To continue where Kyle left off on the topic of great indie games (see Kyle’s review of Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet), I feel it’s about time I write about One Chance, one of my favorite games of the last year (you can find it here as well). With the current economic and political climate… well, it seems to me that if you haven’t played this game, you should. Fast. Right now. What are you waiting for? It’ll take maybe fifteen minutes of your life.
Those 15 minutes, though, are both provoking and jarring. A strange combination of The Omega Man and [rec] (the incredibly frightening film that became the basis of Quarantine and other movies), One Chance pits you as John Pilgrim, a doctor who has created the cure for cancer. But in six days, every living cell on earth will be dead.
For thirty years, the world played games with a reset and a pause button. First games had two endings: You won or you lost. Now a days games across all platforms have became more “choose your own adventure”-y, with the decisions and choices you make deciding the final outcome. This game rejects all those concepts. The decisions you make are final. You might not get an ending you want. You’ll never be able to play the game a different way. Or even play it again. And that’s ok. Your decisions, moral or ethical or simply selfish, are yours, and have repercussions in the outcome. There are many different endings to One Chance, but you will only see one. I remember every step of the game I played seven months ago and the ending I will never be able to change.
The limitations on graphics and control has led the designers to rely on portability and versatility. Instead of creating an ornate, fantastical adventure that leads to victory or death (and a reset button), Awkward Silence relies on a haunting score, restraint, and pace. They fight through visual restraints to maximize story telling in a wholly new form. Much like certain poetic and musical structures (haiku, for example), the artist must do his or her best to maximize the form. Embrace it and reject it at the same time. Poetry may forever be in flux, but people will never stop writing in haiku.
This is resistance. It is a way to get back. But not sell out.
For more on One Chance and its pseudo-philosophical and psychological impact, Line Hollis wrote a great article that can give you more to chew on. More articles are out there debating endings, purpose, cause… and make you need a therapist to sort it all out. Even he/she might not be qualified enough.
Until then, how did your game end?
Mine ended like this.