As someone that’s suffered from insomnia for most of my life, late night television holds a special place in my heart. In my younger years, long before I had the internet to fall back on, I would depend on those oddities of the screen to lull me into any sort of haze that could possibly give way to eventual rest. Often this would lead me to have very bizarre dreams, and to this day I’m unable to fully parse what I remember from the screen and where my mind decided to take creative liberties. Strangely enough, I prefer it that way.
Not that those shows really needed the help making someone feel a bit off. Though you could argue on some level that Youtube has taken their place, there was a certain mystique to accessing something raw and often nonsensical in the wee hours of the night. There was a sense of vulnerability and even danger that you didn’t get from the daytime. It’s that attraction that lead me to cheesy monster flicks and Mystery Science Theater re-runs, a desire to find outliers that exists in me today.
2:22AM was created as part of a game jam based around the concept of public access television, living on opposite sides of the same coin where LSD seems to exist. While the latter game is focused on encapsulating the inherent randomness and nonsensical nature of our dreams, the former represents the line we exist on when still trying to go there. It’s that eerie fog one lives in when they’ve become so tired as to not understand what’s real anymore, a feeling that I find all too familiar.
The only information you get before starting the game is to “play at night… play alone”, not because it’s setting you up for a cheap jump scare or gimmick, but because it’s the best way to recapture the intimacy of seeing and experiencing something rare, the same sensation one would derive from a test pattern resting on screen after broadcast hours, leaving the viewer wondering if anyone else in the world was looking at the same thing.
Maybe I was the only one that did that.