Ever watch one of those documentaries where they are trying to figure out how intelligent a certain species of animal may be by putting it through a series of tests? The tests typically determine whether the animal is capable of remembering certain patterns or figuring out solutions to basic puzzles. simian.interface, an IndieCade 2013 finalist developed vested interest, turns the player into one such lab monkey who is rewarded for participating in a series of trial and error puzzles with nothing more than a banana.
But it is more than a banana. It’s that “eureka!” moment and the euphoria that comes with it. Playing simian.interface for only a few minutes at IndieCade 2013 somehow made me happy. Video games don’t normally make me happy. They entertain me for hours on end, occasionally making me laugh or filling me with nerd rage, but I can’t say that happiness is an emotion I normally associate with my lifetime hobby.
So how did simian.interface do it? Honestly, I’m not sure. It’s a very simple game, after all. All you have to do is move the mouse around the screen until the objects that are moving about are put into their correct place(s). The earliest levels could be completed by any child capable of placing a square peg into a square hole. The puzzles become more complicated later in the game, but not by much. And yet the more I played (and the more bananas I earned) the more a smile unconsciously formed on my face.
As the minutes went by, it didn’t even occur to me that I might be hogging the demo. I had to finish the entire game, and I did so within 10 or 15 minutes. But for such a brief experience, I can’t quite explain how much I enjoyed it. I could describe it as therapeutic or meditative. The music by note!, both retro 8-bit and simultaneously futuristic, set a tone that welcomed me–a child of the 80s–with warm arms of nostalgia.
It’s like simian.interface was made for me, just for those few joyous moments.
Well, now it’s your turn. You can play simian.interface for free in your browser here, though I encourage you to pay what you want for the downloadable version that includes the excellent soundtrack. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and that you find the bananas quite tasty.