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Wake Up, Time To Cry: 4PM

4PM started life as an experimental project at the National Film and Television School in the UK”, says the press information, and the developer’s eight-year background in film is apparent in the trailer below. There’s more than a slight hint of David ‘Rusty’ Cage about the scenes, particularly when input prompts appear in the environment like a giant nudge in the mind-ribs to recapture the player’s attention. I dislike Cage’s games because their stories are absolute twaddle rather than because of any perceived failure to be ‘proper’ interactive experiences. Hopefully 4PM’s short-form narrative will be more appealing.

As long as the life-changing events don’t involve the man on the roof being the kung-fu-fightin’ physical embodiment of the internet or a horny corpse, I’m willing to give this a shot. This kind of interactive storytelling tends to suit compact plots, where the impact of a decision can spin out from beginning to end without the choice itself being entirely forgotten during the middle bit.

The story is a familiar one.

You wake up, your flat is a mess, you have a terrible hangover, sounds of the city and police sirens outside. Another day in the life of Caroline Wells and her dull, corporate job. You get up, thinking that this is going to be just another day on your downward spiral, but what lies ahead are a series of life changing, cathartic experiences.

I may not be called Caroline Wells but I know all about messy flats, terrible hangovers (not today, boss, honest, boss, not on a weeknight) and dull, corporate jobs (not this job, boss, honest, boss, not ever this job). I’ve had a few life changing, cathartic experiences in my time too. They mostly end in terrible hangovers and an even messier flat.

4PM is out on July 9th. It’s coming to Steam.

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Adam Smith

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