Number of Reviews: 7
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Dark Humor in Bad Taste, November 22, 2010
This game seems to have a lot of negative reviews, and I can understand why: it deals with teen suicide in a joking manner. A topic like this is contraversial, and the author doesn't treat it as the serious topic perhaps he should.
I think a lot of the problem comes from his help file, where he states that it's meant to be serious. Clearly, it is not. While some endings do show the protagonist being maimed (due to failed suicide) or show the parents getting divorced or falling into dispair due to successful suicide, some do not. It seems that the true purpose of this piece is to make light of a social issue.
I admit, I was one of the playtesters on this game, and perhaps I had special insight, knowing the author personally. I also don't have any personal insight into actual suicide, so perhaps I didn't treat it as if suicide was somehow a "taboo" topic.
I thought the game was hilarious- I'll go ahead and say it. It's harder to die than to not die, and that's obviously the point. Some of the endings are ridiculous (Urban Legend, Out of the fire and into the frying pan), and some deaths that should have worked did not (Spoiler - click to show) such as slitting the wrists while in the bath tub .
The girl wants to kill herself because (Spoiler - click to show) she's upset about her boyfriend ditching her to go out with her teen enemy . Sure, not a good reason to commit suicide, but then, one of the top reasons people commit suicide is due to chemical imbalances in the brain, such as being bipolar. While the game never comes out and says this, it seems to imply by the girl's description of things that she is bipolar, especially with how easily she gives up on suicide once she's in a good mood.
The author pulls a subtle double-bluff in this game. The given purpose is to kill yourself, with the twist being that it's difficult. Of course, the double-twist is that it is possible to succeed in changing the girl's mind, deciding instead to give up on suicicide. There are a few ways to do this, but it is possible. (Spoiler - click to show) Not having tried ecstasy myself, I can't speak too much about it's use, but I do know that it used to be prescribed by therapists to rape victims to help in therapy, and after taking the ecstasy the girl does go get therapy, so perhaps that's just the catalyst that got her to seek help .
If you look past the subject matter and don't take it too seriously, there's fun to be had in this game. If you can't do that, then save the girl instead of killing her. If Dan made a mistake with this, I'd say he tried to appeal to both the people who would want to save the girl, and the people who would want to kill the girl at the same time.
If it were me, I'd have removed the disclaimer in the help file and just stood behind the game for what it is: a south park style joke about suicide. I think a lot of the problems come from people thinking it was something else (as another person says: a bait-and-switch). It's not 5 star material, but I think it has a lot of replay value and is fun, and that's what makes a good game to me.