The Path - Indie Legend (Topic)

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The Path - Indie Legend


In 2009, one of the most legendary indie games was born - The Path. Then, at the beginning of the new decade, indies were perceived in a completely different way. They were something "wrong." An art house from the world of games, where developers tried to convey their ideas or thoughts. Today we have enough good indies that cannot be called game art house - and that's good. All using the same concept could lead to the demise of the very concept of indie games. However, The Path was the true face of the informal approach to game design in everything, and I am sure it has inspired a lot of people. I want to describe the gameplay of The Path to you and then analyze it.

Scary tale with a sad ending

The Path is based on the classic story of a red riding hood who is supposed to take a basket of pies to grandma. However, this is the only thing that makes the game and the original source in common. To begin with, we have not one main character, but six. They are all sisters, but at the same time of different ages, with their own views on life, beliefs and problems. And it is with each of them that we must walk her personal path. At the beginning of the game, all the girls are in one big red room, and we choose one of the sisters, who will carry the transmission.


The gameplay begins with the chosen heroine on a small path leading forward. It is surrounded by a dark forest with endless expanses. A beautiful soundtrack plays in the background.

The inscription "Do not turn off the path" appears. And you can do so, go ahead and in two minutes walk to the grandmother's house. And then repeat it with the other sisters. But rules are there to be broken, right? This is what you should do.

And this will be the right decision. True, but unfortunately, you will make your heroine suffer ... This game does not have a real happy ending, but The Path is not about a happy ending, but about what has already happened.

The beast in the forest

When we step into the forest, the main part of the gameplay will begin - we will just walk through it. It might sound pointless, but that's the whole point of the game. In the forest, we find different locations that are somehow connected with the heroine under our control. It could be a sun-drenched field, a wall with bullet holes and shell casings around it, an old park with squeaky swings, a lonely gramophone or bathtub. With each of these things, the heroine can interact or comment on what she saw.


The Path has a great narrative. Looking at how the main character behaves in this place, what she says - we learn her story, character, why she is like that and what she wants from life. Ruby - 15 years old, a girl with sad eyes, perceiving the world through the prism of depression, all her life she feels like a slowly fading flower. Carmen is 17 years old, her youth began, she feels like a fatal girl who is subject to everything. Robin is 9 years old, a small and naive child who still has no idea how terrible this world can be. Etc. The sisters are not alike, and that's why you want to get to know each one better.

There is no dialogue or direct narration here - it appears directly in the process of playing in your head and in your imagination. Sometimes you just need to leave the heroine unattended so that she can start interacting with the environment.


And when you find all the items possible for your sister, the main moment will come. You don't think it's only you in this forest, do you? Each sister has her own wolf to meet. He does not necessarily look like a real wolf and will appear in front of his sister depending on who she is.


It could be a rebel-like guy, a woodcutter, a ghost, or a young pianist with gray hair. This meeting becomes fatal for our heroines, because if they interact with their wolf, they die metaphorically.

House of Confession

After the heroine meets the wolf, she finds herself on the ground in front of her grandmother's house. In it, she meets all her fears, desires, important life events, and in the end, her death. As if the whole life flashes before the eyes, and the soul before that goes all the way of who it was, before going into oblivion.


All of this can be avoided thanks to one important character - The Girl in White. Playing as each sister, you can always find a girl in a white dress in the forest. He will play with you, and after that he will take your hand and lead you back onto the road, thereby trying to save you.

The further into the forest, the deeper the secrets

And now it's time to analyze The Path. What does all this mean? There are several versions. The whole game is one big metaphor for death, problems along the way and mistakes. As I already said, every girl has her own character and it is on him that what gnaws at her depends.

When the heroines enter the forest, which beckons, they are immersed in the story of their lives, face to face with their problems. So, for example, Ruby has a fastener on her leg, which she wears most of her life. In the forest, we come across a wheelchair, on which she sits down and sits for a long time, and we also find a wrecked car. This is how we learn that, perhaps, as a child, she got into a car accident that made her disabled and does not allow her to live in peace.


Scarlet, [who was conceived as a character in Ingram Bergman's films], sits on a bench near the amphitheater and begins to reflect on the fact that nature is chaos and disorder that is difficult to control. This is a reference to the fact that at the age of 20 she had to take responsibility for caring for the other sisters. And she was not ready for this chaos.

Carmen finds objects that emphasize that although she is trying with all her might to draw attention to her maturity, she is still not an adult.


Death from the clutches of a wolf is no less symbolic for every girl, as it reflects the greatest experiences. So, Ginger, who is described as a tomboy, starts playing tag with a girl in a red dress. Before she has time to recover, the game gets harder and turns into a beating. It is believed that she was always afraid and denied her growing up, wanting to remain a child forever. And when such a person faces problems, it is especially difficult and painful to cope with them.


Grandma's house is a place where everything comes together into one whole picture. The history of life. Personal path, struggle with problems and death. This is a surreal journey where everything flies before your eyes. And it is in him that you realize that all this time you played for a person who suffered from his own fears and desires.


This is the most popular concept in plot clarification, but I see another subtext here. Namely, the consequences of silence. All our stay in the forest and meeting a wolf - this can be an unpleasant truth that people are trying to ignore. After all, you are aware of your problems only if you analyze them. When the phrase “Stay on the path” appears on the path, it’s like a stop signal. “Wait, don't tell anyone, everything is fine, there is no problem. Pretend there are no problems. ”


And if you look at the game from this angle, then you have a problem when a child is afraid to talk to someone about changes in his body, a taboo on stories about rape, silence on domestic violence, aggression of society. Each sister's story is deeply personal and very sad. And death from the clutches of a metaphorical wolf is like a consequence of the fact that you are silent, and the grandmother's house is an inner experience.


And there is an important point here. If all the sisters die, a secret character will be revealed. That same Girl in a white dress. We take control of her and go to my grandmother's house, where we meet her in bed. And this meeting does not end with death. After that, we return to the room where we chose the sisters and they return one by one.


The Path is an ocean in which you can look for a lot of meaning. And you may never find the exact answer. This is one of the finest indie games you should play if you value ambiguity, quirky storytelling, and meditative gameplay.

The Topic of Article: The Path - Indie Legend.
Author: Jake Pinkman