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Video Game / Looming

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This game is about two lovers named January and September.
No, wait; it’s about a group of people who don’t believe in the sky.
No, it’s about a pantheon of scientific disciplines.
Or maybe it’s about an ancient beast who knew exactly when it was going to die, and how.

It’s about a place. A place called Looming.

Looming is an Adobe Flash game by Gregory Weir, which can be found here. Saying nearly anything else about it is a spoiler, so it'd likely be best for you to go play it now before you read the page.

You are September, a researcher sent to explore the strange land of Looming. You write and read several letters back and forth with your love, January. Through picking up and examining relics on the ground, finding secret pillars, and entering the several portals that are opened as you do this, you learn about two neighboring races, a creature, and a very peculiar natural event known as the Epiphany.

  • The Lorem, who treat Physics, Psychology, Logic, Chemistry, Biology, and Mathematics as a pantheon of gods. They look for the reasons behind everything and use cause and effect to solve their problems. They left behind the Path Rings, which detail their ideology, as well as tablets that document their interaction with the Seecha.
  • The Seecha, who build machines to solve all of their problems and don't believe in anything they can't see, hear, or feel. They don't even believe in the sky, as none of them seem to have ever looked up. They left behind the Tally Beads, which are beautifully-crafted tally-markers. They also left behind scrolls that document their interactions with the Lorem.
  • The Oarbor, a large flying creature who knew exactly when it was going to die. Its skeleton is scattered across Looming. It left behind secret tablets to tell you about Looming and explains the Epiphany. If you find all of its tablets, the path to the Epiphany opens up. The Seecha once tried to build a machine to capture it.
  • The Epiphany, a natural event that causes any person who gets hit by it to see their future in Looming, up until their leaving (or, as the case may be, death).

This game contains examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: Whether you're playing as January or September, as well as some clarification on the backstory, is hidden in the notes you get access to when you beat the game.
  • Back Story: The Game.
  • Beautiful Void: Zig-zagged in that at first September finds sky the only beautiful thing in Looming. But later he finds himself more and more drawn to the place, compelled to return again and again.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The word 'looming' means 'creation' in Estonian, perhaps alluding to its themes of the beginning and end of civilizations.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: If you believe the Seecha didn't look up because they physically couldn't, further analysis will lead you to this conclusion; note that there is little to no indication that the Seecha and Lorem are actually human/humanoid.
  • Culture Clash: The Seecha and the Lorem had a hard time understanding each other, due to their conflicting ideologies.
  • Deliberately 2 bit: Although it cheats in a few places.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Presumably, the Oarbor. Also subverted; despite its monstrous appearance, it is peaceful and wise, and is content to leave the people of Looming alone.
  • Guide Dang It!: As the game gives you absolutely no direction, it may take you a while to figure out that the items on the ground and the sparkly dots on the ground are one and the same. However, this is intentional, and Tropes Are Not Bad. Also with finding many of the pillars. The second ending is also one (stay on the map for at least one minute, then exit through the portal near where you start), as is the correlation between the graph, the pillars in the corners, and the lights (the graph and the pillars tell you how to move the lights)
  • Insurmountable Waist-High Fence: There is a well-made fence with many gaps all around the perimeter of Looming. However, this trope is justified because you came to research Looming, not the surrounding area. Lampshaded by September in one of the ending letters.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot
  • Multiple Endings: There are nine endings, mostly dependent on which exit portal the player takes. Some of these require collecting artifacts, following sign posts, or searching for secrets.
  • Story Breadcrumbs
  • Temporal Theme Naming: January and September.