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11:45: A Vivid Life is an intense game of body archaeology

Do you ever think about the human body? Just like, really think about it? About how it’s a complete mess of systems that somehow manage to hold together, even in the face of incredible damage, except that it doesn’t have a super great way of restoring that damage fully, so over your life it becomes a journal of all the especially physically dramatic occurrences you’ve experienced, written in scars and stretch marks and all manner of odd lumps?

Anyway, I played 11:45: A Vivid Life recently.

11:45: A Vivid Life is a game by Deconstructeam, who are probably best known for The Red Strings Club but have also made a whole host of smaller games that I really enjoy, including Behind Every Great One and Zen And The Art of Transhumanism. It’s about a woman, Laynie, who’s skeleton doesn’t belong to her.

There are certainly lots of reasons why this could be relatable. Personally I had two pretty significant operations a couple of months ago and have therefore had both reason and way too much time on my hands to really think about how weird the human body is, so I was primed to like this.

However, don’t worry if you don’t have pre-made medical feelings to sort through. The game will provide them, mostly through extremely intense sound effects (heed the content warnings at the beginning of the game if you think you might need them) as Laynie X-rays herself and then performs impromptu self-surgery in an attempt to figure out just what events her body is evidence of.

How she ultimately interprets the facts is up to you, and all of the conclusions are pretty out there. It’s also a self-described “narrative experiment on something secret” the developers are working on, so the endings raise more questions than they answer. But if you want a game where you can get caught up in the strangeness of physical form and personal identity, you couldn’t do much better.

11:45: A Vivid Life is available to download for pay what you want with no minimum price on itch.io.

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Who am I?

Jay Castello

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Jay writes about video games, falls down endless internet rabbit holes, and takes a lot of pictures of flowers.

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