The Games Of Christmas ’10: Day 8

By RPS on December 8th, 2010 at 1:22 pm.

EIGHT!

Our eighth game of Christmas only wants to be loved. Did you know, more games are returned at Christmas than at any other time of the year? And do you know what happens to returned games? That’s right. They burn them. Have a heart and adopt a game this Christmas. Ideally, adopt this one. It’s…

…Digital: A Love Story!

Quinns: It was only watching Digital’s end credits that my eyes got a coating of tears. Just a thin one- a kind of glossy sheen, rather than any kind of heavy dampness or terminal overflow.

All I could think of at the time was “This shouldn’t be happening. The game wasn’t that good.” Today, I find it funny to picture myself. I remember taking off my glasses and putting a hand to my eyes, the very picture of grief, and raging in confusion. It wasn’t that good. Which is a stupid thing to think for a couple of reasons.

First of all, there are a dozen cheap ways to make your story a tearjerker, but all of them still rely on you caring about the characters who a jerking the tears in the first place. If you’re crying at a story, it must have done something right on the way to that point.

The second reason it’s a stupid thing to think is because Digital: A Love Story is that good. It’s great, in fact. The game’s setting of “an Amiga desktop in the 80s” is genius. The puzzles are satisfying. The character interaction, whereby you talk to other people by sending emails to them that you, the player, can never actually read, is cute, and adds a subgame whereby you have to deduce what your character says to people by reading their response. Digital: A Love Story is a powerful example of somebody having an idea and just barreling forward with it like a two ton rugby player. And more significantly, it’s… well, it’s a love story.

Love’s had a rough time at the hands of videogames. Love? I’ll tell you what love’s used for in games. It’s a motivator, a tool. Love of a girl is why your character willingly goes jumping and screaming over eighteen straight miles of spikes. The hinted love of a woman is why your gruff gunman wants to live and fight another day. In the hands of a videogame designer, love is an old can of WD40 that’ll keep their awkward vehicles running smoothly, and when they’re done with it they put it back on the shelf next to a far bigger tank of industrial engine grease labelled “L.U.S.T.”.

It’s funny, because it’s not like gamers are short on love. We all have games we love, we have locations and levels we love, mechanics we love and- yes! – characters we love. We’ve got lust, too. We’ve got whole pockets full of lust. We (not me, not you, okay) will buy dating games and porn games. We’ll fantasise. If an online game lets us design our own content, we’ll have a thousand fuckpads built before the night is through. We are, in short, powered by the same libidos that get all the other humans on the planet out of bed in the morning.

But we don’t get love stories. Or rather, this year we got one. We got Digital.

Come to think of it, this is a sad example of a love story to have to hoist up on our shoulders. I mean, it’s about two people falling for one another via an internet messageboard. Making you care about a relationship that’s spawned out of a few pieces of internet correspondence is definitely one of Digital’s achievements, but still. I suppose Digital makes up for everything with its ending. And those end credits. Those bloody end credits. If all games could have an ending as good as this, I’d never leave the house again.

Dear John,

I wanted to give this one last try. I know this must be getting tiresome and I know your natural contrariness makes you incredibly unlikely to give anyone else’s recommendations a fair shake – let’s not bring up The Wire/The Thick Of It/Whatever, there will only be fisticuffs – but I wanted to take one last chance to throw myself before you, grab hold of your calf and beg you. For God’s sake! Play Digital! If you don’t, I’m going to lose all faith in you as a lover of games, and even thinking that makes me want to scrawl a :( on the moon.

You’re Mr Games Make Me Cry (well, Mr Pretty Much Everything Makes Me Cry). You’re Mr Story>Mechanics. You’re DreamfallLongestJourneyBrokenSwordLucasartwhatever. But while you’ve seemed to have played every single driving game released for the PC in this twelve months you haven’t put aside the couple of hours (tops!) needed to play this.

Who’s been left to hail it? Me. Me.

