Sometimes it just feels so weird to write about stuff that just happened, but I guess it would be even weirder if I kept my thoughts all for myself. Everyone has its own ways to express feelings, reflections, and such. Writing is how I do it.
A few moments ago I finished my first, and only, run of Life is Strange. I’m stating this because, as for many other games, I will not go through it ever again. “Is it *that* awful, then?” you might ask. On the contrary, it has been a fiery rollercoaster of feels, a true masterpiece. It has been so good, with all the choices I made and, oh!, all the consequences, that I feel like traversing it again would not be fair. It would ruin my memories, alter the emotions and overall experience I enjoyed while playing it for the first time.
Look at all those FEELS, framed forever
It’s a broader issue, tho.
This could be considered the second chapter in my personal crusade against replayability. Fact is: interacting with the game in that time and space created for me what has been defined an alterbiography (Calleja, 2009). It built a set of specific emotions, reactions, thoughts, and interpretations of what was happening. Like a framed picture that cannot be erased, with all its good and bad memories. Playing it again would be problematic.
First, in that case I would create another alterbiography that would overlap with the previous one, different from the original. As alternate realities that merge together creating a greater mess. I would confuse memories, too. This happens a lot when I see a movie adaptation of a book, for example: circumstances, actions and characters overlap a lot in my mind.
Second, my choices would be conditioned by what I know about the game’s scripted narrative and mechanics. So instead of roleplaying, or selecting choices following a precise path through a fictional opera, I would try and merely exploit the game (as a mechanic object, an artifact).
Third, I cannot even imagine how much the value of what I felt could fall if I engaged the game again. This is kinda related to that time when I complained about death in Tides of Numenera.
So the question here is: do we really need to traverse certain games (or part of them) more than once? Do they need to be traversed again, in order to be good? Why would we do that? To get a trophy, a reward, the personal satisfaction for “100%” a game? To see all the possible choices? Why don’t we, instead, simply appreciate what we experienced just once? And look back at it, maybe smiling sadly, like we often do with photos.
The obvious answer to all this is “do whatever you want” – as in, it probably depends on how every single individual approaches the media.
However, I uninstalled the game right away. Didn’t want to fight the temptation to ruin its greatness by playing it again.
But you (all of you) should definitely give it a try.
– Calleja, Gordon (2009). Experiential Narrative in Game Environments, DIGRA