The upcoming indie game Calendula is getting called a lot of things. A horror game. An atmospheric game. A meta game. Meta seems to be becoming one of those words people only kinda-sorta know the meaning of, but like to use anyway. Right? Anything that is sufficiently weird or happens to break the fourth wall is getting called meta now. It’s like how everybody started using “ironic” a few years back toward anything that was a bit coincidental or sarcastic. But from everything that is coming out of Calendula, it does appear to be a real wallop of a meta experience in gaming, and is helping continue gaming toward a clear trend of weirdification. And that’s great.
The true definition of meta is a piece of art or entertainment that uses either references to itself, its genre, or its form as part the experience. In Calendula you begin by having to fight with the game to even let you play it. The menu screen—a staple fixture of the gaming art form—becomes a cruel puzzle game in itself, tormenting you with false options, fabricated glitches and cryptic messages. So what is it? According to the developers,
Calendula is an experience. Calendula is a mystery. Calendula is a glass full of blood. Calendula is an experiment. Calendula is an atmospheric game. Calendula is a flower. Calendula is your deepest secret…
There, did that clear things up for you? Yeah I didn’t think so. Here, just watch the trailer. But don’t expect to get to many answers out of it either. Just soak in the creepy, mocking atmosphere, and then decide if you can handle the meta.
You can help Calendula get on Steam by voting for their Greenlight.