, was very powerful in conveying its emotional messages to me. I was fully involved while playing this game and cannot wait to explore more.
The opening scene of this game was a little girl woke up in front of a statue. The background music was really nice. I felt like I was watching a film. As the game started, the main character Gris simply broke and lost her voice. I recalled the similar scenes in the Little Mermaid. Watching her falling down was awful, I thought I could fast forward the falling scene like other games, but I couldn’t. I began moving along with her.
I guess I stepped into the second stage, since the color changed from balck and white to colored red. I assumed we needed to go somewhere to get her voice back. This stage was overwhelmed by sandstorms. I had to hide inside the buildings from time to time. There was nothing else I could do except moving forward. I felt this game is more like a journey of healing, bringing back Gris’s voice, at the same time, adding more color to this world.
Now I gained the ability to jump. There was a scene, as I was sliding down a large hill, the sun behind Gris rising up little by little, such an amazing and beautiful scene. The art style of this game became more complex over time, it was like a hand-painted watercolors.
The following stage was in the theme of green, strong sense of nature. I love the bird tweeting and chirping sounds. She started to gain more ability in this stage of game, and had more interaction with others. Then, the color theme changed to blue. I had a feeling of entering an underwater palace. Little by little, the color blue diminished, everything around started to color in black. I got chased by a dark object. I had no where to go except to follow a yellow light. This was such a long journey.
There were more and more colors. All of sudden, black and white was back. Gris began falling and falling. Floating around, I found the broken statue, the giant hand at the beginning of the game. Those pieces started to reconstruct. Gris found her voice, as she started to sing, the world was awash with vivid colors again.
After I finished this game, I remained silent for short period of time. This is a powerful and beautiful game. This game is about the journey of grief, or in many ways, it could also be a journey of healing and recovery. The ending was so strong, as the statue rising in pieces from the darkness and reforming piece by piece, Gris voice gets louder. The music quality and art style really add strengths to the game, makes it not like a 2D game.
The first object on my desk was this green mask. I wanted to use it for this assignment because it is an interesting necessity in Covid time that I would not have had around me just 7 months ago. I tried thinking of an activity or things that mirror the shape of a mask and realized that the outer curve (when the mask is half folded) looks like it is inflated by air or being flown by strong winds. I then immediately thought of parachuting. The drawing above is only my first try and I am happy with the result. I think my character’s face makes the drawing look more animated.
My first impression of the game was that it had beautiful visual and audio that accompanied the players as they played through the game. I though the game was very successful in expressing ideas with the shifting scenery and style of music as you moved through the different stages.
The game starts off the main character singing, then the world collapsing and her falling down into a colorless world. The girl seems weak in the beginning, but as you progress through the game and collecting little “fragments,” you start learning different abilities and will need to use them to keep progressing and eventually complete the game.
Throughout the game, there are different challenges where you either had to grab “fragments” in a tricky spot or there’s obstacles blocking the way. The player will need to overcome the challenges with simple controls and unlock new stages with the world changing color, representing the different stages of grief. While the game is in the form of a 2D side scrolling plat-former, it does contain elements that are not straight up 2D where players will need to move in both directions to go up or down a path. The side scrolling form of this game represents how people might go through the different stages of grief, but the aspect where players might need to move backwards to progress or collect “secret” fragments shows how the stages are not simply a linear progression, and the girl in this case moves back and forth between them to overcome her challenges.
Beginning: This game got me for a while because there’s no tutorial. I later find that we could either walk to the left or to the right. However, I’m looking for a purpose. What’s the purpose of this game?
Color red: So now I figured out that we could actually jump and go to high and low places instead of walking only in horizontal direction. I was quite surprised when the map took me to a really high building through a series of stairs. It’s interesting to expand the playing experiences to a 3D instead of 2D. I love the color red and some of the scenes are very beautiful in this game. However, the music does sound a little melancholy. I’m guessing we should keep looking for colors? And probably Gris’ memories contained many colors and we’re trying to unlock each color by order???
