A fourth entry in my video series on detective games. It’s not real surprise that this game would end up in this series: I’ve taught it twice now (including in one class this term), I’ve written about teaching it, I named it one of the games of the decade, and right before the term launched I published a full transcript of it. What I didn’t expect was for it to be quite this long—definitely among the longer analyses of a single game I’ve done, in any format.
Ian here, cooped up during the shelter-in-place order and busy prepping for this quarter’s classes.
So I did that thing again, where I’m preparing to teach and/or critically analyze a game, make a guide for myself, and I figure I might as well put it online for public consumption. This time, it’s a complete transcript of all of the video assets in HER STORY, Sam Barlow’s 2015 full-motion video adventure that plays devious games with its script, before it ever adopted video format.
If you’ve ever wanted to fill in a pesky block in the HER STORY‘s in-game Database Checker while chasing the “Detective Chief Inspector” achievement, this guide is for you. As for me, it will be a course tool when I teach the game again this quarter, and it forms the research backbone of my next video essay.
In the past 12 months, three full-motion video adventure games were released. The big tech companies are in the midst of a full-on push to get us to strap VR headsets to our face. And Hidden Agenda (Supermassive Games, 2017), specially crafted to highlight Sony’s brand new PlayLink system, looks for all the world like an evolutionary outgrowth of I’m Your Man (Bob Bejan, 1992), Loews’ experiment in audience-polling interactive cinema.
To quote a 1990s-era television series that itself returned in 2017: What year is it? Because it certainly seems that the game industry is partying like it’s 1993. At this rate, it’s astonishing that we haven’t seen the release of a “3DO Classic” console to accompany the SNES Classic Edition.
I have been observing this trend more than I have been directly participating in it.(Despite positioning myself as a scholar specializing on the intersection of cinema and videogames, I haven’t yet gotten a group together to play Hidden Agenda, and I’ve fallen behind on the stead stream of FMV games.) Still, though, the trend has been noteworthy enough to comment upon as the year wraps up. Below the fold you’ll find two capsule reviews of things that piqued my interest.