If George Orwell's 1984 was encapsulated within the confines of the videogame medium, I believe it would resemble something very akin to Putt Putt enters the Parade. In terms of sheer oppression, fear mongering and propaganda to enslave it's citizens, this game excels.
Our Story begins with the sun rising over a seemingly serene landscape, this source of light and life is humanised with a beaming face shining down upon the denizens of this world, clearly being our Big Brother figure of the eye in the sky. This world is devoid of religious imagery, so we as the player must assume the inhabitants of this world subscribe to more primitive methods of Sun Worship, only more worrying as his face smiles unblinking down upon his world. Shortly we are introduced to our protagonist.
I am aware of nothing in popular fiction that's forced into such a twisted and horrific form as our titular character Putt-Putt. While on the surface he may seem rather sanguine about his situation, upon closer inspection of his unmoving eyes the tone of this experience becomes somewhat unnerving. His features contorted into a permanent smile, he very much resembles Canio; our laughing clown must overcome his trials and tribulations while keeping his sadness suppressed lest his plight truly horrify us. Within his own body his internal radio informs him of the daily mission, thus begins the overarching themes that ties Enters the Parades narrative: "conformity"
We have no choice to not enrol in the Parade, we are given no reasoning behind why we must join the others. We as players may question this but our protagonist begins his assigned task without hesitation. Since we as players have no choice, does that also confirm Putt-Putt himself has no say in the matter? I personally took the parade as either a method of propaganda, or a ritual to appease the Sun God. Before we collect our thoughts on this matter we face our first road block on our path to appease our Deity.
Shortly through the game we come across a Cow, this docile animal bars your progress and show's us (the player) what happens to non-conformists in this dystopian landscape. Putt-Putt cannot continue further until he honks his horn, the single most aggressive act he has at his disposal. The personification of his horn also twists shapes, from a recognisably happy face to one that looks as if shouting... clearly demonstrating his innate pent up aggression with the current state of the landscape.
We arrive in a large Hub where a larger more aggressively coloured character "Smokey" beckons us over. He informs us that we simply cannot enter the race, in order to do so we must perform a number of menial minimum-wage vocations in order to pay our entry fee. I have a hard time judging Smokey's intentions... I'm reminded of the idiom, "no smoke without fire"and clearly as he hands us a lawn mower he is a supporter, proliferator and profiteer of child labour.
Back in the Hub world I notice our fuel gauge is drastically low "I think I need some Gas!" our protagonist speaks on further inspection, his voice slightly wavering towards the end. One must wonder the implications of Fuel within the world of Putt-Putt. As a side note: In our home, we can consume Oil on our cornflakes yet this does nothing to increase our fuel, meaning not only do the cars within this universe require sustenance... but their very lifeblood is a finite resource... Essentially giving their entire population a shelf life; thankfully our main character isn't charged for this transfusion, which allows us to progress northward.
Arriving at a stop sign we can thankfully see there is a semblance of order within this world, that said the other road users manically drive across the crossing with little regard for one another, we see the direction Smoky pointed us in and begin our journey down the red road. Not a second later my worst fears about Smokey are proven, a laid trap of nails bursts Putt-Putts tyres and he's stranded alone in the road. A toot of the horn later and Chuck comes to help us... by forcing his phallic metallic tool down our lead characters throat before parading him back through the town like a sexual trophy.
This was personally the one scene I found most disturbing, not only because since after clearly being a victim of sexual abuse, Putt-Putt thanks Chuck for his service.. with a smile no less.
After such a horrific ordeal we guide our lead character into the nearby toy store in an attempt to salvage whatever remaining childish innocence we can muster. There we find from the Irish shopkeeper that Putt-Putt has misplaced a magnet, something seemingly so key to his survival with the hazards of nails strewn across the streets.
Finally on track, our protagonist finds a group of numbered houses, upon arrival we see they can barely contain the cars held within. Clearly these are more cells that domestic homes as their exterior would lead us to believe. One man comes out, wearing garish pink addressed by our main character as "Mr. Fender Bender".
Due to his colour scheme and offensive name I'm assuming this is the developers attempts at "humor" or "satire" having a clearly gay character called "Bender". I personally found this offensive and would like to call for a petition to be made to hopefully change his name to something more representative... like frank or something... but I digress...
After deftly guiding our little motorised hero through several gardens and unearthing a bone. We return to "frank". After thanking our main characters hard work he hands us a measly dollar and retreats, reversing once more into the void within his cell. Being once again allowed to explore the confines of this world I immediately attempted to find a means of escape.
Coming across a Cave, I hoped this would be some form of surveillance blind spot, yet I was undone as our overwatcher had placed some form of guard dog there. My radio beeped up once again... maybe the signal is great even underground... I don't know, but it told me I needed that dog for the parade... which brings me into another very large minefield of controversial events:Forced adoption.
Clearly a car is not best suited to take care of a small animal, usually when you combine the two you're left with no small animal and a slightly dented car. Yet my end goal requires me to have dominion over this Dog, the bone from the gardens worked and he seemed happy enough.
Upon returning back to the Hub, I'd like to share with you one of the most progressive choices this game allows you. One of the areas available to visit is the colour shop, this fantastic section of the game allows us as the player to choose Putt-Putts racial identity. As I chose green in an attempt to blend in with my surroundings if chance for an escape arose.
As the machine began changing my genetic makeup I couldn't help but mull over what the implications are of this service within the world of Putt-Putt. If people could choose their own race on a whim.. would that affect diversity within the work place? Would there be a certain number of allocated cars that could only be one colour and you may be forced into a colour you particularly dislike in an attempt to conform?
Upon the rebirth of our protagonist as a strong confident Green Car I was quickly assailed by Smokey, his comments about me looking handsome were so loaded I was close to triggering, yet thankfully I managed to get a quick reprieve courtesy of the Parade starting.
We see other members of this world in their forced march, each with an animal ruining their interior... One in particular was infested with spiders. Clearly all the animals looked terrified during this high speed convoy, one could only assume the purpose, perhaps they were to be sacrifices. Our story finally ends with the sun setting on the Convoy, appeased he grins an uncanny smile as darkness sets over the land.
TL;DR You're a ♥♥♥♥ing car and you go into a parade and ♥♥♥♥. 10/10