Games are systems, which means that they’re incredibly good at teaching people things, because the whole way we interface with a system is by learning its rules. As we do that, if the information is absorbed correctly, one can slip in certain ideas with the basic mechanical stuff, with pretty stunning results. That’s games as learning, and I feel like it’s a very underutilized field outside of simulators.
CAVE! CAVE! DEUS VIDET. is a visual novel that attempts to do this through those mechanics. In this instance, it’s goals are small: impart art history, and an understanding of what a piece of art can mean in historical context, in a way that is explored through the very nature of a problem the game presents to you. In this case, it’s the historical significance of a Bosch painting but told through madness and time travel.
It’s a weird thing, notable immediately for how striking its art styles are, and how it uses them to impart ideas of symbolism in the basic modernistic approaches to the main story that carry over when you get to the part where you’re decoding the paintings themselves. This is an initial chapter of something that purports to be ongoing, and I’d love to see more.