Color green: Very interesting. I get a sense of how to play this game now. Still, three things that stand out for me are a). probing and searching the map b). color and the art design of different scenes c). music. I have to say the playing experience is wonderful. It is quiet and holy. It makes me feel that this game creates a world for me to explore. Then I quit the game and read the Wikipedia about the five stages of grief. Now everything starts to make sense. The colors in this game would match the five stages, which are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. So I’m in the stage of bargaining.
Color blue: I observe that some colors are intertwined in each section. For example, when I was in the green stage, there was some red. And now, I see mainly blue but also red and green. I’m guessing these are the details that relate to the tiny psychological changes that take place in the minds of ill people. They’re not simply entering the next stage of grief without carrying any that was left from the previous stage with them. In fact, some parts stay with them and keep having an impact on them. Very careful and detailed design here. By the way, Gris can sing! What a great way this is to remind people that singing can heal the wounds of depressed people.
The end: I’m truly fascinated about this game. I definitely feel empathetic in the end when all the pieces of her body come together. This is truly a journey: a long, spiritual, arduous, but meaningful journey. What strikes me is that this game presents to me that people going through these five stages of grief actually would lose abilities to capture color. They feel vulnerable and they’re locked into their inner world. Their minds are closed to even colors, singing; and it is so hard to heal their wounds and help them gradually open their minds and take in these basic elements of life that we, normal healthy people, take for granted.
Reflection–I’m surprised that Gris is only a 2D side-scrolling platformer because I feel like there are plenty of room and spaces almost like a three-dimensional game. In some sense, they make a 2D game not like 2D. There are so many possibilities, so many places to search and explore. We’re almost taking a journey in Gris’ mind palace, and this gaming experience along with the curation of color and music stretches the maximum of a 2D game. And the game Gris is persuading people to be empathetic and understand the inner world of people who are experiencing grief or depression. Their inner mind palaces are actually full of colors, crys, shouts, and beauty.
Gris is about a girl that is lost in her own world. The girl traverses through the different terrains as she battles with the difficulties that impose on her life. The various color schemes in the game highlight the different stages of grief that the girl experiences. Gris is a platform game with a beautiful 2D landscape that is detailed with intricate animation and supplemented with a moving original score. I will be live blogging as I play the game. I hope to capture my emotions and thinking process as I play Gris.
The game opens with the girl, kneeling in the secure palm of a giant hand. I see cracks in the hand; it almost looks like the hand is made up of rocks that were glued together. The cracks and splits of the hand that seems like it’s supposed to be her agent of security could signify her brokenness and loneliness. The opening color scheme is pink. The slow-paced music is accompanied by multiple female vocals that is supposed to represent her voice. But soon, her singing halts. Her voice is lost. Gradually, the cracks in the hands expand and the rock hand falls, as well as the girl. The girl falls down the sky for what seems like an eternity. The cool aspect about platform games is that because everything is 2D, directionality plays a big role in depicting the progress of the game. The girl falling down the sky, the downward movement, is most likely in parallel to her emotions. Her emotions are falling further and further down a deep rabbit hole where it is engulfed by tidal waves of the feelings of grief.
The girl finally touches the ground. She tries to get back on her feet but she struggles after a couple steps. She looks like she has hit rock bottom. She tries to grapple in her emotionally abysmal state. She manages to get on her feet and trudge the white, barren landscape. I feel like the white is supposed to signify the initial emotionless state when you fall into such despair—you don’t actually know how to react and feel because you’re swallowed by so many different emotions at once. The girl then changes her slow walking pace into a run. As a player, I can feel that she desperately wants to get out of her feeling of despair. I finally embark on my journey to trump the complex emotions of grief.