I’m The Pervert, John. I’m the monster. I’m the guy who Jim shines a Batman-esque signal into the sky displaying a tumescent phallus every time a sex-game is released for the PC – though I was totally proud that you stepped into the breach (missus!) and did Sexy Adventures On Porn Island. Isn’t it just weird how every time I wrote about a sex game, we always get some readers who appear to think were changing our standards when we’ve written about pretty much every thing with the faintest hint of the fuck since 2007? Are they just not paying attention or something? And… I’m digressing again.

Anyway, that guy, the guy who wrote under the pseudonym “Minister Drill-cock!” for a few years… he’s the guy who’s been left as the sole voice on RPS hailing some of the year’s narrative highpoints. Yeah, we’ve all got our back behind Mass Effect 2 and Amnesia and rightly so. I mean, Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer is perhaps a little more inside my bloody boathouse, but Digital could only be more your sort of thing if it was soundtracked by some bearded men with guitars being sad about the funny feeling in their tummy-wummy.

Christine Love – in her first game – made this romance uplifted by its equal romance of the period its set – the BBS birth of the populist Internet. You weren’t there that early, as far as I know, but you were on mailing lists in the early nineties too. All these feelings of discovery, of others, of possibility, of 0s and 1s turning into something considerably more analogue inside your head… this will resonate. I mean, I do know that there’s some areas which do play to my interests in the form – as in, its formalist stuff, the clever ways it tells its narrative rather than just the content of its narrative itself… but the only reason anyone cares about this isn’t its cleverness. It’s its heart. I mean, look at the above. It made Quinns cry! Quinns! He’s in his early twenties. The only thing that should make him cry is a bar closing before he managed to get his last order in. He’s too young for genuine emotion, and he still got a little sniffly.

What could it do to you? It’s made to be referenced in your articles about games narratives, filed in your heart next to April and Zoe and whoever else you’ve got crammed in there. It’s a gaping hole in your knowledge and it’ll leave a gaping hole in your heart. For God’s sake, man. This one may as well be written for you. It’s an unanswered e-mail you didn’t even star on gmail and left to fall further into the depths inbox. This is a love letter man. Please, read it.

Lots of Love,

Kieron.

p.s. If you need a reminder of what it’s actually like, here’s my old Wot I Think from back when I was on the site. And you can get it from here.

, .

79 Comments »

  1. adonf says:

    So Horace has been spending a lot of time in the indie lagoon this year

  2. Premium User Badge

    Nathan says:

    I must say that this one had managed to slip me by, so I guess I’ll have to head back and take a peek.

  3. Rond says:

    That’s a good one. Like more casual Uplink with a story.

  4. CMaster says:

    I thought it was good, but not game of the year great? Plot twists easy to see coming?
    That said, I do remember it quite well, which I guess says something good.

  5. Pijama says:

    The usual sacrifices to Horace seem to be weakening in power, then!

  6. Premium User Badge

    Oozo says:

    What makes the game so remarkable is maybe not it’s execution, but all the right decisions it took: It takes the biggest theme ever, but emulates it in an environment that is, even out of the game, restricted like hell – but is such a strange, strange place nevertheless, that you can find somebody to care about, even if you don’t know much more about him/her than, well, idle words. (Choosing a setting in a past where you couldn’t google images by the person is another touch of genius.)

    Let’s just put it like this: It reminded me of reality. Of real people I learned to care about. Of the ways I learned to care about them. And about how easy it is to break down all the links with those people, because, you know… they’re just digital.

    I hoped the game would make the cut.

  7. Nallen says:

    I think I got stuck. Is that even possible?

    Good game though, one of those games where you’re playing and you get that feeling like you’re really exploring a real situation. I should have seen it through to completion.

    • CMaster says:

      @Nallen.
      Yes – first playthrough bugged out on me – I replied to a messag, but never got the response that was necessary to cary on.
      Second time around I was stuck for ages, as I believed that I’d already done the task necessary to advance, when I hadn’t.

    • Urael says:

      Me too. I got stuck awaiting a response that never came….

      That would have been called ‘tragic’ were it not for fact I uninstalled the game three minutes later and cheerily got on with my gaming life elsewhere.

