I got to talking round a mate’s last night about storytelling and emotional investment in games (we’d started at films and then moved on). I won’t bore you with the entire conversation, but I was reminded of - and brought up - the excellent little Flash game One Chance. In this, you’re a scientist who has cured cancer, and true to form, the cure threatens to wipe out all life on Earth. The game - which I won’t spoil - gives you a fairly simple set of choices; spend time with your family or work hard on the cure, bunk off work to flirt with the pretty woman in the lab or play nice. (Worth noting: at no point does a big red flag appear saying ‘YOU HAVE PICKED BASTARD MODE’ like so many moral karma systems in games, which is always good.) It only takes ten minutes to play through, but be warned that it can, intentionally, only be played once. (You can, and maybe should, get round this by playing in private browsing so the Flash cookie used to store the “has played” data doesn’t get kept.)
Go and do that now because I’m about to describe a minor spoiler and I wouldn’t want to ruin anything.
Good. So, as it progresses and becomes bleaker (and does so very nicely), the choices do too. In my favourite ending, you’re sick, your daughter is sick, the world’s dead or dying around you and it’s the last day of the seven. You can either take her into work with you to try one, last, futile attempt to find a cure, or else take her to the park for the final time before you both die.
Harsh. Very harsh. Whitt recommended The Walking Dead for a similar set of emotional choices and I might check it out.
Post apropos of nothing much. Am working. Head down. Noise at grindstone level. Atomic turbines to full power. Ramming speed. Etc.