The beginning setting with the white landscape seems to look like a desert. I see desert pyramids in the background. The ground has numerous ruins, again reflecting her emotions. She walks more and more right when she finds that same hand that was in the beginning again. The hand is in the same position but the pieces of rocks are glued back together. The girl walks into the palm of the hand the entire color scheme of white is added with a tint of red. The red could symbolize the second stage of grief, anger.
In this new red phase, the music, so far, is just tranquil piano. However, there are certain parts when the rhythm turns very fast and the entire background is covered by blood-red dust. This may symbolize the short episodes of extreme anger when you fall into grief. The music during these episodes sounds like a combination of high-pitched strings and vocals—the tone of the music is pretty unsettling. During this red phase, the girl has the ability to break the certain surfaces underneath her. When the girl jumps, her dress turns into a solid cube, crushing the loose surface underneath her. This could signify our desire for using physical force when we become enraged. As I am playing more of the game, I can’t stop but appreciate the artistry, the score, and all the sound effects that respond to your movement. Everything is so detailed and feels so meaningful and original. The combination of these 3 things work together to set certain tones. This game truly feels like art.
I think I have reached the end of the red phase. I find that hand again and jump into the palm. The color scheme suddenly changes from red to green. Humongous branches with leaves appear out of nowhere. I slide down the branches like Tarzan. I fall into a red tinted green forest. I hear birds in the background. The ground seems very earthy. The square shaped leaves of the trees morph back and forth into a right triangle. I am walking on the forest floor and I see something following me. It’s like an alive rock figure. It is very cute. Still in the green phase, I am in a massive temple-like structure and suddenly a group of tiny birds morph into a big bird that screeches at me and follows me. It chases me like a predator. In the stages of grief, oftentimes you feel like you are being targeted because so many bad things happen after another. You feel like you are being chased by a predator (maybe it’s a person or maybe it’s just a life force) that is preventing you from escaping your pit hole of grief. I feel like that is what the girl is feeling at this stage. Woah. Suddenly I soar through the sky with the bird in the back. Either my interpretation of the bird is wrong or the game is trying to convey, yes, although it may seem like the people around you are turning against you when you are in grief, they are—unknowingly to you—trying to help you back up. I think the game is trying to tell a message to stay hopeful and that the feeling of grief could blind you by antagonizing the people around you as a self-defense mechanism.
I find that hand motif again but I also see a woman. Suddenly, the color scheme changes to a greenish blue. Also, epic music plays and it starts raining. I think the blue phase is supposed to represent the depression stage in grief from the color scheme, the tranquil music, and the depressing trope of rain. I go down a deep, dark cave. The level of detail and all the colors are so pretty. OMG, I just turned into a fish. I see this cool, pink-shell, glowing turtle. Still in the blue phase, I see the hand again. This time, I actually see the entire girl. The one before, I wasn’t to see the giant woman’s complete face. Now, I can. The big woman’s eyes are closed but quickly open. I am wondering if this woman motif is supposed to represent me: at first the stone woman was broken at first, but gradually, the stone woman becomes fixed, like the protagonist’s emotions. OH NO! This dark bird savagely destroyed the stone woman and is now chasing me. This bird, converted into what looks like a giant eel, chases me through the water caves. I desperately try to run away. The eel gets so close to eating me, but I miraculously get saved by the turtle I saw before. Close call!
The color scheme turns from blue back to a pink-ish red. The ground is very floral. The flowers symbolizing growth may signify the final stage of grief, acceptance. You need to grow from your feelings of resentment and depression so you can accept who you are and move on.
Out of nowhere, the color scheme turns to the color I started with, white. I get swallowed by a girl—I think, a spiritual resurrection of the giant rock girl. I make my way up and find that same hand I first saw when I started the game. The same cracked hand. The cracked hand becomes fixed. The music turns almost all vocal. There is a cut scene of the girl singing. The girl has regained her voice! The physical rock of the woman we saw earlier then becomes completely fixed. There is an intimate moment between the giant rock lady (I think, a physical representation of the girl’s emotions) and the girl. I think the girl has finally come in terms with herself and her emotions. There is a burst of different colors. Epic music plays. The girl has finally escaped her stages of grief! The game ends.
