In Broken Age, an indie point-and-click videogame developed and published by Double Fine Productions, the player plays as two teenage characters, a girl named Vella and a boy named Shay. While both stories eventually intertwine, each has a different starting point and follows a different narrative path. Both stories, however, have a similar theme unifying them before the stories intersect: perception is not always reality.
Vella’s story begins in her hometown of Sugar Bunting. Sugar Bunting is a town in a large area of land terrorized by creatures known as mogs. Every 14 years a mog visits these lands during an event known as the Maiden’s Feast. Each town selects various young girls for the privilege of being maidens in the feast—sacrificial lambs who satiate the mog’s hunger in exchange for the mogs not destroying their village.
While everyone believes the mogs’ visits are great blessings and being selected as a maiden is a great privilege, when Vella is selected, she sees it as the opposite. Vella sees the mogs as dangerous enemies who should be fought against rather than creatures to be appeased. Through the player (and Vella’s) actions, Vella eventually escapes the Maiden’s Feast and begins her quest to kill the mogs.
In this quest, Vella eventually learns that the mogs aren’t creatures but “spaceships” piloted by citizens of a planet known as Loruna, like Shay. Shay was under the assumption that he was the sole human inhabitant of his ship the Bossa Nostra. Shay believes his only companions are two computers programmed to believe they are his mother and father. Though, his parents keep him occupied with repetitive fake missions involving robotic friends, Shay eventually meets a stowaway named Merrick, who offers to let him take control of the ship and undertake “real,” threatening missions to rescue innocent creatures from dangerous forces.
Once his path crosses with Vella’s, Shay eventually learns that the helpless creatures he has been saving are the maidens from the various Maiden’s Feasts. He also realizes that his computerized parents are humans who have been so occupied keeping him and the ship safe that they could only appear to him through computer projections. Finally, Shay realizes that he has not been in space at all, but on the planet containing Vella’s town of Sugar Bunting.
As Shay and Vella continue to solve the mysteries and search for answers regarding their strange predicaments, they encounter even more situations containing falsehoods. Throughout the game it is apparent that not everything is as it seems, reinforcing the player’s take-away that perception is not always reality.