Yesterday, in a conversation with my CoMotion Labs row-mate Jean-Pierre Chery, I said, “I really want there to be a Monty Python of VR.” JP raised his eyebrows and replied that he had just downloaded something off Steam that I had to see.
Accounting by a new studio called Squanchtendo is being described as a VR game but it really feels like a new kind of art. You start off in the sort of stylized environment that will be familiar to anyone who has played Job Simulator. Soon a couple voices come through a squawk box instructing you on how to find a VR headset, which you then place in front of your face to access the next setting. (This VR-in-VR meta trick is something I saw at the Seattle VR hackathon in an experience called Down the Rabbit Hole. Maybe this marks the emergence of a structural trope, a way to handle transitions from one mise-en-scène to another.)
After you’ve been cursed out by some creature who lives in a tree, you emerge into a dungeon-like environment where you meet the King of VR, a blob that looks like the unholy union of Casper the Friendly Ghost and Jabba the Hutt. It soon becomes apparent what you have to do–gut this humanoid with a nearby knife. And that’s when things start to get seriously and hilariously demented.
Squanchtendo is led by Epic Games vet Tanya Wilson and Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland. Here’s a nice little profile on them in Upload VR that’s worth a read.
And here’s the progression of thoughts I had after experiencing Accounting, conveyed in language that is tonally appropriate to Accounting itself:
- Whoever made this totally fucking gets VR.
- Holy shit, I want more VR like this.
- Who the fuck are these weirdos?
Accounting feels like it was created by people who are comfortable with the medium, who understand what makes it fun, and who are brave enough to be silly. It’s a profane, dark-humored, vibrant series of little worlds that also serves as a lesson in how to innovate within the confines of VR, just as Monty Python showed us how to innovate within the confines of a television show. I plan to experience everything Squanchtendo releases. Bring on the absurdity, freaks!