Games-as-montage is one of the most interesting spaces (to me, anyway) in games experimenting beyond their traditional structure. Be it 30 Flights of Loving or The Stanley Parable or even bits of Experiment 12, the way that disparate events can be compacted into linear play experiences to create new impressions is really exciting. So what if you montaged not only story, but EVERYTHING from graphics to mechanics?
Galah Galah is that game. A weird series of what are essentially mini-games jammed together into a not-quite-cogent narrative, this trip down the pixel rabbit hole is amazing in just how evocative it can be while having almost zero internal consistency. Yes, there’s some recurring ideas and graphics. But for the most part every minute you’re thrust into an entirely new space, left to figure it out for yourself, until the game whips you to something wholly different.
What’s great about this isn’t just the atmosphere, which is intense but almost always very clear, but also just how effective nothing more than tenuous threads can allow a player to draw conclusions between disparate play elements. In a medium where narrative is often plotted with all the rigidity of railroad ties, seeing something abandon any storytelling outright in favor of this loose free-association between game maker and game player is fascinating. It only barely holds together, but Galah Galah is a good argument for holding together not being a driving necessity in games.