    • Vinraith says:

      I recall getting stuck a couple of times, where something didn’t display as it should have the first time I looked at it. The result was a playthrough time about 3 to 4 times longer than most people reported while I rechecked everything (which is basically how you advance in the game anyway, of course, I was just doing it far more than most folks). Suffice it to say the result of all that was a less than charitable response to the game as a whole. I can’t say what I’d have thought of it without all that repetition, though. It was at least compelling enough to keep me doing it, which I suppose is something.

  8. Shazbut says:

    But we DO get love stories!!

    Serious question to RPS writers:

    What are the reasons you never cover or really acknowledge the existence of visual novels? I don’t mean this to come across in an accusing fashion, I’m genuinely interested and can already think of a few reasons why you might not.

    However, please please know this:

    -They’re not all porn
    -Or dating sims
    -Or are all catering to an audience with little real life experience of romance

    Examples:

    Ever 17 is a game about a bunch of people trapped in an underwater theme park. They have a week to escape or be rescued before the water pressure causes the place to implode. It is perhaps the best story in all of English language gaming. I dare you to play it, come back, and tell me you strongly disagree. There is certainly love in it, but no sex.

    Kana: Little Sister is pretty cliched to be fair and does contain sex, but the way the story is structured and the pretty palpable moral core to the whole thing make it absolutely worthy of consideration as a mature and….yes!….respectable title. It’s a study of consummate love. It asks what it’s like to absolutely devote yourself to a person. It’s fearless and compassionate. It’s basically a million million times better and more worthy of existence than CODBLOPS. It could, should, show what is possible in this medium and be a benchmark for western gamers who are trying to tell mature stories, even if the genre of visual novels isn’t pointing towards the future in terms of game mechanics, it does show what is possible with pure interactive story. Isn’t that important?

    That’s two, I could name loads.

    Kana as well is very low on the whole Japanophile thing. None of this “onee-san” or “sempai” bullshit. It’s all in English. These games are in English.

    Look what Kieron just wrote!!:

    “we always get some readers who appear to think were changing our standards when we’ve written about pretty much every thing with the faintest hint of the fuck since 2007?”

    Except visual novels.

    And again, I’m not necessarily even asking for columns. Just acknowledge that they exist. This game, Digital, is very good, but it’s been done better already emotionally speaking, by games that were made available in English 10 years prior.

    Talk to me, please.

    • Premium User Badge

      Oozo says:

      Maybe it’s because Leigh Alexander has the exclusive rights on writing insightful texts about strange japanese visual novel-thingies on the interweb?

    • Quintin Smith says:

      I can’t speak for Kieron, but I don’t cover visual novels because I’ve never played a good one, and until now I’ve never had a recommendation pushed my way.

      Ever 17 sounds reet proper interesting, but I’ve just had a nose and it looks like the publisher’s gone out of business and it’s only available on Amazon USA for a thousand monies. Is this the case?

    • Shazbut says:

      Yes, you are right about Ever 17. It’s obviously very easy to “acquire” however. I don’t know about copyright in that situation.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Honestly, it helps that Digital is more of a game than the majority of visual novels I’ve experienced.

      I’m reminded of a time on PCG back around 2000 or so, following a less than serious feature mentioning it in not too favourable terms, we got a lovely, serious and heartfelt letter extolling Kana: Little Sister, before trying to argue that “The incest is really very minor”. Critically speaking, that’s a sticky wicket.

      EDIT: I do have a visual novel on my side though which a lovely reader bought me and I’ve yet to play, mainly because it involves working out how to install things.

      KG

    • Shazbut says:

      Kieron wrote -

      “Honestly, it helps that Digital is more of a game than the majority of visual novels I’ve experienced.”

      Very fair.

      Re: Kana. The game does try to address incest in what I think is a very mature way, and the protagonist spends most of the story in heavy internal conflict regarding this. They did however chicken out in one major way, which you might be able to guess. Regardless, what could be more worthy of discussion? When almost all non-indie games are afraid to even try love, we already have one that tries to tackle the greatest of taboos and tries it seriously.

