Earlier today, I tweeted out whether or not anyone had yet written a review of The Yawhg that focused on it as an expression of the impending collapse of our planetary environment.
I received no response, and Google yielded no results, and so I can only assume that no such review has yet been written. This is annoying, because it strikes me as the most straightforward way to look at the game. Such a review should exist prior to less obvious interpretations which are sure to follow, as The Yawgh is good enough to deserve all of them.
So: I’ll just do it myself, bluntly, and get it out of the way.
First, though, I don’t know if ‘planetary environment’ is a real term, but you know what I mean: Global warming, the Anthropocene, that sort of thing. When I was growing up, it was mostly discussed in terms of how much rainforest and ozone we had left. Time moved on.
1. The Yawgh is about how the end is inevitably coming and yet the characters just go on with things as if it is not. This is just like how you keep waking up in the morning and living your life and looking towards the future even though the future is irrevocably dipped in shit.
2. The part of The Yawgh after The Yawhg comes is a metaphor for how even though billions and billions will die when the oceans rise and agriculture collapses and whatever else, there will probably be a few people who make it through. Will they be reduced to hunter-gatherers, and slowly fizzle out? Will they live behind giant walls and be guarded by robots and forge a new epoch of humanity even though you are dead and forgotten and could have never lived at all? Nobody knows for sure, but it will definitely depend on this: Whether or not those people are any good at anything. Similar to real life, the game makes it clear that this is by no means guaranteed.
3. The part of The Yawgh where people have to take skills from their former lives and put them to use in new ways is similar to how things will be in our new world as well. If you’re an investment banker right now, for example, your job in the new world will be to steal from people. If you’re a writer, you will still be a writer, but hopefully the deaths of so many other writers will elevate you to some level of regional success.
In conclusion, I love The Yawhg and I think it is a finely-crafted metaphor for the greatest existential threat of our lives: The environment. It is certainly a much smarter and sharper one than anything that has to do with zombies, or viruses, or North Korean invasions of the midwestern United States.
Please, seriously: Enough of all that. Please buy The Yawgh instead.
Thank you. Smarter and better reviews, please proceed.