Will Love Tear Us Apart?, a web game based on the Joy Division classic of the same name, really sucks. Goals are ill-defined, controls are constantly changing, and your reward for completing a stage is usually just a mysterious, unexplained cutscene. One level requires only that you sit and do nothing for a while in order to complete. But that’s the whole point.
Just as “Love Will Tear Us Apart” so devastatingly chronicles a good relationship gone bad, Will Love Tear Us Apart? aims to “frustrate, upset and sting the player into remembering the dark days preceding the death of a relationship,” according to game creator Gordon Calleja.
To communicate that frustration, Calleja and his team created a game that would be considered a failure by all conventional standards. Playing Will Love Tear Us Apart? is a thoroughly confusing, difficult, and unsatisfying experience. “[I wanted to create] interesting tensions in the design process,” says Calleja, “resulting in scenarios which deliver the desired thematic experience whilst going against what is conventionally considered good game design.”
If you’re up to it, play Will Love Tear Us Apart? here.