Reparations: Fragments Of Him Receives Funding

By Adam Smith on December 12th, 2013 at 8:00 am.

Fragments of Him is a short, free game in which the player observes a man grieving for a lost love, which makes it extremely surprising that nobody at RPS has had a big cry over it yet. Despite the fact that all game journalists are contractually obliged to spend at least one hour every day pretending to be either barbarians, special ops chaps or space marines, we’re a bunch of softies. I’m glad we missed this particular game first time around though because there is news of an enhanced version and having played the original today, I reckon it’d benefit greatly from a few additions. It’s still well worth a look but it’s easy to see the cracks that could be plastered over with a little more development time.

I haven’t played The Novelist yet, but the things that Alec’s heart and head wrote about it put me in mind of Fragments of Him. However, whereas players has the ability to influence events in the former, Fragments places them in an almost entirely passive mode. The only way to interact with the (mostly) frozen scenes is by walking near objects and clicking on them. Certain ones, clearly marked, will fade from view, sometimes triggering a few sentences of spoken commentary from the narrator, who is remembering and mourning his partner.

The voiceover, by designer Mata Haggis himself, sounds like a line reading rather than a performance, but it detracted less from the experience than a lot of acting that studios pay for. It all looks good though, with only the final scene perhaps needing a slight aesthetic boost, which the screenshot above shows is already in the works.

Whether my main quibble will be addressed, I’m not sure. Before moving on, each scene must be cleansed of all the objects that can be removed. At first I thought the order that they were touched might change the narration but I don’t think that’s the case, which means that running around and clicking on them all, particularly the ones that don’t seem relevant to the emotional thrust of the story, is busywork, distracting rather than engaging. By the time I reached the second scene, I was concentrating more on hunting for clickable objects than on weeping into my hands, and that’s not like me at all.

Because some of the interactions are meaningless, serving only to do the equivalent of filling up an experience bar, they pushed me away rather than pulling me in. That said, even if there is no change on that front, I’ll definitely keep an eye out for the updated version. It’s being made with funds from Mediafonds and there are far more details here.

You can play the current version right now.

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11 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    quietone says:

    ” I’m glad we missed this particular game first time around”

    No, you didn’t!

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/05/12/live-free-play-hard-thousands-of-gameplays-and-graphics/

    • Adam Smith says:

      Aha! Live Free confuddles me because I can’t search for things by ‘tag’.

      • Premium User Badge

        quietone says:

        Considering that I’m straight, the two games that moved me the most were this one and Gone Home, strangely enough.
        Which obviously proves that gay people is bad and makes you cry.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    Oh, I remember that one from when Ms. Porpentine posted it. I think it’s great that it got funding for an enhanced version.

    By the time I reached the second scene, I was concentrating more on hunting for clickable objects than on weeping into my hands, and that’s not like me at all.

    Playing Monkey Island with you must be a disturbing experience.

  3. Sharza says:

    This game is an example of a story that would have been better presented in a different form of media in my opinion.

    The story is quite good but having to find yellow objects and clicking on them is neither fun, nor does it help the narration/plot. It actually takes away from the immersion in my opinion since you start walking around randomly, clicking away at everything just so the story may finally continue.

    I mean, I like the idea of how objects disappear, how the world feels like it is dissolving around the narrator (at least that is my interpretation) and how the narrator clears out reminders of the other person the plot is about. It is a great representation of the feeling of loss. But it would have worked so much better as a short movie where, as the plot goes on, objects start fading away and the narration isn’t interrupted by “click on this and that yellow thing”.

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      quietone says:

      Indeed. I forgot how frustrating it became in the end to serach for those clickable objects.

    • The Random One says:

      Maybe. I, personally, didn’t think it was bad because it was a game, I thought it was bad because it was a bad game – I agree with the article that it felt like busywork. I don’t think turning it into a video would improve it more than turning it into a tightly designed game, with less objects that are both larger (easier to find) and more meaningful to the story.

    • Aceria says:

      *deleted*