My first impression with Gris is all about its incredible visual elements. The graphics is super aesthetically pleasing and I am hooked already. The start of the game depicts a depressed female character, I assume, in a dark robe, trying to pull away from the desolate environment around her. As of now, her only “powers” are moving left and right
Stage 1: Denial
The game unfolds rather quickly, as expected. The storyline is prevalent and obvious. Gris, who I assume the main character, suffers from some sort of past traumas which cause her depression and mental pain. She is trying to find a way out. At first, Gris can only crawl slowly and cry. She can barely move.
Stage 2: Anger
As the Kubler-Ross model of grief suggests, after the initial disbelief in what happened, Gris now wonders why it is her. She can actually run now. The environment is still the same: a deserted empty void.
Stage 3 and beyond…
It seems to me now that Gris is finally committed to “finding a way out.” She is running really fast and she can also jump. She can also “heavy,” a very interesting and useful move given her environment.
Red is the color of victory and ambition and determination. I think it sends a message here that Gris is seriously trying harder to escape now. The visuals and color element is used to describe Gris’ current emotion and her stage in the grief cycle in very subtle ways.
The bargaining stage shows in the “heavy” move I think. Before unlocking this power, Gris is pretty clueless. Now, with this move she can break the grounds or destroy rocks to discover new lands. Gris is making a bargain with her confined environment here, subconsciously asking “even if I can’t get out, what can I do to survive/deal with this pent up anger?”
Overall, Gris is a powerful game with a prevalent storyline. The platformer structure works well for the game because the emotions come off much stronger in silence. There is no need to explicitly show verbal cues such as crying or swearing or grief since the movement and 2D environment already displays it so well.
As I joined for the first time and I was amazed by the colors that were presented tome, but then all of a sudden I got a chill down my spine as the hand crumbled away as we were sent spiraling downwards into the unknown. I felt as though I was with this statue, almost reminiscent of hos Steven Universe has the statues throughout the series of the show foretelling something that hasn’t been found or something that was loss.
Now, I start running through this unknown territory and eventually encounter a white wisps that follows me around. Maybe it is there to remind me of something that is loss, but follows me in spirit.
I continue through the puzzles with the white background until I take a turn and stumble onto this new Red society. A place filled with harsh winds and heavy blocks. I felt that my time here was very rage induced, but only ends up hurting myself. This is countered by becoming this large block that helps me gain stance and mobility through this tough time.
In the next area, the land of pink, I found myself walking normally. Then, I discovered this little cube fellow sulking on a rock. He runs away, but I end up chasing him and we become my companion for a short period of time. This helps me gain some help from others, but Im not quite sure how it fits together.
After my unsuccessful attempt at the temple, I start to feel loss and which lead perfectly into the next area of the game. This is the underwater portion, the land of deep sorrows that cant be expressed in words. I feel as though I don’t know exactly what is going on in the game at this point, but I can relate to the background of how the game made the water suppress the thoughts and ideas of positivity and just left you alone. Going around with this looming cloud of naught, left me drained.
I brought some personal feelings into the game at this point and I couldn’t continue as my feelings became to strong for enjoyable gameplay. I understand now that this is the purpose to explain the levels of grief without a textbook or some man with a degree diagnosing you with such and such.
As I started to play through Gris, I had a minimal idea of the objective and meanings behind all the colors. Gris is a beautiful 2D side-scrolling platformer; the art style and soundtrack are pleasant stimulation as I play. I found out that I need to collect spheres of light that followed me (Gris) around as I explore the map. The beginning sequence showed Gris’s main character, having her world crumbling around her, and all the colors faded to white. I was left to walk onward slowly with the character’s head looking downward.