      Because of writers like yourself, it’s very accepted for deep discussion of game mechanics and ideas to be expressed, which has led to some amazing and wonderous experiments in design by indie developers. Possibly there is room for deep discussion of themes and emotional maturity as well. It might help to springboard the industry out of this juvenile rut given time.

      EDIT: – I don’t know much, but obviously if I can help with that install I will. I’m not sure what you could be referring to however, unless it was one of those games that want you to change non-unicode programs to Japanese

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      To stress, anyone who thinks an RPS thread is the place to debate the rights and wrongs and taboo nature of incest is mistaken.

      KG

    • Shazbut says:

      Ah, I see what you’re saying. Yeah, it would definitely be out of place on this site. I do wonder whether there could ever be a space for that kind of thing though. I mean, if a piece of art is going to attempt to address something like that then it deserves to be analysed, especially since it would likely receive that if it was a book or a film, and because gaming rarely does produce works that address such difficult topics.

      Anyway, thanks for replying all :). I have a clearer picture now.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Shazbut: My last comment wasn’t directed at you, by the way, but someone else who was starting an incest apologist argument. And this thread about this lovely game is not the place for 50 posts of people hammering each other around.

      KG

    • Shazbut says:

      Thanks for the clarification. Thought I’d inadvertently offended. Case closed.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      No, the opposite. People being passionate about something they care about in the gaming space, especially something they think is unrepresented, is what RPS is all about.

      KG

    • Heynes says:

      I agree that Visual Novels do have some of the most engaging stories in interactive media (Ever17 definitely is a shining example, despite the pitifully flawed translation/editing in the English version) , but really so few of them exhibit much game-like elements that makes me question whether gaming journalism should bother covering them. Even of those that do, most all of them come off as unimaginative and/or flawed rehashes of established gameplay mechanics; and that often comes at the expense of story itself (though a few titles like the brilliant recently released Nine Doors, Nine Persons, Nine Hours – penned by the same author of Ever17, no less – do come close to striking a nice balance).

      Anyhow, I definitely do agree that the biggest success of Digital Love might simply be how it managed to so cleverly disguise that, at some base level, it’s really not that far removed from a visual novel. Perhaps more imaginative takes on the medium such as this is really the key to more widespread success of the medium in the west.

    • Premium User Badge

      Saul says:

      I’ve wondered about the ignoring of visual novels in the Western gamer-sphere myself. Sure, most of them are probably awful, but so are the majority of other games. I think any attempt to tell serious stories in an interactive form is worth close examination, if only for its potential. And I say this as someone who’s never played a visual novel. I’m going to have a look at the ones mentioned here.

    • Shazbut says:

      Heynes: – This does seem to be one of the most important points, that visual novels are just not game-like enough. It’s funny though when I think of some graphic adventures that are so low on puzzles that it’s clear that the idea behind them is to tell a story and nothing else, and they are using the graphic adventure framework in order to do it. There are other games too, which are almost always well-received critically, which are like visual novels in other genres and don’t have very strong game-like elements. Dear Esther for example is like a first-person visual novel. Pathologic is like one, apart from the odd bit of scrounging and selling your gun for eggs. Attempts to smash together story and interactivity at the expense of game, in the West, are often received with open arms. I think visual novels should be represented on some level as the strongest extreme of the story end of the spectrum because I think it’s important that people are made aware of the power of pure interactive story-telling. It can enduce empathy in it’s audience very easily, and this is a very very good thing.

      Yet one more reason for me to get a DS is for 999. Maybe it’ll happen one day.

      Saul – You say it yourself: the potential. What excites me personally is how this potential can be a force for emotional growth. Kana, for example, has countless anecdotes of how it has affected them deeply. Because it’s interactive, because the player assumes the role, they’re able to experience the emotional journey on a far deeper level than if it was a book or a film or anything. It’s happening to THEM. Imagine a story where the player assumes the point of view of a murderer, and then again from the point of view of the victim, totally understanding and empathising with both. Maybe I’m being optimistic, but I think you could make the world a far better place with this stuff.

