David O’Reilly is an Irish animation artist who is best known for creating the indelible and very, very funny fake videogame in last year’s Oscar-winning Her. That game, enjoyed by Joaquin Phoenix’s lightly depressed greeting card designer, suggested—with its gesture controls, holographic projection, and Pixar-inspired characters—a kind of plausible near-future of the medium:
Now O’Reilly has gone and made a thing that you can play. It’s called MTN, and it’s out for iOS today. I resist calling MTN a game, because that doesn’t feel like the right name for it. It’s a kind of interactive animated art piece in which you control the camera surrounding a single, levitating mountain. O’Reilly himself says its a “mountain simulator”.
Anyways, the way the thing starts is it asks you a few cryptic, Rorschach-type queries, and then it makes you a mountain. My mountain looks like this:
The name of my mountain is Joeterhorn. In motion, the mountain looks like this:
As you can see, the mountain is definitely a good mountain, even a great mountain, and if you’re like me, you’ll probably spend awhile just rotating around the mountain, listening to the sky and some soft music and regarding the occasional enigmatic message from the spirit of the mountain with zen acceptance and overall feeling pretty happy that you’ve got this strong and variegated mountain.
But orbiting your mountain is not all you can do. You can zoom all the way out into the universe to make your mountain seem small:
You can whoosh up over the top of the mountain and make it look like a pretty paper circle:
You can admire fireflies, which come out at night:
You can be extremely surprised by the UFO that crash lands into your mountain, after a snowfall:
Anyways, I’ve spent about 30 minutes with my mountain and overall I am pro-mountain. Probably your feelings about your mountain will be determined by some complex function of your social class, education, Meyers Briggs personality type, tolerance for ambiguity, attitude towards the gluten-free diet, and current mood. It only costs 99 cents and it will add some amount of beauty and mystery to your life, which is not nothing, because this is an ugly and over-explained world and we are all doomed.