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Hana Feels

by Gavin Inglis profile

2015

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Number of Reviews: 7
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1-7 of 7


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Hana lives, July 20, 2017
I lost the taste of writing and the taste of playing after a personal drama that left me somewhere close to where Hana feels she is. What a serendipity - when I decide to go back to former interests, I decided to blend them and write an interactive story, so I look around the web for what was done already, and I find Hana Feels.

The writing is efficient and the storytelling has enough of an original twist to stand out and catch the eye. We are not the protagonist, we are her entourage and we have to keep her afloat. This is what makes it so heartbreaking to play Hana Feels. You get the idea very early on that she is on the verge of collapse and you have to keep her alive. And even when you feel like you are helping her, you know very well, deep inside, that you are not going to save her.

Hana is a waitress. I imagine as a waitress she may have found herself losing balance and wobbling around to prevent the glass on her trail from falling over. This is how you feel when you play this game - Hana is somewhere unbalanced on a trail and you have to walk around to keep her from falling.

I talk about her like she is a real person, which says a lot about how carefully she was crafted and written.

Years ago I read one of my favourite books, "Valis" by Philip K. Dick, and was startled about that paragraph he wrote about being suicidal and calling a helpline, receiving professional help which was so much better than the shitty help he gave to a friend who eventually committed suicide. This saved me because if I had never read that in "Valis", I probably would have never called a help line and get professional help. The premise of Hana Feels is that she calls a help line. And this is exactly how it feels, for the caller and for the operator.

In "Valis" again, the author regrets he advised his friend not to kill herself to avoid making him sad. He learnt later of such a terrible idea it was to tell her to live for others. In Hana Feels, you are given the option at some point to give that exact same advice to Hana. I remembered "Valis" and avoided that trap. The game offers three different endings. I want to believe I gave Hana the best ending possible. I am tempted to try the game again and see a different ending, but I just do not feel like hurting her. I just see no pleasure in tormenting a fictional character when being nice had made me feel so good.

Just a few lines and clicks and there you are, feeling for her. Interactivity is such a wonderful tool to tell stories... Hana Feels let me convinced of this. I am done with stupor, I will write again. Thank you Hana.

I wish the author gave us more hints about what becomes of her. Not a full resolution as this is not a fairy tale with a happy ending. But with the deep level we are touched by Hana, it feels a bit wasted to abandon her so abruptly.

Many things to say about this little game, right?

Hana Feels is just that immersive. A long treatise on the topic would never reach anyone half as much as this game. Everything lies in the shadows of the conversations between Hana and the others: the place where she lives and work, the room where the support group meets, the factory where the old guy worked. Characters have a voice. Bigger parts of the life of characters are suggested to you. Little bits and pieces of life stories are intertwined with the main storyline, and you will patch them together to get the whole picture.

What a brilliant little thing is Hana Feels. Thanks.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
I'm Feeling It, February 25, 2017
I read the rest of the reviews before going into this, but was very pleasantly surprised. The character development had a lot of depth in it that you would attempt to uncover first. (Spoiler - click to show)It could be obvious that you'd have to take it slow from the start, but it's really hard to resist trying to help as much as possible later on.

Being an actual government commissioned (?) piece for helping folks with these sort of troubles, I'd have to say it worked for me. Not just in understanding someone with such issues in the future, but I learnt a lot about communicating with everyone in general.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
We can only reach but never touch, December 27, 2016
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: melancholic
[This game contains discussions of self-harm/self-mutilation. Please exercise discretion. Time to completion: 15-25 minutes]

Hana has been acting unlike herself lately. Can you find out why?

We, the player, see Hana's feelings through the eyes of four different people. Each is meant to play a supportive role in her life, but their different personalities means that their support can express itself in very different ways. The catch: the only thing you can control is what other people say to Hana. Some of the NPCs would have been self-centred had we only been able to see from Hana's point of view, but being able to play through their perspectives - and seeing their doubts and awkwardness - made them much more sympathetic, even when they say things which would be frankly hurtful.

Hana's journal entries provide immediate feedback about your conversational choices. I found myself wondering how I could optimise outcomes for Hana - or, indeed, if it was even possible. But there's something to this, isn't there? No matter our intentions, our words of comfort can so easily be interpreted in the exact opposite of what we mean.

Depending on the branch you end up getting, the overall tone of Hana Feels could be either cautiously optimistic or achingly sad. Despite occasionally getting to experience Hana's perspective, she remains distant; we can only ever reach her indirectly, through the filter of other people.

Hana has been nominated for Best NPC in the XYZZY awards, a fact which delights me, even if I'm never really sure what makes an NPC 'good'. The most I can say, though, is that the emotional investment the PCs pay into their interactions with Hana pays off. Each character reacts believably and sensitively to what the other says. A comparable game would be Hannah Powell-Smith's Thanksgiving or Aquarium, in which conversation is fraught and intricate as a dance.

Hana Feels ultimately deals with some weighty stuff - Hana, after all, has to deal with a lot and she doesn't always do this in a healthy way - but there are areas of levity, and perhaps even hope.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
High production value, killer writing, September 10, 2015
by AteYourLembas (Los Angeles, California)
Polished aesthetic, fully-fleshed characters, and intensely relatable moments. Very worth the ten or so minutes it takes to play. Highly recommend.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Surprisingly heartwarming Twine game with a message (and graphics), May 6, 2015
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
I was skeptical of this game at first, as I am not into games that push a particular viewpoint. But the conversation style, graphics, and options really spoke to me. To try and get the best ending, I put myself in Hana's shoes, thinking, "What would I need to hear right now"? I especially enjoyed trying to think like Ernie.

I got what I assume is the best ending, but I have no desire to try and find the worst ending, because the author really helped me empathize with the character.

For those who know what the topic of the game is: (Spoiler - click to show) I am usually wary of people writing about cutting, as so many people glorify it, saying for instance that all cutters are heros and their scars are from struggling with demons. I was taken aback by this games approach, which emphasizedthat cutters are just ordinary people with an unhealthy habit, just like drinking or gambling. I've overcome some unhealthy habits in my life, and this game was very close to my real-life experience. It really touched me.

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.


Very recommended.

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Very inventive and engaging…, May 6, 2015
by timsamoff (Southern California)
Hana Feels is a very inventive approach and a keen graphical style. The illustrations are wonderful and make the story/conversation quite engaging. This is a fresh take on IF and I became immersed immediately.


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