jp's Heavy Rain (PS3)
| [July 5, 2010 03:07:32 PM]
| I guess I should note what my main "achievements" were (in no particular order):
1. Saved the kid.
2. Saved all the main characters.
3. Didn't kill the dealer.
4. Cut off finger
5. Ethan and Madison in a relationship
6. Jayden's off drugs.
7. Lauren died.
8. Didn't drink the poison.
9. Wasn't able to get Shaun to bed happy, played with him in the park but couldn't remember what he was wearing.
10. Ethan wasn't busted.
11. Madison didn't strip.
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| [July 2, 2010 09:01:38 PM]
| So, I've already finished the game. It's an experience entirely worth playing through, and perhaps more importantly, I think it's one of those games you get more out of when you talk about it with other people.
I feel somewhat guilty writing about it now, when I should have been writing more as I played it. It was a conscious decision on my part (as in, not pure laziness) because I was preparing for a panel discussion about this game. I didn't want to share too many of my thoughts in this public forum because, well, I guess I had some sense that my thought might be more surprising if I hadn't aired them earlier? It doesn't make all that much sense now that I'm writing this, but hey, I do plan on writing (academically) about this game in the near future, so I should at least be able to point in that direction.
So, to sum up, I guess that the most striking things about my experience with this game are:
(a) How easily I allowed myself to be swept away by the promise of an uninterrupted continuous dramatic game experience.
(b) How reluctant I've been about playing the game some more now that I've finished it.
Both of these points go together, at least in my mind. I can better address (a) by referring to an anecdote of sorts. Having finished the game I began some research for the panel and came across Emily Short's critique of its narrative. At one point she described how upset she was about something that happened in the game (that she hadn't meant to have happen) and how she had restarted from an earlier save. This comment hit me like a ton of bricks. It had never occurred to me to do that! I was swept away by the promise that the game would adapt to whatever happened AND that I should be responsible for my choices. So, while I was angry at times because something other than what I wanted (or intended) happened, I forced myself to live with that and to move on. Life, after all, does not have a rewind button. This resulted in a game experience that was intensely personal. I made mistakes and things happened that I hadn't intended, but they were MY mistakes and I enjoy having to own up to them and live them. I feel that playing the game again would diminish that intensity somewhat, and I'm reluctant to let go of that.
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| [March 23, 2010 11:27:28 PM]
| I've played two sessions already. Not a whole lot, but I want to keep detailed notes of each so I'll be writing more than usual for each.
Generally speaking, I'm trying to always do the right (good/ethical) thing as I play. Sometimes it's been hard to figure out what that is.
Played what I would call the intro. Essentially until Jason's accident.
I began by showering, getting dressed, and watching the bird. I then headed downstairs, had some juice, and went to work in the office. I ended up sitting down twice because I didn't realize that I had to wait a while until the next prompts for actions appeared. I think. I'm not sure if I hadn't noticed the first time or what. Anyways, I felt quite responsible by getting stuff done and when Ethan's wife and the kids showed up I helped with the groceries and then went outside to play with the kids. Well, after setting the table and not breaking any plates (I did slam one down a bit carelessly to see what would happen and I was chastised by Ethan's wife).
Ethan's two kids, Shawn and Jason were outside. It's Jason's birthday so when I had to pick who I'd play with first I chose him. Then I played with Shawn (piggyback ride) and ended with a mock sword fight against Jason. I though this last bit was interesting. There were quicktime events that I had to get right in order to beat Jason. However, I realized that the ethical choice in this case was to purposefully fail at them. Not all of them, that would be too obvious, but a few. Essentially, the ethical action was inaction. It was SO tempting to follow the cues and so hard to ignore them. I guess that goes to show how conditioned I've become to on-screen prompts for action in games.
Obviously I found myself relating to my experience as a parent as I went through this part of the game. It's one thing to be competitive, but its another to carefully manage an interaction with a child so that both have fun. I sometimes beat my son at whatever game we're playing, but other times I let him win. It would have been too much to beat Jason at faux sword fighting on his birthday.
After we were done we headed back inside and I had to look for Shawn. I found him upstairs next to the birdcage. The bird was dead. I was surprised by how shocked I was by that. Not so much the bird's death, but the scene in general. I wondered what I would do (will have to do?) in a real-life situation like that.
After that I played the lost-in-the-mall scene. I had scene a video of it already (thanks Penny Arcade) so there was no surprise there for me. However, the scene is very dramatic and effective in that sense. The music, the noise, and the tension does build up quite well. My only frustration is that I'm unable to get Ethan to move any faster than a slow saunter. It seems so contradictory with the desperation of the moment. I couldn't imagine myself slowly pacing around...and I really wanted to yell at Ethan to RUN DAMMIT RUN!
My wife was on the couch watching. When I turned the game off she noted how different the whole experience was. She was definitely surprised.
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jp's Heavy Rain (PS3)
Current Status: Finished playing
GameLog started on: Wednesday 17 March, 2010
GameLog closed on: Monday 5 July, 2010