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Video Game / GRIS

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GRIS is an indie Puzzle Platformer Art Game from the Spanish Nomada Studio, published in December 2018 by Devolver Digital for the PC and Nintendo Switch. The title heroine is a young girl dealing with a serious personal trauma, the exact nature of which is uncovered throughout the game, as you guide Gris through a surreal and initially bleak landscape of her devastated psyche.

See Journey for a game with similar mechanics and Eternally Us for one with similar central theme and plot structure.

The game contains examples of following tropes:

  • Colourful Theme Naming: "Gris" means "gray" in Spanishnote . The game starts in a grey, desolate wasteland, and it revolves around restoring color to the world.
  • Cope by Creating: Gris copes with personal loss by singing. Notably, she cannot actually sing for most of the game (the "Sing" button is mapped, but only elicits weak gasps from Gris), only finding her voice again in the penultimate stage. At the climax, singing finally helps her to overcome her depression.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The entire game is this until Gris begins to gain various abilities that allow her to navigate the world.
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  • Design Student's Orgasm: Far more subdued than other examples, but the use of smooth vector lines and geometric shapes leans into this aesthetic.
  • Double Jump: In a twist on the platformer formula, Gris doesn't start out with this ability, and in fact, it is actually the second special ability you gain, after turning into a block of stone.
  • Expository Gameplay Limitation: If you've played Journey, you already know the controller buttons for jumping and for singing — however, using either command in the very first stage instead just brings Gris to her knees, as she is too devastated to do anything but slowly walk. Although she regains her jumping ability early on, she cannot sing until the second half of the penultimate stage. Before that, all you can get out of her are weak gasps — this is strongly implied to be because singing brings back traumatic memories for her.
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  • Expy: The developers have acknowledged that the denizens of the polygon forest are based on Kodoma and Soot Sprites.
  • Five Stages of Grief: Each area of the game corresponds to a particular stage of grief: the initial grey area is Denial, the Red area is Anger, Green forest is Bargaining, Blue underwater level is Depression, and the final sequence (including the Yellow area where Gris re-learns to sing) is Acceptance.
  • Last Kiss: Gris, to the statue of her mother, signalling her acceptance of her death and being ready to move on.
  • Monochrome to Color: Gaining new powers also adds a bit of color to Gris' plain, initially grey dress, and in turn, allows her to bring the primary colors back to the world.
  • No Name Given: Technically, the protagonist has no name. Fans (and likewise this page) refer to her as Gris. At the very least, it's quicker to say than "the protagonist" and feels much more warm and personal.
  • The Reveal: Collecting every Memento unlocks a hidden scene that reveals that the woman whom Gris mourns is her mother, and the "stars" the player collects throughout the game are actually fireflies they caught together one memorable night.
  • Scenery Porn: The game is absolutely stunning in its art direction and backgrounds.
  • Sequential Boss: The Bird in the forest stage, who assaults Gris multiple times before she can escape. It is not really defeated, however, given how it is more of a manifestation of Gris's depression than a real enemy, and it comes back in later stages as the Eel and, briefly, as Giant Gris, before turning into a giant sea of black goo and almost swallowing Gris before it is defeated by her and her mother singing together.
  • Slippery as an Eel: The black ooze that pursues Gris throughout the game takes on the form of a giant eel in the water stage.
  • Tears from a Stone: The climax features the reassembled statue representing Gris's mother weeping.
  • Wham Line: Impressively, GRIS manages to have one, despite being a game with no words. In the climax, just when a desperately singing Gris has been swallowed by the Darkness, a second voice — her mother — answers her.
  • World-Healing Wave: When Gris finally sings, it has the effect of rejuvenating and restoring colors to everything around her.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: In fact, it's the only element of Gris's character design that isn't a shade of gray.


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