Hidden Gems, Hidden Secrets

by Naomi Norbez & Josh Grams profile

Slice of life

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Number of Reviews: 2
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Death and dark secrets threaten a discord community, March 6, 2023
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

This is a great, character driven mixed-media game that simulates discord while also using additional text and pdf files to tell an overall story.

Bez and Josh Grams teamed up on this one, with Bez writing and Josh programming (according to credits), and I think the division of labor worked great, because the writing is on-point and the coding is very smooth and looks fancy.

The main thrust of the game is a Discord conversation between a group of friends that gathered together over the years to discuss an obscure (and fictional) poet. However, the main leader of the group is in a car crash. While this is being announced, dark secrets bubble up.

You take turns as the various members of the discord group, selecting between different variations of how to respond. It definitely seemed like my choices could influence the story heavily, but I chose a particular path of every time to get more juicy gossip.

In between the choices, there are interludes with additional information over the years.

I think this is some of the strongest writing I've seen in a while: a diverse cast of characters, realistic scenarios, people reacting the way they do in real life. It was especially jarring because I've lived through or seen a few different variations of the events depicted in this game.

There were a few quibbles I had; I was torn about the timed text, because it does make it harder to fit a game in during a busy schedule, but it definitely contributes to the overall feel of the game. Also, I feel like the game could have been just a little longer or have a firmer resolution. Otherwise, this is a game that I felt joy to play.

Edit: Apparently the poet Dorn is real. Who knew?