Her Story, unlike most video games, is a game about personal victory. It is not just entertainment, but it challenges your intent and ability to listen. While you can choose to stop anywhere, and define an “end” to Her Story, there is a potential for failure in your own dissatisfaction with your personal ability to fully uncover the story.
At its core, the work tries to uncover the story of a missing husband, by bringing in two women for a series of interviews regarding an accident and the women’s involvement, revealing interesting (and sometimes uncanny) facts about their lives. These interviews are available in short clips lasting only a few seconds and are only accessible by searching specific words or phrases in a simulated database.
I personally felt the immediate effects of reward (and failure) every time I found a new clip through innovative word searches or listening very carefully to the words that the two women, Hannah and Eva, mention in their clips. The story unfolds at your own discretion, even though it doesn’t always paint a cohesive narrative.
Her Story engages the player and challenges them to actively listen and uncover the murder-mystery, which proves to be both thrilling and satisfying. The work is simple and very effective in revealing versions of “the truth” that may be differ for each player. The work brilliantly tests our ability and tenacity to observe and uncover the mystery, while inviting active thinking and participation from the player—and often leaving the player frustrated and unsatisfied. Her Story uses procedure to assist the player throughout their journey to uncover the mystery, but it differs from some other works that we have looked at, such as Hana Feels or Neon Haze, which are more “directed” in the sense that they offer choices. But in Her Story, without actively listening and searching for words and clues in the women’s stories, it is impossible to reach a conclusive, satisfactory end.