Mentioned a bit about Boon Hill a few days ago on here which I recommend checking out for a little bit of information. This will definitely be a more in depth article by comparison, though. So, in the spirit of spookiness and with Halloween just around the corner, it is the perfect time for Boon Hill’s release, which will conveniently be on Halloween (for Windows). Earlier this month, October 6th, Boon Hill was released on Humble Bundle, intended to gear up for the Steam release at the latter part of the month.
Boon Hill was funded on Kickstarter back in May of 2013 and has gone through many trials during its development and faced many delays. However, after over two years of development and work, Boon Hill is alas finished and received positive feedback from backers.
Disclaimer: I was given a copy of Boon Hill from the developer. I played a little bit of Boon Hill this weekend and here are my thoughts.
Boon Hill is a very unique game, if you even want to call it a game. Some people have debated against it, others for it. I’ll leave that conclusion up to you, reader. Thing is, this is an interactive experience, leaving the player completely in charge of what they want. There’s no exact objective. Not exactly a particular goal either. As either a male or female protagonist, the player is going to the graveyard in search of a specific grave, according to their conversation with the records clerk. Unfortunately, whomever the protagonist is searching for is not listed in the records due to Boon Hill being so incredibly vast and old, filled with dozens upon dozens of unmarked or undocumented graves. So, at that point it’s just exploring.
I personally really like games that rely on exploring and story-content. This may not be to everybody’s liking so Boon Hill will not interest those looking for more than pure exploration and piecing together bits of story. If your heart is set on shooting some ghosts, this is not the game for you.
Now, Boon Hill is a graveyard that’s been around for a very, very long time. Hundreds of years. And it’s completely littered with beautiful, sometimes ornate tombstones summing up an individual’s life on them. In some cases these tombstones are unmarked, other times their epitaphs declare such a bold, in depth statement about this individual’s life that they can seem real. Some of the tombstones I even got a kick out of and would consider for my own. The entire point of Boon Hill, as explained on the official website and Kickstarter, isn’t to take players on a mystical quest of some sort of explore the catacombs. No, this taking a step into the world of mourning a loss and facing that existential crisis, that suffocating conclusion that is our very own conclusion – that period ending that sentence summing up our lives that will inevitably, undoubtedly, unavoidably come some day.
We’re going to die one day and this devastating scene from Mr. Robot came to mind when I played Boon Hill(Episode 05/Season 01). I apologize that it’s not a full video of the scene and for the comedic ending, but this particular scene completely destroyed me and brings a very distressing, bold point to mind: We all perceive our reality differently and our death will impact those around us completely differently. If I died, would any one really care? Have I even DONE anything with my life?
The mark we leave on this world, excluding your faith or religious beliefs, of course, is uncertain. What is certain is the artifacts we leave. These artifacts could be emotional, the impact we leave on another living being, and molds the way they explore their day and inner selves henceforth. It could be a social artifact like a movement, motion, or change of ideas that served the world a great purpose. Everybody is different and has their own unique story to tell. And at the end of the day it’s all summed up together onto this concrete slab above their graveyard bed while they’re six feet under ground.
What I love about Boon Hill is how it challenges your mind to wander to the dark, scary places we don’t want to think about. Honestly, most people try to avoid the morbid and stay completely glued to whatever distract they can clasp just to avoid any sort of emotional challenge or intensity at all costs. Boon Hill takes us directly to the place where death is unavoidable and where the dead just simply must go. There are many tombstones that are tied together, forming a bit of the history of the town and giving personal stories about miscellaneous individuals, both good and technically bad. It was interesting to meet these people and with the semi-melancholy lowbit music and retro artwork, it felt gloomy enough just from that. The atmospheric aspect of Boon Hill was great and tied in how I perceive the objective of this game. The objective is the game’s existence itself and how it affects you.
Yep, I got a little bit in depth there, guys.
For More Information
Now, an interactive experience like Boon Hill is completely what you make of it and may not appeal to particular individuals. Check out what I listed above about this. For those who have an interest, it’s available right now on Humble Bundle for Windows and on Halloween will be released on Steam. Check out the official website for more information.
Favorite game(s): Gone Home, Life is Strange, Back to Bed, Transistor
Non-indie: Mafia II, L.A. Noire, Dark Cloud II (Dark Chronicle), The Assassin's Creed Series (mainly Brotherhood and Black Flag)
Worked for Cliqist.com from Jan 2013 to Februrary 2014.
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