Shall we play a new #game from Sam ‘Her Story’ Barlow?


I make references to old movies, because I am an old man who only thinks about the past. In this case, the reference is to 80s ‘teen hacker almost accidentally nukes the world’ thriller Wargames. Y’know, the one that no-one remembers anything about other than “shall we play a game?” But don’t we all feel like best friends when we quote it together?

We already knew that Sam Barlow, the fella behind FMV detective game Her Story, was working on an interactivery movie sorta thing using the license, but now we get the teaser trailer, and a sense of how cold war nuclear terror has been updated for a new age of electronic disquiet. The fact that this is called #Wargames, rather than simply Wargames, probably provides some clues to this.

You’ll note that millions of people dying in a nuclear fire is not something referenced, despite 2017 having been a year in which some feared that sort of eventuality had returned to the table. What’s mentioned instead is the recent spate of high-profile hacks at the likes of Sony, Yahoo and Equifax – and thus the feared downfall of society as a result of digital information theft. In other words, it’s sounding a wee bit Mr Robot.


Well, also to be gleaned from Sam Barlow’s Twitter today is some sniffing around the question of whether or not this counts as a ‘game’ (of course it does, don’t be silly):

…and the promise that, though the subjective matter seems dystopian, the tone will be at least somewhat chummy:

There’s no mention of a returning Matthew Broderick, though this is an official MGM joint, so who knows what surprises they might have forked out for?

But we get the quote at the end of the video, and that’s all that matters, right? Oh, that and the ‘2018’ release date.


  1. rustybroomhandle says:

    Hmmmm… *scratches chin*… nnnnnnaaaaaaaw. Need more info maybe.

  2. Someoldguy says:

    I prefer this quote, because it applies to so many games offered up these days, for me.

    “A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?”

    • durrbluh says:

      Also, “the only winning move is not to play” line is far more commonly referenced than “shall we play a game?” Old Man Meer is totally out of touch with what’s “hip” and “with it”.

      • skeletortoise says:

        Referenced so frequently, in fact, that it never even occurred to me that it was a reference in the numerous times I’ve heard it in my life.

  3. napoleonic says:

    Wargames. Y’know, the one that no-one remembers anything about other than “shall we play a game?”

    Surely everyone also remembers “A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.”?

    • Turkey says:

      I have a weird Mandela effect memory of the super-computer exploding cause they ask it what love is.

      • April March says:

        Does it then beg Matthew Broderick, ‘baby don’t hurt me’?

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      keithzg says:

      I mostly remember it as the movie that literally was shown and scared Reagan into, amongst other things, prompting the creation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, or CFAA, which makes any “unauthorized access” of a computer system a potential felony. And yes, that does mean that using a VPN to get American Netflix could potentially be a felony, it’s written and has been applied that broadly (Aaron Schwartz went to jail for downloading publicly-funded research from JSTOR even though he had a JSTOR account, that’s how broad this can be).

      Thanks, Hollywood! (I mean, thanks Dementia Eating What Little Was There Of Reagan’s Brain To Begin With, to be fair.)

  4. PachPachis says:

    From some strategic pausing, the flashing images in the middle seem like it’s about an American invasion of the “North African Republic”. Is that the name for their ultimate generic Notrealistan, or because it’s set in the near future are they going to do that sci-fi thing where a bunch of countries spontaneously unite?

  5. Monggerel says:

    I played Aisle a long time ago on a recommendation and decided that “Barlow” is indeed the absolute most appropriate name possible for his work.
    Admittedly, that game is from like 2000 so, what ever, anyone can improve.
    So I watch a walkthrough (not a Let’s Play) of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. Nope, he’s still a god damn hack. Certainly better than, say, David Caje, but he could achieve that by simply not being a creepy fucking sociopath.

    So then I hear Her Story’s hyped as this cool puzzle game with some orthogonal storytelling, and look at a walkthrough of that.
    Nope. Sam Barlow delivers the usual Sam Barlow quality which is hack writing and the abso-fucking-lutely most painful “symbolism” imaginable.

    It’s not that bad! It’s horrible, but at least you apparently won’t be laughed at for liking it. Sam Barlow’s games are still better than Stephanie Mayer’s books, I suppose.

    • Hans says:

      Cage is at least unpredictable in his craziness. Barlow on the other hand just tosses a pile of predictable cliches out there and relies on misleading marketing to make it look like it’s something it’s not. Like Shattered Memories’ entire premise resting on the fact that it was falsely marketed as a remake of Silent Hill 1.

    • Masked Dave says:

      All of the figuring out *is* the game of Her Story, so reading a walkthrough is possibly the worst possible way to experience it.

  6. caff says:

    Pretty hyped for this. Never knew of Sam Barlow before I read John’s review of Her Story here. Still a memorable game in my opinion worthy of me investigating future stuff. But John’s review is even more memorable than the game, for his hilarious cutting analysis of the lead actresses’ RADA credentials :)

  7. Merus says:

    I don’t know what’s with these comments, I’m on board. Barlow’s proved a deft hand at thinking through how unusual interactivity shapes a story, so the concept of a semi-interactive mini-series, a frightful prospect in your average jobber’s hands, is far more reassuring in Barlow’s. Hashtag Wargames no withstanding.

  8. Masked Dave says:

    Loved Her Story so very excited for this.