I wish I had not played this game

by Galejade - Elise Trinh

Slice of life
2014

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
A simplistic morality tale, March 15, 2021
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)

I wish I had not played this game: this certainly reminds one of the bad old IFComp days when people would enter games with titles like "Worst IF Game Ever". But despite appearances, this particular games is not disparaging itself in its title; for the game it mentions is not the game we play, but the 'game' of living for your work and sacrificing all for wealth.

In fact, I wish I had not played this game is a tidy little morality tale. We follow a poor immigrant as he works his way up a cut-throat corporate ladder until he is very wealthy indeed. Every little scene leads to two choices, one which expresses regret over our actions, one which expresses determination to win the game. Except for some minor variations in the final message, our choices make no difference, for they all lead to this end:
(Spoiler - click to show)

I am in a nice room, with great windows, soft curtains. The sun is shining high. A warm breeze is making me smile.

I am dying alone.
Which actually doesn't sound that bad? I think we are supposed to feel that dying alone is the worst thing in the universe; and perhaps it is (I never tried); but the sun is shining and a warm breeze is making me smile. Kind of nice! Anyway, the real moral is this:
When the game is flawed, there is nothing to win in the end.

If you do not want to sacrifice your life, play another game.
Which is hard to disagree with. The protagonist is clearly leading a miserable life in his quest for money and success. So don't do that! But while true, this is also quite simplistic. Who needs to hear this? Who disagrees with it? A game like this might actually be very interesting if it asks us to choose between success/wealth on the one hand and friendship/love/moral character on the other hand; if its measures of success seduce us into sacrifices the impact of which becomes obvious only later on. Or there could be more moral of psychological depth in some other way. But as it is, I wish I had not played this game is quite one-dimensional and simplistic. It gets the job done, but one hopes the author will take on more demanding jobs in the future.