Thursday 18 January, 2018
I played a little over an hour tonight. There's still a lot I love about this game, but I'm starting to get frustrated as well. There is definitely a sense of a mystery being at play, and yet it doesn't seem to be headed anywhere. I think I'm at day 63 in the game, but nothing has really developed all that much regarding my ransacked watchtower (besides finding the teenager's wrecked campsite and discovering later that they are missing). I guess I just feel that the game isn't delivering on promises that it made -- or at least, it's not delivering on them as quickly as I would like. I kept expecting the quests that I went on to have some greater meaning or influence on the plot, but instead I just went on another quest to pick up supplies that had little to no meaning.
My relationship with Delilah, though, is fascinating. I like Delilah -- who she is, how she talks, the way she treats my player character. I enjoy talking with her, and I always choose the nice, friendly dialogue option when talking to her. However, the last 15 minutes or so of gameplay I played turned from being nice and friendly to being flirtatious. I was fine with it for the first few seconds (I like Delilah, after all), until I suddenly remembered that I'm married. Then it all felt wrong, and it felt like I, as the player, had made wrong choices in making what I thought were the right choices. I felt like a bad person for cheating on my ill and disabled wife, if only in thought. Then I realized that none of this was real, but I still had those negative feelings, and the true ethical dilemma of the game started to become clearer to me.
I also distinctly noticed the audio this time playing the game, which I hadn't noticed or paid attention to in earlier playthroughs. The use of music is very sparse, and only comes up during particularly big reveals or discoveries, such as when you're about to walk on to the teenagers' campsite. The music then stops, and the sudden lack of music becomes just as big of a statement as the music itself. It made everything seem eerie and intense, even though very little about the scene itself was that way.
Great job Kendall, it’s great that you are considering the decisions you make and what that means in the larger context of the game. Consider this, video games can provide a space for players to make tough decisions and see the consequences of their actions. Why might Henry choose to cheat on his sick and disabled wife and why might the player choose to do that? Does being disconnected from these characters, both physically as a player who is not a part of Firewatch’s fictional world ,and visually as a character who never sees Delilah or Henry’s wife, make the player’s decisions more or less ethical?
Wednesday 24 January, 2018 by zhardy