Developer: Lianne Booton
Launcher Quote: “Everyone told me that each day would get easier.
But it didn’t
Every day you wander by, a stray dog in my thoughts.
And I wonder, am I a stray dog in yours?”
There’s a sense of purposeful repetitiveness to coping with something that happens to you that you have to deal with, that is not the best of things, or which temporarily or permanently changes you or makes it difficult for you to deal with, well, living. It can be a tragedy, or a traumatic event, or a sense of loss, or anything like that, but the advice that people sometimes give is that settling into the routine, trying to concentrate on going through some of the rote things that you don’t think about, gives you structure and helps you to keep yourself going.
But the interesting insight that Lianne puts forth today in forcing the player to repeat the same routine over and over again (with a a few subtle and gradually significant differences of course) is that sometimes it doesn’t help, or that it does get a bit harder, even when trying to repeat things. You go through the same set of grey and dark imagery when space barring through the routine of your character’s day, and at first it seems that there’s nothing that seems to be different about it. But you gradually see a sort of distortion – one that eats away at the borders of at least one of the scenes, and one that seems to crowd in on you with every click through it. Even the music changes – at first seeming normal, if not melancholy, and then turning into a kind of sound that tells you that something is off, or at the very least, not as simple as repeating the same things over and over.
This kind of sobering viewpoint when it comes to trying to deal with something you’ve gone through is a needed one. It’s a message sent that even though people tell you that you can or need to settle back into something and that the pain eventually fades, that there are still ways in which it can linger, or in some cases, become a subtle worsening of your perception that threatens to undo you. I was reminded that coping with routine was only one way to actively deal with the fact that I’d gone through something truly awful or difficult, and that knowing and seeing when something isn’t right with myself is the way to get the support that I need. It’s the sort of thing that I really like about the presentation of these games in this project – a recognition that all isn’t as it seems, and that taking action on that is necessary before it gets too far gone.