      Anyway, you’re right about the majority of VNs. Most of them are bobbins. And some, plenty in fact, illuminate very dark corners of the Japanese psyche. Don’t go exploring VNDB unless you’re not easily offended. Some are brilliant while still being very dark. Saya No Uta, for example.

      But Ever 17 never disappoints. Go with that first.

      lol, this is going to be on the second page in 5 minutes isn’t it. No-one will read this. :P

  9. Brumisator says:

    Quinns cries too easily when gaming, he needs to grow some chest hair…or become jaded like all other game journalists.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      I have plenty of chest hair. I’ll mail you some if you don’t believe me.

    • CMaster says:

      Ignore me. I am an idiot who should check things before he says them.

    • Sander Bos says:

      I heard that while first playing Super Mario Bros 25 years ago (how old is he anyway?), Quinns cried himself to sleep after finding out the princess was in another castle. The sudden feeling of loss was just too overwhelming.
      I was surprised to learn in the previous story that apparently not a tear was shed over Bejeweled 3.

    • Auspex says:

      I heard Quinns was so unmanly that he invited RPS contributors to his house just so they’d complete the Super Meat Boy levels he found too difficult.

      That what I heard.

    • Dastompinata says:

      I heard Quinns is so unmanly he’s actually not a man, but a woman! A videogame playing woman… Hey Quinns I’ll totally take some of that chest hair you were offering *cough*cough*.

  10. Dhatz says:

    hey yo, where’s the official RPS page on facebook? I came there after like 6 months and started liking my favorite webs, but this just has instance with 380people.

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    Sinomatic says:

    Definitley more on the interactive experience side of the spectrum (like Everyday the same dream) than game I’d say – there wasn’t much to puzzle out as far as I recall, more ‘find what to click next to push the story forward’. I don’t care though, I really enjoyed it. And the old-school amiga aesthetic made me go ‘squee’ ever so slightly.

    • Lilliput King says:

      There were some puzzles along the way, but in the classic adventure game style, they were nothing that couldn’t be beaten by just clicking on all the messages and doing what they tell you. That involvement is definitely enough to call it a game, though, as long as we’re calling something like Monkey Island a game. It certainly felt like it was “you” doing things.

    • Premium User Badge

      Sinomatic says:

      There were? I stand corrected then. In my (admittedly rubbish) memory there was very little in the way of puzzling about it.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Ish. You come across emails which talk about a specific weakness in the way BBCode (or some such) forum software distributes passwords which you have to abuse in order to get into one of the forums by working out which password it would produce next and entering that. One of the AIs makes use of a vulnerability in the Amie platform that gives you some kind of RAM error that was mentioned much earlier and requires you to replace a file and reboot your platform and you do all that manually. None of it really difficult, but it does the job.

  12. Chris D says:

    Ignore me, I am an idiot who should know better than to reply to things that are certain to disappear within minutes.

  13. 8-bit says:

    crying is alright as long as they are manly tears, thanks for this and since I am not doing anything at the moment I will check it out right now.

  14. Psychopomp says:

    I am completely stuck on trying to get into the Underground Library. I have the post that tells me how to figure out the password, but I’ve gone through a dozen or so increments, and none of them have worked :\

  15. Gassalasca says:

    Well, I’m Qunns’s age, and it didn’t make me cry. But it’s one of the top gaming experiences this year. Immediately after I finished it, I sat down and watched BBS: The Documentary. Which did make me cry at one point. So there.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      It’s the epilogue that did it. Same thing happened to me with Consider Phlebas. Bloody Bora Horza Gobuchul. I still remember that name despite it being the /dumbest name ever./

    • Premium User Badge

      phlebas says:

      Me too!

  16. Nova says:

    John didn’t play Digital? The John Walker from RPS? Why?

  17. zipdrive says:

    As it happens, I’ve started playing Digital yesterday. While I’m still getting over the frustration that is the lack of copy-paste, the thing kept me glued to my Amie desktop until way later than intended last night.

    Hopefully I’m not really stuck, even though it kinda looks like I am.

    *SPOILER*
    I have to admit I’ve not (yet?) gotten really attached to Emilia, as I found the exchange that led to the reveal in the screen shot up in the article too short to have real heft. But the mystery of the AIs is awesome.

