The most horrible thing happened last night; Jessica walked in on me while I was on the computer.
There I was, relaxing, taking some much needed me time, forgetting about the world around me, trying to just focus on the monitor. The screen was awash in lovely graphics while my speakers pumped out some soothing soft jams. The oddly compelling story of drama-tastic love had me in a haze of sorts. There was so much going on. So many people’s feelings to consider, relationships to manage, grades to think of. I was so engrossed that I didn’t even hear anyone enter the room, I just heard a voice belt out “What in the holy hell are you doing?” behind me.
“Nothing!” I shouted nervously in an uncharacteristically high pitched tone. “I’m just playing a game!”
“It sure doesn’t look like a game,” replied Jessica as she sharply looked between me and the screen “it looks more like you’re reading schoolgirl manga.”
“No, it’s a game, based on an online comic called Destiny Fails Us.”
“Uh huh.” she replied skeptically. “Do you shoot people in it? That Draco Malvoy kid in the suit looks like he needs to be shot in the face.”
“No! There’s no shooting in this game!” I replied defensively. “Although, if you could, he’d be the one to cap, he’s a jerk.”
“What’s the point of the game? It doesn’t look like you’re doing anything. Have that pink haired girl hit the green haired one. Wait, is this Dead or Alive?”
“You don’t do stuff like that, you mostly read through the various scenes then you’re given a chance to decide what to do next. Some of the things are simple, like whether or not to walk to school with your friend, up to which boy I choose to like.” I explained.
“So, it’s a Choose Your Own Adventure book? With schoolgirls? How are you not arrested?” she said sarcastically. “That’s not a game, that’s a litmus test for sex offenders.”
My pride as a gamer and as a man on the line, I fought back, “Not all games are Call of Duty, or Candy Crush. In some games, like this one, you read things, and get to know the characters. Your decisions don’t just take you to the next story branch, they impact how other characters feel about you, which can have significant impacts down the road. For example, check out these two guys, which one do you think I should try and get with in the end?”
Jessica stood there, saying nothing.
“Ok, ok! How about this, the character I’m playing, Idril, isn’t doing so awesome in school. But she also loves videogames. Do I study, or play video games?”
“Seems kind of shallow” Jessica said dismissively.
I continued playing while Jessica stood over me, staring, judging, silently mocking. I wanted to die. I clicked through the game mindlessly, silently happy there wasn’t full speech added to the game yet.
“Holy crap!” Jessica exclaimed. “Did the mom just smack the crap out of her? That’s awesome. That’s what girl gets for trying to hide her grades!”
As I continued playing the game turned much more somber, the kind of sadness that would come from a girl being smacked by her mother for just being a teenage. As the game transitioned outside to Idril struggling to cope with what happened, Jessica all but kicked me out of the computer chair.
“Step aside,” she commanded, “you don’t know how to handle these types of situations.”
Jessica picked up the game quickly, it’s pretty intuitive after all, just reading and clicking, reading and clicking. As shallow as that may sound Jessica quickly became engrossed in the world of Destiny Fails Us. Once she completed the demo she started it over again, debating aloud whether or not to respond to text messages, whose side to pick in a school fight, all the way back to the fateful moment near the end of the demo where Idril chooses whether to deceive her mother.
Once she finished her second play through of the demo, Jessica put it succinctly when she said that Destiny Fails Us “…isn’t played, it’s experienced.”
To learn more about Destiny Fails Us check out its Kickstarter Page. They’re funding for the next few days. You can also download the demo for yourself.
If you’re a bit more passive, be sure to check out Kristi’s playthrough of the entire demo, it’s pretty entertaining.
If nothing else, enjoy the theme song.