The game provides us with some interesting situations, ranging from the social interactions with peers, to conversations with a priest, the deceased and a homeless person. We get a more or less subtle view into each of their lives, which adds up to a bigger picture. A bigger picture of life as a hardship. The human condition, if you will. Especially in the time as a teenager. Insecurity, stress, insufferable amounts of complexes and general frailty - when it comes to the need of being accepted by the people around you - are things which are prominent in the years of being a teenager; in the years of being at all, to be honest. Where the desperate attention seeking can spring into action actions which in retrospect can be seen as abhorrent. But with a little bit of care, consideration, empathy, with a little bit of knowledge and insight into a persons motivations, WITH A LITTLE BIT OF THESE THINGS, understanding these idiosyncrasies can be much easier. The person being a "♥♥♥♥♥" can at the same time at home deal with angry parents, destructive parents, alcoholic parents, whatever concoction of behaviorism you can imagine and thereby themselves become a person like their parent, for the simple reason of learning behavior from your surrounding.
A depressed, absent-minded mother who blames you for her stress and angst, and a father who left you stranded with her will surely make you desperate for attention, in whatever way possible, especially when you're falling out with your friends, or the people you assumed were your friends. This is the case of our protagonist. Making her actions understandable, as I've seen people think otherwise.
We follow our maincharacter through a hodgepodge of a timeline, where we often get to see the consequences of something she'd done wrong. As in cheating on a test, stealing a snow globe and breaking a window and blaming it on her friend. This is where we need to get the notion of what a game "SHOULD" be out of our head. We don't have a say in these things, we are merely a witness. Sure, we control everything but we're not really in control. We are watching everything unfold in front of us without any say. For once I find this positive. It's a personal story, why should the player interject their own personality, morality or will? Why plaster your face onto a character when it's clearly not meant to be that way? Why forcefully demand the relatability of everything any character does, that's why the personality of most gamecharacters are nonexistent. Why are we afraid of people not being like us? Let this game be an expansion of your view of people. Why not let a character be itself, and then the analysing could be of interest.
And this is where my point is to some critique I've seen for the game. This game is not about trying to let you choose how to handle a situation, it's showing you the situation of this particular teenage girl. It's showing you the aftermath of some regrettable actions. It's showing you how it affects a person, how guilty a person can feel because of a mistake they barely had any real reason behind. And how your peers and upper echelons shame you because of these mistakes. It show's you the protagonist being shunned by friends and family because of silly mistakes, and the fact that you feel the need to steer her actions lets you know that the game is doing what it intends to do.
The stereotypical feel of the characters in this game is because they are real characteristics of real people. They are very common issues, personality types, and very typical scenarios for people to be in. The thing about putting this in a game is to illustrate it somehow, and get an outlet for these things you think about, as you do. To get past things. To put things into perspective. It's all there, you just need to look close enough. The game doesn't hit you in the face with its messages, or it's insights. But it's all there. From the carnival stories, the distorted mirrors of better times, memories being forgotten of the people that passed, the lying lion who did anything just to get another bite of food - in reality a metaphor for attention? I need to play it again, you should play it, think about it. Discuss it. I wish I wasn't as tired as I am right now, I don't think I can do the game justice. It's not the most beautiful game, not the most intricate, not the most interesting, but it has its moments. It's a game that tries to give us something, more than just a couple hours of time spent. I will always pay for a game with a good concept, a game that tries to do something interesting. This game certainly did, even though it may have been too much to actually get across in the best way possible. But I think most of it is already there, the teenage hardships, the tragedy of selfishness, the selfishness social interaction, the shallowness of sociality, the subtle character motivations which can be parallelled with our lives. It did what it set out to do, a shame it didn't get more leeway to express this in a much grander and more beautiful way, but what we see is what we get, and what we got was good enough for a purchase, also for probably more than one playthrough.
I think I got across what I wanted to say, albeit clumsily and badly, but I did it.
Posted: February 17th, 2014