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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful:I had feels too., May 6, 2015
by Hanon Ondricek (United States)I'm always reluctant to play altgames. For my purposes, an an "altgame" is an interactive experience which has an active purpose to illustrate a alternate point of view or teach the player about a a problem, often using a type of gameplay as metaphor. The point of the this is almost never to entertain, but hopefully promote understanding and illuminate an uncomfortable situation the player might not be completely familiar with. Depression Quest is probably the most famous altgame.
Altgames are hard to write, as it is so completely easy to step over one of the many intricate narrow lines and overdo pathos, or reduce a situation to complete absurdity. Absurdity can work in a game's favor, but is its own delicate balancing act.
Hana Feels sidesteps much standard awkwardness with solid, honest writing, and by not casting the reader as the protagonist. Instead, the reader has several conversations with Hana, reacting as different people in her life. Hana then spells out her own reaction to the encounter in her journal based on the choices made.
I was moved, and I was compelled to replay four times to get the best ending. The thing I learned is (Spoiler - click to show)sometimes the worst thing you can do for a person in turmoil is to actively try to solve their problem for them. Listening without judgement is often the best course of action. I found the friend very hard to roleplay because there isn't a way for her not to get angry and push Hana too hard. (Game-wise, it seems you need to play the previous conversations leading up to this one well enough so Hana has enough positive reinforcement not to take the bad experience so poorly.)
Often a person is too close to another person to act successfully as their pseudo psychiatrist, and accepting that one can not always be a white knight is hard for any friend to swallow.
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namekuseijin, September 21, 2017 - Reply
Something is bothering namekuseijin. Can you work out what it is?
I'll tell you right away: first, it's a cyoa except there's nothing really adventurous here; second, why is it that everyone looks bored like hell in the illustrations (even the otherwise sassy friend)? Is this a depression quest against depression or favoring players into it?
And finally, not really a game, just a multibranching narrative - but why would I choose to see other paths, what kind of maniac I'd be to choose obviously bad choices just to watch the character jumping off a cliff or something?
sorry to coopt your review, but had to take it out of my chest without giving one of my bad reviews for something which has some honest writing and good intentions...
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Hanon Ondricek, September 22, 2017 - Reply
If you read the beginning it was developed and funded by a new media creative grant, so I think this is intended as less of a game and more of an interactive scenario about people suffering depression and those who are interacting with them. It especially shows how well-intentioned assistance can be completely misinterpreted by someone suffering the condition. I doubt it's meant to be a "game" for you to enjoy and more a piece of social-awareness art that promotes understanding.
(Game is - Supported by New Media Scotlandís Alt-w Fund, with investment from the Scottish Government. Part of the Ginsberg ecosystem. )