In utter loneliness, miles below the surface, it is your task to... wait. For 400 days... in real-time.


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En The Longing, la espera se convierte en la mecánica principal con la que te ves forzade a entender el mundo. Lo que años atrás criticaría Arin Hanson en su ahora olvidada reseña de Ocarina of Time como un accidente de diseño, aquí se explota y mezcla para crear una experiencia en la que las fuerzas de la soledad, la curiosidad y el aburrimiento juegan un equilibrio muy delicado entre ellas. A veces The Longing cae en el peligroso abismo de hacerte sentir que realmente estás perdiendo tu tiempo, que te valdría más la pena hacer trampas o jugar a algo que te dejase hacer más cosas más deprisa. Pero la oportuna salida de esta obra en tiempos de la pandemia debe haber calado bastante hondo entre una población de jugadores que, al verse imposibilitades de salir y mantener el contacto con el mundo exterior, tal vez pensaron apaciguar la soledad de esta Sombra aunque fuera un tanto. A mi manera de ver, The Longing es una ejecución soberbia de un concepto que, en cualquier otra época, se habría tomado a burla o como estrategia facilona con la que llamar la atención, pero que ahora, tras haber experimentado lo que realmente es sentirse sole, mucha gente puede entender por fin. Que algo así se haga, precisamente, en un molde como la aventura gráfica, donde el puzzle y la exploración mantuvieron desde siempre una alianza inquebrantable para contar historias de muy diversa índole, demuestra hasta qué punto este aparentemente minoritario género sigue teniendo la fuerza que tenía hace veinte o treinta años.
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In The Longing, waiting becomes the one mechanic with which you are forced to negotiate the meaning of the world. What Arin Hanson criticized years ago in his now-forgotten review of Ocarina of Time as an accident of design, we see it here mixed up to bolster an experience in which loneliness, curiosity and boredom delicately interact with each other. Sometimes the game sits close to the edge of making you feel like you're really wasting your time, that you'd be better off cheating or playing something faster. But the timely release of this work must have struck a deep chord among a players who, seeing how it was impossible to go out, perhaps thought about spending more time with the Shadow instead. In my opinion, The Longing is a superb execution of a concept that, at any other time, would have been received as a joke or as a gimmicky way to attract attention. But now, after having experienced what it really is to feel alone, I think I can understand it. That something like this is done, precisely, in the classic graphic adventure mold shows how this supposedly fringe genre has it almost twenty years after its "golden age".

The Longing tem uma proposta bastante interessante, mas acho que o conceito não foi explorado tão bem assim. Eu gostei do jogo, mas acho que tinha o potencial de ser bem melhor.

I don't even know how to describe how this game hit after spending a year indoors. I know part of why it was so effective for me was the timing of when I played it, but it’s absolutely masterful at conveying its feelings of isolation. I still find myself missing checking in on the little Shade.

This game is difficult to assign a rating to, since it's hardly a game. The atmosphere, art, dungeon synth soundtrack and minimalist storytelling are all extremely well-executed.
It's a game where you wait for 400 days. In real time. There are areas in the game that you can't get to for at least a month or two after starting.
You can have the shade wander (slowly walk lol) around the subterranean castle, grow plants in real time, find objects to furnish his bedroom with, read the entirety of Moby Dick (for real), and a ton of other things that I don't want to spoil.
My biggest complaint is that there are ways to increase the flow of time, so that the game doesn't literally take 400 days to play. This isn't clearly communicated, so I spent a lot of time thinking my game was glitched, or the timer was wrong.
A fantastic and atmospheric anti-idle non-game

innovative experiences like this are the ones which'll be remembered far from now in the future

Today, in the lemony light by your grave,
I recited Merrill: Why did I flinch? I loved you, then touched
the damp and swelling mud, blue hyacinths
your mother planted there—
ants were swarming the unfinished plot of earth
like the black text of an infinite alphabet. I couldn’t
read it. There was no epiphany, just dirt, the vast curtain
between this realm and the other. You never speak to me,
I thought, not even in dreams.
- excerpt from "Dirt and Light", Aria Aber
launched this back up today to see if it'd been long enough to finish the thing and stop guilting myself every time i looked at my steam library over not returning. the easy answer would be if i could say i'd dropped it specifically because she was gone but of course i know i'd put it down before then bc it's still there, when i go back through the chatlogs.
a piecemeal approach to the prosecution of enlightenment
it is very unsurprising, now, that you put down the longing
whereas i mainlined it until i found "the wonder"
and i think you might come out ahead, in the end
closing the book on this game has not led me to any great revelation, merely the continued knowledge that for external reasons i pretty much lost all desire to engage with/potential to get anything out of it a long time ago, even if by its very nature i was still 'playing along', in a way. an unsatisfying end, but what else is new.
🌫️