Killing Time at Lightspeed

by Gritfish

Science Fiction
2016

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Number of Reviews: 2
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Interesting, but ultimately superficial, December 24, 2019

The main conceit of the game, social media accelerated through Einstein relativity, is very clever and interesting. The story that is told, focusing mainly on cybernetics, is pretty good, and is mostly told through news articles, a conceit that I like; mechanically, it feels similar to The Endling Archive, Orwell, Analogue A Hate Story, or my own Life on Mars. However, the writer frequently inserts references of parodies of our world, of clickbait and witty twitter things, in a way that really took me out of it.

My main criticism lies with the social media aspect of the game. When I compare the blurb (see your friends grow old and you have to say goodbye to them) to the game experience, it's really underwhelming. As far as I can tell, there's not much you get to change, no branching paths, and things just deflate at the end in an underwhelming way (or, given content gets scarce, in a way that feels like the author's deadline was approaching). The characters are well-defined, but they don't change very much over the 10-20 year period, and nothing feels sad or wistful about it because you're not spending that much time with them after all (it's literally the concept of the game). More interactions with them would have been nice (like at the beginning, to establish relationships more), but I think the game also lacks a voice for our character, a possibility to express sadness, nostalgia, grief, etc. (Especially at the end.) There's a discrepancy between our experience (20 minutes on facebook) and theirs (decades), but it's a bit hollow and doesn't come accross very clearly, and it doesn't seem to matter to anybody (at least, i didn't feel involved, or with any urgency - especially since the tone stays the same throughout). It's a shame, because it's the central device of the game, and I feel like it didn't quite pull it off. An interesting game nonetheless!