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Game of the Week: Maybe it's the energy of games that makes them so good at capturing youthful experiences


Goodbye Volcano High screenshot of two teen dinosaurs sitting back to back on a rooftop, against a bright green aurora
Image credit: KO_OP/Eurogamer.

"Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of high school stories," Alexis writes in the review of our latest Game of the Week. "Ones created by adults to navel gaze about their forgotten youth and project old regrets onto a fresh canvas, and ones created by actual teenagers. Goodbye Volcano High is one of the first times I've been able to fully inhabit a high school narrative without feeling the cynical, calculating spectre of a grown writer in every quip or interaction..."

This is Goodbye Volcano High, a game about navigating high school as a dinosaur in a band. It sounds absolutely magical. And it's worth coming back to that point of Alexis'. I love Heathers particularly and a load of other high school movies from the late '80s and '90s. But Alexis gets at something I had never really noticed here: in each case, whose lens is it? Who's telling the story and framing the events?

I know the kinds of high school stories that Alexis is writing about - the bad ones, which are frequently stodgy with middle-age woe. I understand why these stories happen. By the time you're trusted with making a movie or whatever, you're often looking back on high school through lumpy vaseline clots of other experience - what happened next, what you regret, what you wish you'd-- etc etc.

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