  18. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    i got stuck somewhere in the middle of this and never figured out why (yes I went back and read all the messages to see if there was something I’d missed).

    Might fire it up again at som point as I was quite enjoying it and if the ending is that good then I guess it’s worth having another shot of actually reaching it.

  19. JohnnyMaverik says:

    You should all play it, a flawed (hey, nothings perfect) and yet entirely beautiful gem of a game.

  20. cjlr says:

    Oh sweet christ I’d forgotten how much I hate modem noise.

  21. Will Tomas says:

    I loved the Dear John letter. Also, the game. It felt very much like the experience of getting to know someone on a message board genuinely does, and gets to the heartstrings.

  22. realmenhuntinpacks says:

    Holy shit you were drill-cock!? Loved that column. Amazing magazine, obvs.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Thank you. Many strings to my bloody bow.

      (I actually dug through my hard-drive recently and discovered I’d done something like 10-15,000 words of Drill-cock writing in various places, which says a lot about where my head was in the early 00s.)

      KG

  23. Pantsman says:

    Ok, so, to anyone else who’s played the game…

    /* HERE THERE BE SPOILERS
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    So, Emily was killed, but you found a backup of her and used it to restore her to life on your machine, right? Then you had to install some subroutine in her so when the Reaper killed her, it would change its target and eradicate itself. There were tearful goodbyes, and mourning over Emily’s noble sacrifice, etc. etc. But why couldn’t you just restore her from the backup again after the Reaper was destroyed?
    *
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    *END OF SPOILERS */

    • Lilliput King says:

      The AIs would only transfer themselves once they were completely erased from the system they were part of previously, as to do otherwise was to make them into a resource-draining virus that would risk detection. That was the problem that created for the need for the solution which became the antagonist.

    • Nicolau Chaud says:

      I thought the same thing. (more spoilers)
      This game is really good, but more on the intellectual side, and less on the emotional one. I really like the whole thing about AIs, the feeling of being a hacker, all the numbers and names and computer lore amidst useless BBS smalltalk, etc. Emilia’s story was interesting, but not moving. I mean… when I replied to messages, I didn’t think in my mind what I would say in that place, to the main character (me) felt completely empty. The other side of the love couple was Emilia, who was just… an empty loving machine. There was nothing to her, except that “I love you”. I tried, but I just couldn’t relate. I didn’t want her to die, but it wasn’t emotional for me at all. I guess the huge amount of messages I/she sent before the final decision were even somewhat annoying. Great game, still.

    • Jolly Teaparty says:

      You just have to go with it, like you have to with the whole “two of them can’t exist in different places” thing.

  24. djbriandamage says:

    I can’t fucking believe it. I almost cried too. This might have been the best thing i’ve played all year. Thank you SO MUCH for the recommendation, RPS!!!

  25. zipdrive says:

    Finished it now.
    I must be a cynical bastard, because I was quite far away from tearing up.
    I enjoyed the game, though- as someone mentioned: Uplink with emotions.

  26. blindmouse says:

    (kind of) SPOILERS….

    I almost couldn’t do it. Couldn’t click on payload.bat. I thought, I searched…there’s got to be another way. There wasn’t.
    Very nice game, cheers again guys

  27. Nicolau Chaud says:

    Another great love game made on Renpy: RE:Alistair++

  28. fuggles says:

    I wonder if this only really strikes a chord with people above a certain age. There’s a lot going on in this piece, there is love, but it’s manifold and complicated and my thoughts are below. I will be discussing plot and there will be (ahem) SPOILERSPOILERSPOILERSPOILER(s).

    On the one hand there is the love of nostalgia, as I too remember fondly the modem noise which a lot of younglings today would look (listen?) blankly at. This is also in the warm heartglow that was actually taking part in this sort of endeavour, albeit not the hacking but sending e-mails to a friend or loved one using the now crappy system.

