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    dkirschner's The Red Strings Club (PC)

    [July 25, 2021 01:22:10 PM]
    I started trying to play this on a train last week with no mouse. I was instantly intrigued by the setting and story (I knew I would be), but using a trackpad to mix drinks and to mold implants was really difficult, so I stopped playing while on the train. Fast forward to the last couple days and I've been able to get into it and it's a really enjoyable experience! I've never played a point-and-click quite like this. I guess I would call it a point-and-click, but it's not really that while being other less easily describable things too.

    You play (mostly) as a bartender who mixes drinks to manipulate clients' emotions and procure information. The story is about a corporation that is about to update everyone's neural implants and basically smooth out the emotions of everyone in society (e.g., sadness remains, but not depression; anger remains, but not rage). The bartender, his boyfriend, and some other hacktivist folks are trying to stop this update from happening.

    The drink mixing and bar conversations are the most interesting part of the game. You are given goals for information that you need to find out (e.g., who is the CEO of the corporation?) and you mix drinks for the various corporate suits who come to the bar and try to get it out of them. There's a little mixing minigame where you have to align a circle with emotions located on the body. Liquors move the circle in different directions; ice shrinks it; mixing in a shaker makes effects more potent; etc.

    Anyway, as I reflect on the game, really what I take away is how smart the writing is. It touches a lot of philosophical topics from transhumanism to ethics to sexuality and gender identity. You'll grapple with questions about whether marketing is inherently unethical and whether depression should be allowed and whether corporations can actually serve the public good, and you'll see a game that really does a good job having diverse characters and not making a thing about it. It's cool to see a world where people are comfortable with whatever sexuality, where race doesn't seem to be correlated with any kind of position in a corporation (or in a hacktivist group), and so on. The one thing that I did notice is that the game deadnames a trans character. Maybe in this dystopian future no one cares about deadnaming because transitioning may become more normal and accepted, but given how rooted in the present day so much of its commentary on social issues is, it was an odd choice.

    So play this for the thought-provoking story and the novel way of telling it. The engagement of the gameplay declines toward the end. The whole last segment is actually pretty boring. I had flashbacks to working in a call center. *shudder*
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    dkirschner's The Red Strings Club (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Wednesday 21 July, 2021

    GameLog closed on: Sunday 25 July, 2021

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Interesting setting and minigames! Thought I could play this without a dedicated mouse, but it's hard. ------ Really thoughtful game. Great writing.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

    Related Links

    See dkirschner's page

    See info on The Red Strings Club

    More GameLogs
    other GameLogs for this Game
    1 : The Red Strings Club (PC) by Chuanqi Liu (rating: 5)
    2 : The Red Strings Club (PC) by jp (rating: 5)


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