The Long Kill

by James Blair

Interactive Novel - Thriller
2023

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Intense and depressing but polished game about sniping and horrors of war, November 22, 2023
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

I think I can summarize this game for me by saying that it very effectively told a story that I didnít like.

It is a long twine game about a sniper fighting in Afghanistan, told in non-linear style through different points in his life. It uses a lot of interesting styling, has music, and uses images generated by OpenAI, according to the end credits. The images look almost like hallucinations, fitting for this grim and unpleasant story.

As the author has stated, this story includes scenes of torture and violence. The author writing this has talent, and has used that talent to effectively show the horror of torture. This is not something I enjoyed or wanted.

With multiple wars going on and massive disinformation campaigns causing me trouble in real life it was interesting to spend some time thinking about the game. It does show (and this is something I believe) that most people at the Ďbottomí on both sides arenít there out of hatred or desire to kill but because their government or other leaders have pushed them into it. Itís a terrible job where the better you are at it the more lives you ruin.

On the other hand, it depicts the Afghanistan enemies as being particularly despicable in terms of torture and murder. Iíve always thought that in the past, having grown up during the 20 yr-long war in Afghanistan, so I looked up Ďtorture in Afghanistaní. The first thing that came up was the long-term torture and death of two Afghani citizens carried out by the US. The second was the torture of a British officer by the Taliban.

I donít know, this isnít the kind of stuff I want to read about or really even think about. I would like to help end war, for sure, and I think there are ways I can do that privately and publicly. But I donít think even people who were captured and tortured want other people to learn to vicariously suffer for them. And I donít need more convincing that war atrocities are a very bad thing.

So, the writing on the story was very effective, the use of media and nonlinear narrative was expert, and the math calculations were interesting. But I did not enjoy the game and certainly donít want to play it again.

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