's basically another iteration on The Twist
, and while it's not quite as egregious as Gods Will Be Watching
- it actually has something to say, for one, even though that something is just a slightly different variation on "you shouldn't be playing this game in the first place" - I'm still vaguely but piquantly dissatisfied with it, not only for that but for some other reason. The essays you unlock after you get the true ending go on about how the game's a response to GamerGate, and while I was initially going to object to that idea, the upshot of the work is that "people are more important than games," which is exactly what all those defending or dismissing the harassment campaigns in service of an allegedly higher cause fail to grasp. But the game - and while I'm wary of levying this charge considering how often in recent weeks it's been unfairly flung against genuinely worthwhile articles and viewpoints, it's true in this case - is acutely histrionic in how it trades in self-sabotaging absolutes. It talks about how games are "creating culture" and how it's good to have "games about more things...by more people," and yet it portrays games literally as these horrible monsters who enslave all who come in contact with them, shutting their victims off from a bright and ever-welcoming world of friendship and love. It wants to use the benefits of the medium to communicate its message, yet it also wants to end that medium due to the danger it supposedly unilaterally presents. It has a big dramatic climax that screams to all those in gaming's alleged thrall that we are here! We are here for you! We can rescue you unfortunate, benighted souls from your emotional isolation! And, dude, you're not
here. You're a pretentious, self-absorbed git with a keyboard God knows how many miles away. The creator links to all these essays about how gaming provides an avenue for agency for those who feel powerless, how those people lack a connection with the common culture, and yet...he doesn't get
it, on some level. He doesn't get
that not everyone who plays games has "the same impulses as a suicide bomber," and even with those stuck in his Reefer Madness
-level worst-case scenario of utter dependence on games for emotional fulfillment, he doesn't get
how sometimes those support structures he assumes to be omnipresent in real life just aren't there. The game pretends it understands but has no real understanding
of the situations it wants to address. It's this aggressively condescending yet kind of dunderheaded thing that sabotages any useful points it can make.
The other thing is that author is completely full of himself in his closing thoughts, both in substance and verbiage. "The abysm of my 4chan days." "The idiosyncratic haunted house that functions as my mind." They're the true horror that lies at the end of the game.