Afterwords: Kentucky Route Zero

America is a country of dilapidated streets, winding highways, and fading enterprises. Our cities are leeches and parasites that chew on our lands’ history, spitting it out with sacreligious abandon. 

I live in a city, with tall buildings, alleyways and signposts. The homeless and dejected litter the sidewalks, the roads smell strongly of gasoline and vaguely of sewage. 

Surrounding my little city are an abundance of humble, semi-isolated towns, far enough from the city to escape it’s gaze, but close enough to feel it’s encroaching pressure; the ceaseless expansion of an organism who has gotten away from itself. 

Littered along America, there are towns like these. Kentucky Route Zero is a love-letter to them and an affectionate self-condemnation to pragmatism, a kind of weary romanticism that is equally surreal, earnest and earned.

This is a game that took a decade to complete, it’s dense, difficult and profound. It directly interrogates themes of perspective, debt and community. 

Everyone and everything in Kentucky Route Zero feels like it’s best days have passed them by. 

Being is transit, Kentucky Route Zero is a “road movie” about people heading anywhere but where they are, displaced amongst their trajectories.

The mystery at the center is ephemeral and fleeting, it’s in a constant haze, a distant focus compared to the myriad of colorful, robust and thoughtful characters that populate this desolate and wondrous landscape. 

So much of our young country has already been forgotten, like half-formed memories discarded before they were finished.

Therefore, America is haunted

Haunted by an absence that was denied a rightful death, a truly nullifying, negating, annihilating perishing that is final and complete.

Instead, it persists unfinished.

Our highways are populated by ghosts, people who have been left behind, forced into a self-designed exile.

Kentucky Route Zero is not an elegy for the dead but for the passed-by.