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    dkirschner's Before Your Eyes (PC)

    [April 14, 2024 01:51:13 PM]
    I've been looking forward to playing this, especially after playing One Hand Clapping, which had a singing mechanic. That game activates your mic and you use your voice, raising and lowering pitch, to interact with the game. Before Your Eyes was similar in that the game activates your webcam and uses your eye blinks as input. Before Your Eyes works WAY better than One Hand Clapping, and it's the better game all around. I figure that detecting blinks (yes/no) is easier than detecting notes along the range of human vocal pitch, so kudos to One Hand Clapping for trying.

    Blinking in Before Your Eyes doesn't do anything unless you do it over a prompt (mouse over the prompt, then blink to interact) or unless you do it when the metronome icon is visible, which progresses the story to the next scene. The rules are simple, and it became a game in and of itself for me to blink strategically. I imagined that at the end of A Clockwork Orange, Alex's eyes are forced open so that he could successfully complete this game. At times, I felt like holding my eyes open with my fingers. This is because your eyes will get tired/dry/itchy while playing and you will screw up and blink when you don't mean to, skipping dialogue or ending a scene early. That's frustrating enough. Make sure you do the blink calibration, but I think that no matter how well you do it, it will still occasionally register some non-blinks as blinks. This really didn't happen much for me; through calibration, I think I turned the sensitivity way down, and I wonder what effect wearing glasses had. But like I said, it works surprisingly well.

    So, the game itself is narrative-heavy. It's an obvious play on the idea that a life can pass in the "blink of an eye." You're picked up by a ferryman of souls who asks you to tell the story of your life. Back in time you go to remember it: your childhood, your parents, your career, etc., blinking your way through each scene. I won't spoil the story, but there is a twist that I absolutely did not see coming (though I should have paid more attention to the mysterious dark scenes) that changes the narrative and the tone of the game. This is one you can spend time reflecting on.

    Aesthetically, it's got a simple visual presentation, sort of painterly, with some really nice piano music. The voice acting is good, with the exception of the girl-next-door (who sounds the same at 10 as she does at 40). For some reason, they also used the same voice actor for your dad and her dad, which made the one scene with her dad calling her very confusing ("Why is my dad at her house?!"). But I liked the dad and mom's performances. I was wondering through the whole game if your character was mute and/or on the spectrum because he doesn't talk--only through a typewriter later in the game--and otherwise expresses himself through his prodigious musical and artistic talents. But I think he's just a silent main character, not actually mute.

    Anyway, the game won a BAFTA for a reason. It didn't blow my mind, but it's a neat experience that's worth having. It's short too, doesn't waste your time. I'm considering incorporating it into a class.

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    dkirschner's Before Your Eyes (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Saturday 13 April, 2024

    GameLog closed on: Sunday 14 April, 2024

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Neat blinking mechanic with the webcam! Good story with a smart twist. Definitely worth a playthrough.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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