Aaron "Ribbon-Blue" Mendoza
OASES: 'Kaleidoscopic Elegiac Flyscape'
Wanting to shake it up a bit, I had another session of checking on various past and current indie flight games. While observing videos of deep space combat and screenshots of sleek fighter jets, a sudden psychedelic splash dazzled my eyes. Literally. I had to look away from the screen and blink a few times. What seemed to be a doomed aircraft falling into a barren terrain is met with an explosion of color and disappears into darkness.
OASES was created by Armel Gibson and "Dziff" Delphine as one of twenty-five games presented during the weekend of September 4th through 6th 2015, as a part of the Now Play This 2015 Festival. This exhibition of games ran alongside various events, talks and workshops at the New Wing of Somerset House - self-described as a home of cultural innovators that connect creativity and the arts with wider society. It was also shown at Screenshake 2016.
The description of the game mentions the grandfather of Gibson whose aircraft was reported as missing during the Algeria Independence War (1960). With a background like that, I'd expect some sort of historical recreation or interpretation of what may have happened. Perhaps something that showed what the grandfather was doing during that time to remember their actions. Instead, OASES is more of a fantastical well wish to someone that was never seen again.
Oases is more of a flight experience than a flight game. Its somewhat abstract description as a "kaleidoscopic elegiac flyscape' is a bit hard to wrap your head around when reading it, but makes sense playing it. After starting the game and diving into a different realm, players are met with electronic music and rather complex scenery. The types of things seen in dreams.
Pink forests with trees taller than mountains and towering sculptures of hands with fingertip waterfalls jutting out of rolling hills. With basic pitch and roll controls, no way to crash and a temporary engine boost, players depart on short flights taking in the scenery and music. With each session lasting only a few minutes, starting up a new session also brings in new terrain. Echoing the opinion of a commenter from a few years ago, it felt like flying through a music video.
There is no exerting story to be told or lesson to be learned here. Oases is an abstract way to memorialize the unanswered questions and possibilities surrounding the disappearance of a family member that was never met. This free to download games was one of the most unexpected flight experiences I've ever tried out. If you have a few minutes and a bit of curiosity, stop by for a trip.
About the Writer
Aaron "Ribbon-Blue" Mendoza
Co-founder of Skyward Flight Media. After founding Electrosphere.info, the first English Ace Combat database, he has been involved in creating flight game-related websites, communities, and events since 2005. He explores past and present flight games and simulators with his extensive collection of game consoles and computers. Read Staff Profile.