Reviews by Sam Kabo Ashwell
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Which Describes How You're Feeling, by Adam Parrish
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful:Mad Verbum, April 11, 2012
On the one hand, gameplay is simple and easy, so much so that it's tempting to think of this as a toy rather than a game; getting a good score might take a few tries, but mechanically it's not difficult. The game tells you the puzzle's parameters straight off. On the other, the framing creates a weird uneasiness about the exercise. A fair amount has been written about how the psychotherapy premise of Eliza tended to make players take it more seriously. Similarly, WDHYF has something of the tension of a word-association game about it; it's a silly exercise, but there's the sense that you're being judged on it. This is particularly true because the act in question is laying claim to emotions, which is something people generally invest a lot in. Laying claim to an emotion can be a vulnerable act of self-expression, and it's also a commitment of sorts, a reinforcement; we don't look kindly on people who fake emotions, and we don't want to be seen as someone whose emotions change rapidly for no reason ('emotionally unstable' is a euphemism for 'crazy'). Saying 'I am happy' or 'I am sad' costs you something.
But because of the constraints you're usually forced to lay claim to a rapid, little-considered series of random, mismatched, nonsensical emotions. So there's a sense -- slight, but disquieting -- of brainwashing-exercise about this: repetition, illogic, pressure, self-obliteration.
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