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About the Story
A game about body dysphoria, and nightmares without end.
Number of Reviews: 2
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Not on an intellectual level: the plot makes perfect sense once you get to the end. However, the fear that underlies the story in this game is alien to me. I'm sure that sounds insensitive, and that's not my intention - when I read the blurb, I was expecting gender dysphoria, which is something I know of, even though I'm lucky enough to never have experienced it. Not to spoil anything, the body dysphoria in Staring at a Single Face Forever is something different, and I can't really connect with it.
That said, the game is well implemented, and the writing is top notch. Especially the desert sequence is jealousy-inducingly well written.
In short, a good story and stylistically beautiful. It just didn't connect emotionally with me, which is a bit of a problem when reading an emotionally-driven story. Other players may very well have a different experience.
Even if not, it's well worth a playthrough.
This is a short, somewhat linear, game that is well-written with an attractive, readable presentation.
Despite the merits (quality writing, strong typographical presentation) this game didn't really move me.
This piece failed to move me because it doesn't create a particularly strong bond between the player and the character, who is suffering from emotional distress that may or may not be grounded in physical reality. I don't know enough about the protagonist to feel invested. I feel badly for this person, but I'm not sure why, or what that means. Characterizations and settings are weak in general. I don't know who anyone is nor do I have any idea where I am meant to be.
One of the strengths of this type of game should be in the "reveal". In this case, I think the game suffers from an ambivalence towards the reveal. It isn't sure what it is revealing or what matters--the different settings it pushes through seem to distract from the real focus, which is the characters identity. The game makes us question the reality of our experience, and distracts from the more meaningful focus of our identity. The character is presented as unreliable and out of touch, which makes us question the input and information in a way that is not sympathetic but distant.
I think this game would benefit from paring down the different world experiences, and focusing on the character and interactions with the worlds the character is in. The central theme/mystery here is our identity, and by jumping into so many different settings, so quickly, the game instead makes us question the nature of the game, not the nature of the protagonist, which is part of why I had a hard time connecting to the character.
This piece reminded me of works of fiction like Correspondence by Sue Thomas. I loved--adored--Correspondence, and felt an incredible resonance with the book and the character. The longer format of a short novel perhaps helps build the bond and sense of investment between reader and protagonist in that case, but I'd suggest the author look at the way the character is presented in Correspondence and consider ways to build up the protagonist in his game.