One of my favourite game-related anecdotes to tell – y’know, to get out at the fancy dinner parties we have where games journalists get together to collude and decide which games will be reviewed well over the coming months – is about Firewatch.
In Firewatch you spend the summer working in a national park watching for fires. Sitting and living in your big weird one room home on stilts. Walking around finding turtles. Looking at your map and exploring. That kind of thing. There’s a weird mystery subplot and whatever, but for the purposes of this short post I’m going to hand wave that away.
Anyway, in Firewatch you get a disposable camera, which you can use to take pictures of the beautiful forest and nature, and so on. Players could send away for and receive high quality prints of the photos they took.
Except, I didn’t use it for that. I took my job as a park ranger very seriously. Know what I used that camera for? What I naturally assumed it was for? Documenting forest crime.
Those teenagers skinny dippy? They left a fire improperly extinguished and unattended! *click!* What’s this? Littering! *click!* Hmm, improperly managed climbing equipment eh? Not on my [fire]watch! *click!*
This is usually met with genuine laughter, I think mostly out of relief that nobody ruined the Firewatch experience for themselves as much as I did. But the point is, it’s a good game and you should play it.