OK so let’s talk about Robot Unicorn Attack.
I got a link from my friend last night who just told me, “play it. beautiful music.”
I didn’t follow the link right away because I was reading a book. I know, I’m lame. But tonight, I noticed two of my roommates were playing this flash game with extreme interest.
Simply put, Robot Unicorn Attack is the next big thing.
In the game, you play as a robot unicorn who jumps over floating pink cliffs, collects rainbow butterflies, and avoids giant metallic stars.You have three tries or “wishes” to go as far as you can. The further you go and the more rainbow butterflies you get, the higher your score.
While all of this is happening, “Always” by the British synthpop duo Erasure loops in the background. This really sets the tone and defines the game’s character. The endless chorus of “Always, I wanna be with you / And make believe with you / And live in harmony, / harmony oh love” while you’re jumping around as a rainbow-shooting robot unicorn (did I mention the rainbows?) is pretty mesmerizing. Half of the discussion about this game is about the music.
Then there are the dolphins. Yes, dolphins. Conversations like this are happening between college kids right now.
Guy 1: Have you gotten to the dolphins yet?
Guy 2: No?
Guy 1: Man up.
The dolphins appear every time you get 5,000 points. Some people have been trying to figure out what the dolphins do, but as one user on the Adult Swim discussion board put it, “they don’t mean anything, just that you are awesome.”
So just to recap: unicorns, stars, butterflies, and dolphins. And everything is pink and baby blue and sparkling all over.
OK. The presentation is stellar and the gameplay is addicting, but what is it about Robot Unicorn Attack that’s eliciting this kind of response from people? The game has been played 1.6 million times and there are endless comments about how “amazing” and “incredible” it is. One person wrote on Facebook, “Robot Unicorn Attack completed my life. Ive never played a game so simple yet so amazing. Everything is so rainbow its great. Live on Robot Unicorn Attack!” Something about this game has struck a cord with young Americans right now.
There’s a layer of darkness underneath the game’s cheery exterior. Before you start, you get messages like “A fiery death awaits you” and “Persistence is futile.” When you lose, the unicorn explodes and you see its severed head with wires sticking out and tears streaming down its cheek.
Maybe there was a unicron on some girl’s binder in second grade. A cute girl. A lost love, perhaps. A robot is an emotionless husk that doesn’t dare to feel or think for itself. Meanwhile, there are butterflies and rainbows everywhere and a voice sings, “Am I here in vain? / Hold on to the night / There will be no shame.”
Put all of that together, and you’ve got the mind frame of the 21 year old who is about to graduate from college into this bleak economy.
Robot Unicron Attack is the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” of my generation. Play it. Feel it.