Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Currently Listening - Life is Strange 9/16/15

Just play and read...until the next video (then repeat)

If any of my fellow interns has walked in to my twee hipster music in the morning (read: Chante) and has questioned (questioned what? Just...questioned), here it is: the reasons for my particular twee-ness. Pack in kids, this is going to be long.

If you're like me and are dissatisfied with the video games you play because of your incredibly annoying Type A nitpicking, you'll know that finding the "perfect" game can be... hard. I mean, why is it that all of the heartfelt indie games look like early generation Pokemon or Minecraft (Minecraft...*eye twitches*)? And all of the "realistic" non-indie games involve shooting someone somehow somewhere. Not that there's anything wrong with shooters. Go catharsis and all that.

Me crying
So here I was, wallowing in all of these first world problems, when the Indie Game Gods blessed my self-pitying ass with a game. A hella. Good. Game.
Hella Chloe (I'll stop saying "hella" now)

Choices. The game is about choices. Maxine ("Max") Caulfield, the character whom you play as, is a photography student at a prestigious specialized high school in the fictional town of Arcadia Bay, Oregon (I'm not going to get into the extensive fan theory about the name of the town, because I care about my readers. I really do. In fact, go treat yourself right now. ...and come back to read this pls I need you to know about my game). Because she is a (non-obnoxious) hipster, she uses a Polaroid camera to photograph just about anything of interest. Her photography class is taught by the fine but oh so pretentious Mr. Jefferson, a world-renowned photographer.

The school is indeed run by an elite band of popular kids who call themselves the Vortex Club, which is, for some reason, a legitimate extracurricular activity at the school. Victoria Chase and Nathan Prescott (whose family is so rich they pretty much own Arcadia Bay) head it.

Vortex Club theme (basically)

You feel like you're living Max's life. As you control her movements, you discover that there are so many things to look at and people to talk to (indicated by white arrows). 
Look at all da things
Little things like extra people doing stuff on campus, squirrels darting across the footpaths, and wind blowing through trees outside make the game so immersive.

Max, in an effort to save a girl (who turns out to be her childhood best friend, Chloe) from getting shot in the girl's bathroom (this is SO not a spoiler; just play 5 minutes of the game), stumbles upon an ability to rewind time. This rewinding is limited to a few minutes, or to erase a choice/action. This newfound ability seems to arrive just in time, as Max has been having scary-realistic visions of a huge tornado                                                                                        coming to hit Arcadia Bay in a few days.

Choices. Now that Max has the freedom to see all outcomes of possible actions, the game's milestones are structured around majorly consequential choices. Because of this, the game can have many, many different timelines and endings.
~This choice will have consequences~
Your powers didn't work here, did they.

Max's powers are weird and implied to be unstable. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. Which matters a LOT depending on the circumstances. One time, she freezes time; another time, she travels through a Polaroid picture to the time which it was taken (5 years ago).

Do you want to play this yet? Or are you glancing at your watch, waiting for me to talk about some actual goddamn music?

The soundtrack to this game is absolutely gorgeous, and the circumstances from the game surrounding them make listening to them so special.

Spotify link:

I'm currently listening to this soundtrack because I've been living in Arcadia Bay. And I'm anxiously waiting for Episode 5 (the final one). Mmm what you say...

As you've probably realized by now, I've snuck in the soundtrack throughout this post, so I *technically* wasn't off track the ENTIRE time...right?

Over and out,

Alex Caruso

P.S. Et in Arcadia ego.

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