In the first 30 minutes of playing Gone Home, nothing happens. For the next 30 minutes, still nothing happens. Other that the rain hitting the roof and the occasional loud clap of thunder and flash of lightning, nothing in the game world truly happens thats outside of player control. Kaitlin, the player character, has arrived to…
In the first 30 minutes of playing Gone Home, nothing happens. For the next 30 minutes, still nothing happens. Other that the rain hitting the roof and the occasional loud clap of thunder and flash of lightning, nothing in the game world truly happens thats outside of player control.
Kaitlin, the player character, has arrived to her family’s new home in Oregon after a year abroad in Europe, but no one is home. The player must explore the house and try to figure out what happened. At least, this is what has been the objective clear to me so far.
The house is very big and extremely eerie. Every time I turn a corner I expect a creepy figure to be lurking in the shadows, but there never is. I wait for items to fall off of shelves as if pushed by a poltergeist, but again nothing happens. The player moves with the computer arrows, looks around with the mousepad, and picks things up by clicking. These are really the only thing that happen. If the player stops moving the arrows or mouse, the whole game remains still and the same. The player is the only one who can initiate change.
There is one thing that happens relatively out of the player’s control. After picking up certain items, a journal excerpt written for Kaitlin by her younger sister Sam will begin to play.
The main actions in the game consist of opening doors, grabbing and examining items, reading papers or letters, and turning on lights. Sometimes these controls are different, and when they are it sticks out.
For example, when Kaitlin is exploring Sam’s room and comes across a stuffed animal on the bed the control says “Oh it’s Steggy!” instead of what would normally be “grab [item].” The player can still pick up the toy by clicking and put it back, but whenever the cursor hovers over steggy it says the same message. Another example is when Kaitlin comes across a condom in her parents’ dresser. It says “Ew.” These more personal messages come up a few other times as well.
These changes in controls and mechanics of the game serve to characterize our player character Kaitlin. As the game begins we don’t know much about her other than that she just returned from traveling Europe. These messages in the form of controls give Kaitlin a voice. From them we can tell how she feels towards Sam (and towards the idea of her parents’ sexual relationship.) Outside of these short bits of Kaitlin’s voice, the game gives no glimpse into Kaitlin’s head or life. We never even see a part of Kaitlin’s body when we pick things up. They also make the game more personal and less lonely. So far in the game, there have been no other characters and no dialogue exchange through which we familiarize ourself with our player character,
As mentioned in the prior post, I want to investigate A.S. as a character within the game. In the 4th level of the game, entitled Seance, there are the usual riddle letters left by A.S. Throughout the previous 3 levels, the player learns that A.S. is involved with these various rooms in some way. He … Continue reading “Making Texts in The Room 2”
As mentioned in the prior post, I want to investigate A.S. as a character within the game. In the 4th level of the game, entitled Seance, there are the usual riddle letters left by A.S. Throughout the previous 3 levels, the player learns that A.S. is involved with these various rooms in some way. He knows informations about the rooms that help the player solve the puzzle and move on to the next level. But it is still unclear his exact relationship to these rooms.
In Seance, however, the player discovers what has happened to A.S. Seance, an apt title, ends with A.S.’s corpse in a chair at a table of tarot cards. In this level, the player must use a typewriter to type out words, which illicit an automated response from the typewriter. Though these clues are not signed, it is fair to assume that A.S. has set them up prior to his death, which the player is still unaware of. This call and response makes the player a text maker too. While the words, INFINITY, VOYAGE, and HOPE, are given to the player, he or she still has to manually input them into the typewriter, making the player an author as well.
This call and response shows the importance of A.S. within the game. If the words that came back on the typewriter were merely automated, the allure that A.S. embodies would be lost. During Seance, we are instead communicating with the dead A.S.’s message, a much more captivating puzzle to be solving.
Additionally, though we are given the words, we become a part of his story. We ignite what he has left us through the typewriter; we become a part of his story. Simultaneously, A.S. has managed to live on through the words he has left. Though probably not intended by the developers, they have touched upon the theme of what it means to die in the digital age. Of course, A.S. is not a real person, but just as his words live on within the game and give him some sort of afterlife, social media enables humans to “live on” in some sense. The Room 2 creating such grand meaning through a puzzle game shows the immense power that some video games, which seem “casual”at first, can create.
For the most part, casual games distract players from everyday life. They provide a break for someone: a little fun on a bathroom or coffee break. However, The Room Two is the first casual game that I have played which requires intense focus and attention rather than mindless swiping on a 4 inch screen. After finishing … Continue reading “Immersion in a Casual Game: The Room Two”
For the most part, casual games distract players from everyday life. They provide a break for someone: a little fun on a bathroom or coffee break. However, The Room Two is the first casual game that I have played which requires intense focus and attention rather than mindless swiping on a 4 inch screen.
After finishing playing The Last of Us, I assumed that my casual game would require a different type of analysis when thinking about how the game functioned. While The Room 2 is a puzzle game that does not need a large screen or a captivating narrative, it does employ many functions that more immersive console games tend to employ. For instance, there is eerie music throughout gameplay, adding an element of suspense, as well as a character known as A.S..
Without this music, the game would function as a stereotypical puzzle game. The music, however, adds a narrative element that puzzle games do not normally have. Where is the music coming from? Is it part of the mise-en scene, as in is it actually playing in the various rooms, or is it something the developer added to increase the overall attractiveness of the game?
The Room also has text built into the game. These letters both provide clues and add narrative to the game. The author, only known as A.S., speaks to the player through these letters,
but there are also unsigned texts, which offer instructions to the player on how to
move through the levels. These texts implicate A.S. as the in-game auteur. A.S. leaves riddles to help and confuse the player, granting him narrative power. These riddle texts work in conjunction with the clues you can use, which come from the developers of the game, rather than A.S., the in-game auteur.
As I continue to play this game, I want to further explore A.S’s role in the game. Is he essential to the game play, adding components that enhance the game’s intrigue? Or is he merely fluff, who distracts from the puzzles the developers have created? Does a character within a puzzle game benefit or inhibit game play?