Really Big Pinecone, embrace the boss

Post Author:
Really Big Pinecone

Really Big Pinecone are a band based in Brooklyn, whose excellent tape Really Really Big Pinecone was released in January. Their songs are multi-layered, pairing earnest, twee-tinged vocals with a more angular guitar-pop backbone. There are also little glimpses of experimental dream-pop, which are channeled more fully on the soundtrack created for Embrace the Boss, a collaborative project that Pinecone songwriter Mikey a/k/a M. Pinetree worked on with his video artist friend Bryan Allen a/k/a BSSSO.

Embrace the Boss is a concept “video game” but it’s really more of a genre-melding multi-sensory story-book. As explained on the project’s website, the “game” is best suited for 0 players and it is non-interactive; also, it is present-day “re-interpretation” of a old, poorly-received game (one that never actually existed).  During level one, you beat the boss, only to realize you were the boss all along! That’s cool. You then spend a lot of time reflecting on what that means and looking inward. As explained on the Embrace the Boss website:

Embrace the Boss was a non-interactive 0-player single-loop video game popularly characterized by its strictly decorative controller and first-person POV reverse narrative format in which the “boss” is beat in level 1 and then is soon discovered to be not really a “boss” at all but the actual real-life “player”, the ensuing levels’ objectives mostly having to do with contemplation, understanding, forgiveness, etc. and in the final level, acceptance and ability to “embrace the boss” whereby the game cycles back to the beginning and resumes its loop.

The game sold very few copies. and never really took off except in a few scattered left-field meta-gaming circles i.e. virtually no one bought the thing and the creators ended up destroying the rest of their inventory in an impulsive effort to erase any record of the game ever having existed which is all to say that the game you see today is radically different than how it originally appeared on the U.S. market because there are no surviving copies of the original. The current game has been reassembled mostly from semi-functional circuits and firsthand descriptions of levels from some of the original “players”. Despite the glitching and pixel scrambling and rapid POV switching and level rearranging, etc., we hope the modern-day “player” will still be able to benefit from the same powerful experience of plugging in the controller and actually “playing” the game.

You can see it all for yourself here, or watch a video of it below. The warm and warbly tape loop soundtrack, recorded on an 8-track reel-to-reel, is streaming below, too.