Life Flashes By

It's a Wonderful Life Flashes By

When I got the call to write this week's Fringe Busters, I went through my RSS feeds to check what I'd recently marked as interesting. It turns out that most of what was pushing my buttons had little in the way of gameplay. Lots of indie dev projects out there run into objections that they're "not a game." Let's set that issue aside for the day, because I'd like to skip over the hazier part of the debate and look at interactive stories. This doesn't have to be a game.

Folks talk about their "life flashing before their eyes" in a near-death experience. In Life Flashes By, Deirdra Kiai offers a somewhat interactive version of that experience, complete with "what if" alternate scenarios. You can choose the order that important events are relived, though alternate scenarios are only unlocked after you've seen the original event.

The main character re-experiences a series of events in which she confronted expectations and pressures (both internal and external) to act or even feel a certain way. But, then, maybe it wasn't all as bad as it could have been.

Life Flashes By presents itself directly to the audience, with a straightforward style and dry delivery of lines. The whole package comes across a bit like a Brendon Small cartoon.

Talking Points: What, if anything, does the minimal interactivity add to your experience of the story? Do you find it easy to sympathize with the main character? Might you feel differently about the main character if this were a non-interactive animated short? How do you think the deadpan style influenced your experience?

[size=20]Try It Out[/size]

Comments

Tagged to try it when I get home

I liked the song over the ending credits.

I dug through the poor woman's whole actual life before going into any of the fun alternate realities, and OH MAN depressing. I would recommend breaking up your ordering when you play so as not to do that.

Switchbreak wrote:
I liked the song over the ending credits.

I dug through the poor woman's whole actual life before going into any of the fun alternate realities, and OH MAN depressing. I would recommend breaking up your ordering when you play so as not to do that.

Yeah, glad I didn't do that. Not that her life is that depressing, just that it's generally scenes where others expected things of her that she was rejecting.

It was a nice departure from my regular distraction and I enjoyed the narrative. It was a little hard to get past a lot of the rest of the production (voices, art, etc), but glad I did. The few times that the side conversations gave me a choice in responses to Trevin left me with a feeling of character progression in an interesting way. And in that sense it succeeds as a game instead of the point and click storybook it feels like for the most part.

I thought it was pretty great. It was a fun game that didn't overstay its welcome.