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About the Story"Itís a perfectly normal evening, and you have a quiet dinner planned with one of your friends.
And so begins one of my weirder games. Save the Date is a game about a lot of things. Friendship. Stories. Hope. Destiny. And above all else, dinner.
This is actually kind of hard. I know what I think the game is about, but the game is kind of weird and experimental, even by my standards, and I donít really want to say too much in advance. Probably best for people to play it without knowing what theyíre getting into.
Featuring music from the fantastic Francisco Cerda, Save the Date is probably the single thing I have worked on that I am most proud of. But donít just take my word for it Ė sit down, clear about an hour from your schedule, and play it for yourself.
Featuring cutting-edge tech, including old cell-phones!
Supported operating systems are: Windows 2000 or later, Mac OS X 10.4 or later, and Linux x86."
- Chris Cornell
Rock Paper Shotgun
Wot I Think: Save The Date
Maybe Iím generalizing, but I like to think most dating sims are, on some level, about dating. Save The Date, however, sticks with the warm-and-fuzzies just as long as it needs to Ė and not a second longer. At heart, itís a visual novel, but on a high-speed collision course with tragedy, mortality, and hilariously terrible consequences. Each five-or-so-minute playthrough (adding up to an-hour-and-a-half or so total) barrages you with choices, the results of which arenít exactly happily ever after. So you try again and again and again to keep the date from going horribly wrong, and things only spiral further out of control. In that respect and many others, Save The Dateís brilliant. Even astounding, in places. The writingís quite strong, the twists hit like a remarkably stealthy 18-wheeler, and thereís far, far, far more to it than even its initial surreal streak suggests.
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Number of Reviews: 3
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(Spoiler - click to show)I'm not sure I got everything out of this game, but I am a HUGE fan of meta and I love intricate recursion. So when I figured out this game was going to let me actually use save and reload to affect the story, I was hooked. It's got a lot to say about the contract between an author and a reader, and a gleeful sense of absurd humor. I almost think this even does a better trick than THE STANLEY PARABLE because there is no narrator and the author colludes with you wholeheartedly. It's almost got a bit of INCEPTION in its world-controlling aspirations.
The game's concept takes it in a place where it's able to make a commentary on CYOA/dating sim games, games in general, and stories, and it does that really well, raising some valid points (although some I kinda disagreed with). This is also done in an accessible manner, which is a plus, and I liked that the author grasped the full implications of his mechanics.
The first time where you discover what is going on is a real "a-ha" moment, and so I won't spoil it. Unfortunately, getting to the end of it requires a bit of lawnmowering (and the branching structure is not trivial either), and there were some times when I felt I had done enough, but it was not enough for the game (because that wasn't exactly the right branch). I ultimately resorted to a walkthrough to get to the end quicker, and I finished the game in about two hours and a half.
Anyway, give it a try, you won't be disappointed!
Despite not really being a dating sim, I'd still describe this game as "cute". The writing is funny, with touches of surrealism and a few pop-culture references thrown in. The game seems bug-free, and the graphics are retro but effective. It's played in multiple small doses, though you will find playthroughs are interconnected, and each gives you more of a clue as to your aim, and how to achieve it. It's ultimately a form of Choose Your Own Adventure, but with enough branches to feel your choices matter each time. Well, sort of matter.
Talking too much about the game, however, runs the risk of ruining the experience, so I will put the rest of these thoughts into spoiler tags. (Spoiler - click to show)I played through the game several times, and found no good ending. I have a feeling that the only good ending is still bad for you, which made me find a surprising emotional and philosophical element to an otherwise straight-ahead funny game. Sometimes the best course of action is selflessness, and sometimes things are just not meant to be.
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