    There’s the basic love story as Kieron puts across. You and Emily, who is a poet and you can assume that there are past conversations and you have connected and are now in love in the oddly pure and platonic way that is e-love prior to webcams. Again, having sent similar e-mails in the past to a lover, for this was the days prior to MSN and e-mail was new and exciting, perhaps this nostalgia, or rather empathy heightens the connection. It was always exciting in the early days when everything was terrible and Geocities to load up Turnpike or whatnot and see if any e-mail had arrived. I still felt a bit of this in the game, but more as it meant I was progressing than popular.

    SPOILERS BELOW

    Then finally, it turns out Emily, who I personally had connected with, as for reasons above and because I throw myself into these things, turns out to be an AI. As I reached the game’s climax and I was pinging heartfealt missives to essentially, my own computer, I wondered if it is reflective of players as a whole. Do I love my PC? Sadly, I suppose a little bit as I spend a lot of time on it and it takes up a significant portion of my life. I want to clarify that this is ‘enthused attachment love’ rather than the PC is a partner substitute, as I am fully functional with a stable relationship and real people friends.

    Apologist part over.

    As a hobby, is the PC any sadder than say, loving football, which let’s be honest, is what fans do who go out every week to pubs/somewhere cold? PC use is unique in that it’s an ever changing feast of things to play, watch, listen, make and do. PC Gaming is sociable these days in that you can see and talk to people, share thoughts on blue indy games and play together. There is a lot of talk about “champman widows” and so I guess the PC can be seen as a real part of someone’s life, even a partner. If your PC had a unique and growing, adaptive AI would you feel grief and loss if you had to format it? Would it be so inconceivable not to see it as a friend if it can search out videos, games, music and articles that you would, essentially like a friend with similar tastes. I suppose from there it could potentially find other PC’s and users to match you – Scary thought or great thought? I imagine this train of thought is planted deliberately by the designer, which reflectively is probably what the Gibson e-mails are about.

    So to conclude, this game has made me reflect and inspired me to write a block essay that no-one on RPS will read as it’s too long. Today I have played The Creature Project, Space Funeral and this. One was alright, one was bemusing and one was inspiring, and love is inspiring and so I have been compelled to write as One cannot love and do nothing.

    Thanks RPS.

  29. badvibration says:

    Love Love Love Love Love!

  30. Armyofnone says:

    wait wait wait… Keiron is still alive?

  31. thebigJ_A says:

    So the new way of moderating posts here is to replace their comments with funny “Ignore me, I’m an idiot…” comments? It was slightly confusing at first, but I like it.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      The one in the thread is someone who’s annihilated their own post. When we do an edit, we’d normally make it clear that it’s by us.

      KG

    • CMaster says:

      Yeah, I hurled (I should say intended in a jovial way) abuse at Quinns, before realising that he’d already done what I was winding him up about a day before.
      Apologies for any confusion, but I was being an idiot and I try to keep my posts as accurate and fair as possible.

  32. Jolly Teaparty says:

    This game was great, the mellow soundtrack got the mood just right. Until everything goes haywire. You’ll know what bit of the game this is when you get there, but for this, I recommend you turn off the music, and get hold of “The Blue Valley” from the game Uplink. This should be the theme tune to all things resembling hacking.

  33. outoffeelinsobad says:

    “Love is an old can of WD40 that’ll keep their awkward vehicles running smoothly, and when they’re done with it they put it back on the shelf next to a far bigger tank of industrial engine grease labelled ‘L.U.S.T.’.”

    …and in the game?

  34. Shane says:

    I just finished this game and (spoilers) I thought it was an okay “game.” Really more of a short story clicking through windows.

    It has some problems in tedium constantly dialing numbers and trying to figure out where you’re supposed to connect and run through messages and hit reply or pm or whatever else. And you can’t even keep up with who is who when replying to the non main characters.

    A very Matrix Revolution style story, and at first I didn’t really care about the messages and just hit reply, reply, reply, but got more interested as the story turned, even though I rolled my eyes at the whole AI thing, and by the time I started to care for the characters, it was over.

    I liked it though, a simple story with a sad finality, which I think make you care most about characters. Like Link returning to his time in OoT or Geno returning to the sky in SM RPG.