Anger: Minutes 5-45
Once Gris stumbled across the hand, she was standing on; she had an outburst with caused the color pallet of the game to swap from white and black to mainly red. The world became a desert with reoccurring sandstorms of Gris’s anger overwhelming me and throwing me back. The only option for me to move forward (to the right) was to hide from the storms of anger, or make myself heavy and slowly pushing my way through it. This stage was relatively easy and was my least favorite to play through. At this point, I had a tiny idea of what was going on, but I enjoyed the little puzzles. I noticed that when I needed to reach for the light, I had to crush a rock that had a creature inside. Upon destroying the rock, the animal ran away from me; Gris’s anger hurt someone else. When I found the hand again, the primary color changed to green.
Bargaining: Minutes 46-90
At this stage of the game, I began to fall in love with it. Walking left through the forest, I made a friend. Mini-Me liked apples; therefore, I fed him apples (obviously). This stage showcased mainly green with hints of red, demonstrating bargaining with leftover anger. The location was filled with climbing changing trees that either changed on their own or when I jumped. Upon completing the side stage and returning towards the core, I was met with an ability to glide. This allowed me to trek upward and have a run-in with the darkness I let escape when I fell into the white room. Making it to the stop, I had another run-in with the hand, which changed the primary color to blue, where Gris was depressed, an overwhelming feeling.
Depression: Minutes 91-145
Playing through this stage was probably the most enjoyable. It featured an overwhelming blue color and minimal displays of green and red. The puzzles and swimming features solidified my enjoyment of the game. I got to explore the underground cavern of Gris’s world. I had a rough time with the freezing mechanism and using it to my advantage; however, I figured it out and got to travel through the water. Again, I discovered the hand. Gris tried to sing, but she was unsuccessful. The color yellow was added to the pallet; however, yellow was not the primary color; this was only the start of her acceptance.
Acceptance: Minutes 146-220
This stage started rough. The darkness chased Gris through the deep where only small amounts of yellow light guided the way. At first, I thought I had escaped until I got chased again. I was saved by a red turtle, which means my anger guided me and saved me from the darkness. Back at the core, I explored upward. This stage showcased all the colors working together, but not harmoniously. When I finally got to singing ability, I ran around the map seeing all the plants I could uncover. I enjoyed turning the world feature, which allowed the expansion of the map and new ideas for solving the puzzles. Upon reaching the top, I was met with a stellar view where yellow was the most prominent colors: Gris was recovering.
Ending: Minutes 221-240
When I thought I was beating the game, I was met with darkness again. This darkness took all the color from the world and swallowed me with it. The screen was covered in black. When I reached the top, the world was white and black, like at the start of the game. However, this did not stop me from making my way back up to the hand to sing once again. The color was brought back to the world, and I made my way to the light pathway. That is where my gaming experience of Gris ended.
Gris was a game I was not expecting. It ended in such a beautiful not that I went straight to Youtube to watch a video about it. Knowing the competition was organized by the Kübler-Ross model of the five stages of grief allowed me to focus on changing colors during my playthrough. I enjoyed noticing the hints of colors in new settings, such as the red in the bargaining stage. It demonstrated that there is no straightforward cycle of grief and that it is mixed together. Getting to learn more about the five stages of grief through Gris puts a perspective to what others are going through, especially the overwhelming feeling of depression that overtakes all other emotions. As I progressed, I noticed what affect the colors had on the layout. Red was dominant because it was the first color we experienced. Green allowed red to enter in the stage because anger does not just go away. Unlike the other colors, blue covered the entire screen when it was discovered. Finally, when yellow was introduced, it only took up the game’s background for a few moments. The way yellow was added demonstrated that acceptance does not just “click;” acceptance takes time and energy. I believe the developers chose to make a platform game to explain grief’s complicated feelings through 2D steps. Grief is not filled with simple, chronological stages. It is a mix of emotions that is not merely five stages. Gris is not a platformer like grief is not just stages, because you can expand on it and demonstrate let the other types of genres and stages influence and shape the experience.