"My grandfather's plane was reported lost in 1960 during the Algeria Independence War, days before the birth of his first child," writes Armel Gibson, in the introduction for his game, Oases. "This is what I like to think happened to him."
Oases opens with a plane flying over a desert, its engines trailing dark plumes of smoke. But before it can crash, a hole opens up in the sky, and swallows the plane with in rings of color. On the other side, you find yourself soaring across gorgeous, surreal landscapes of tall trees, enormous trumpet-shaped fungi and waterfalls dripping from giant sculptures. It is a world where you can soar forever, and never crash.
It's not the first game created to grieve the loss of a loved one, or make sense of their death—That Dragon Cancer comes to mind—but Oases addresses a very specific form of loss: How do you deal with losing someone when you don't know what happened to them, and probably never will?
Gibson writes his own ending for his grandfather's story, and invites us to wander around in it. It's a lovely one too, where the only goal is simply to fly and find pleasure in the world around you.