Sunday 26 August, 2018
"Little Nightmares" does little to inform the player of the context of the action taking place. The game simply started with a short cutscene of a woman then gameplay began. The forboding atmosphere of the game and the excessively diminuitive player character made apparent to me that this game takes place in a location entirely hostile and foreign to the character. Thusly, the nature of the game has a distinct flavor of a survival story.
The first level of the game was primarily about self preservation, in avoiding the black slugs and navigating the perilous spaces. Though there is a particular sweet moment when a small figure like the player character is eating in a cafeteria area. At this moment the player character appeared to be starving. The background character took notice and tossed its meal through the bars for the player character to eat. The environment and the presence of other small figures in varying states of confinement or pertrification leads to the assumption that they are victims of some malevolence. With that fact, and being that this was the first time I had seen food in the game, it struck me as particularly selfless that this character, a victim just as my player character, would offer me food that is this scarce. At that moment I had wished for some function to thank the figure, but the game did not appear to enable this behavior, which I thought was a shame. It seemed wrong to accept something so valuable without gratitude.
Later, the player character is trapped in a cage by the long-armed enemy and stored in a room with other little figures who are also in cages. The player character is able to break out from its cage. Though, as a particularly sad eventuality, the player must use one of the other cages which houses a figure to pull a lever to exit the room.
Between this and the earlier experience of taking the food without some gratitude, I felt that my player character lacked some compassion and had a self-centric mode of operation. As the first chapter of "The Elements of Moral Philosophy" mentioned, perhaps there is a "we should save as many as we can" perspective. Perhaps the other little figures are already lost in some manner. The ones in the cages could be on the verge of death, and the one the cafeteria may have had some awareness of its impending unavoidable end and chose to offer its only resource for the benefit of the player character who appears to be chasing some goal. Perhaps the player character is also aware of this fact. Though I am also viewing the game from a perspective that the player character's intent is escape. It could just as easily be that the player character is going to attempt to solve the larger problem and perhaps save all the others or at least stop the suffering. The game just doesn't offer that much insight so far.