If your friend asked you a question – innocuous or not – they wouldn’t just sit there, quietly, waiting for you to answer. They’d continue the conversation with a follow-up query or statement, or they’d change the topic.
The point is: they wouldn’t just… wait. But that’s what video game characters regularly do when players are given dialogue options. NPCs shut their traps, eagerly awaiting the cue line that allows them to open their mouths again.
The teenagers of Oxenfree don’t do that. Their chats are interruption-filled messes. And it’s pure magic.
Time doesn’t stand still when you’re given the option to speak your mind in Oxenfree. Other characters in the scene will often be nattering away, and it’s up to you whether you want to interject. Obviously, there are silences – every discussion doesn’t have to be a heated one – but your moment to speak often coincides with someone else’s moment to shut the hell up. It feels real.
The characters, too, are as authentic as a group of teenagers with a supernatural radio can be, thanks to superb acting and a great script.
Thankfully, in a carefully-crafted article about an adventure game from 2016, no one can butt-in and ruin your clever closing statem- [Colm has reached his word count – ed.].