Whatever you do, don’t let Kanye into his zone. He may not recover…
Developer: Kanye Zone Publisher: Kanye Zone
Where to find it: www.kanyezone.com/
Few games exist in which you are forced to face real world issues. The flash and flame in the life of a hip-hop artist are mostly entertained in idealized worlds, one where fame and glory are the sole components of an artist’s life. But a game like Don’t let Kanye into his Zone dares to challenge society’s values, and it comes out on top.
First, much like most of the media, we’ll focus on the surface qualities of this game.
As the game starts, you’ll notice a few things. One is Kanye’s head, which will fly around the arena in a wild, haphazard attempt to enter his zone. Another point of interest is the shallow, white silhouette of Kanye’s head. This is where the next Kanye head spawns, and the arrow inside of it indicates where he will be flying off to as soon as he appears. The controls themselves are quite slow, leading to a fairly drudging game, but the slow speed of the Kanye heads make it feel fair and balanced.
To fend off Kanye, you must touch him with your big blue ball. As you do so, you gain money and every so often, Kanye’s zone will grow in size.
The main hook here is that, with a press of the spacebar, you can warp to the opposite side of Kanye’s zone to barricade against any guerrilla tactics Kanye’s head might try to employ in the field.
The audio in this game is top notch, being melodious as well as informative. Hearing Kanye shout “Don’t let me into my zone” every two seconds is a great reminder of your objective. But more importantly, it paints a very depressing picture of drug abuse as well.
The metaphor Kanye is using with ‘don’t let me into my zone’ can be seen as a cry for help, as the ever looming grasp of addiction is trying to swallow him in. You as a player are acting as one of his friends or family members, or even as his subconscious, trying to prevent him from plunging into his drug habit, or “zone”, again.
The psychological aspects of this game really shine through, and its message is earnest and disheartening at the same time. Questions will be asked but never answered, such as,
“Will Kanye ever be free of his addiction to his ‘zone’?”
“Is there a way to help him, or are we only delaying the inevitable?”
Maybe you can answer these quandaries, maybe not. But I wholeheartedly give my praise to this brave, experimental trip into the life of a rapstar, and an addict.
+ Balanced Gameplay
+ Philosophical implications
+ Great sound design
– Slow movement
– Easily becomes frustrating