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It knows what you're thinking, December 12, 2016
[May mention suicide, abusive relationships, self-loathing. Time to completion: 5 minutes]
What to Do describes a Google with sinister intentions - one which sees through the user's seemingly innocuous searches to the doubt and fears behind it. Perhaps it is the intimacy of a search engine that fuels this idea, and the fact that we might address the search engine as we would a friend, and indeed, in the starting screen, the engine introduced itself by saying, "Don't worry about keywords; just talk to us like we're a friend.". It's the ultimate natural language processor, isn't it? These games ask, "What if your ultimate reference, your personal librarian, was thinking, remembering, learning?"
While it may be superficially and mechanically similar to Josh Giesbrecht's Awake, the intent of this game's search engine is unambiguous. Awake's search engine is wide-eyed with wonder. This is actively malicious - this was written for ECTOCOMP, after all.
The text effects are normally much maligned, but are used especially thoughtfully here, making What to Do work well as an interactive vignette of a sinister encounter.