A BRIEF INTRODUCTION to provide some background on why I’m writing this long post:
I’m not a true gamer and I don’t game on the regular (aside from Sims lol because that’s a drug in simulation form). My dad is though, and he got me into some pretty cool games from one time or another. My older sister wasn’t (and still isn’t) the least bit interested in video games, and I somehow became interested in watching my dad play video games and it made him so happy to have a gaming companion. Like I said, you won’t normally find me in front of a gaming console bashing buttons and swearing at kids online. I’m more of a Sims and Mario Kart type of gal. Hell, I’ve even played the Nancy Drew computer games. But, I have dabbled in a few series. For instance, I’ve played all of the Batman Arkham games. I love Batman and the story behind it, so the playing the games were no brainers for me.
That is the big thing for me – the story. Video games these days play out like movies and television shows, especially nowadays with the insane graphics and image quality.
My dad owns a PS4 and he usually likes to download the free games and give them a try. After all, they’re free, right? One day last summer, I heard these weird voices and what sounded like teenage drama coming from the TV. I went into my dad’s office and there he was, playing this game that looked so odd to me. I asked him what it was and he said he wasn’t sure, it was free so he started to play it. He turned to me and said it might be something that I would be interested in, though. AND DAMN, was he ever right.
This brings us to the point of this actual (and probably long) blog post. Ladies and gents, I’m here to write about the game that keeps my mind racing and heart wrenching for someone to make this into a Netflix series or something of the sort. This game is called Life is Strange.
The game follows the life of 18-year-old Max Caulfield. After a five year absence and leaving her best friend, Chloe Price, behind, Max returns to Arcadia Bay, Oregon to attend Blackwell Academy and pursue her love of photography. Max meets some interesting students, including some world-class bullies and rich kids, learns that the school is watched by a tight-ass security officer, and her classmates long for the return of missing Blackwell Student, Rachel Amber. After a regular day of class, Max finds herself blacking out, and later on, in a life-threatening situation where she then learns that she can REVERSE TIME. Max learns that she can use these powers for good after reuniting with Chloe, and they can find out where Rachel Amber is, who is involved, and how they can save Arcadia Bay from destruction.
The game takes place over five episodes, and each episode has one shocking twist and turn right after the other. The story about friendship, mystery, and betrayal is all wrapped up in this action-packed game series. The game is also a game of PLAYER CHOICE. There are important decisions to be made and options to choose from. Each choice reflects the outcome of the game. As a result, not everybody’s games will be entirely the same. You can watch the game trailer here:
There is also a prequel, Life is Strange: Before the Storm, that takes place pre-Max’s return to Arcadia Bay, and focuses on Chloe and her friendship with Rachel Amber, right before Rachel’s disappearance. Life is Strange 2 Episode 1 will be available on gaming platforms September 27, 2018, and a mini series, The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, will debut June 26, 2018, a game that is intertwined with the Life is Strange world and will impact Life is Strange 2. The fact that these games are coming out so soon is one of the reasons why I wanted to write this post today!
MAY CONTAIN SOME SPOILERS. I will flag when spoilers may arise for those who are interested in playing.
I was hooked immediately from the get-go when I first started playing Life is Strange last summer. I was hooked so bad that I was talking about it with everybody I knew. The music, the attention to detail, the character backstories and development – all of it is absolutely stunning and makes the game that much harder to make choices within the game.
*SPOILER* The game is a real test of your personal morals. Do you shoot or not shoot? Do you warn her or not warn her? Do you steal the money or leave the money? Do you pick up the phone or leave it ringing? All of these integral decisions will affect the story and your gameplay.
This test of your morality is, in my opinion, my favourite part of the game. I’m sure there are games out there like this, but this is the first time that I have ever seen anything or played anything like this before. I’ve played the game once and I’m currently playing it again. The first time, I played on my own, and this time around, my sister has been in the same room as me. Our choices are sometimes polar opposites, and even I have to rewind and change my decision at times because I feel guilty of the outcome!
There is a certain intensity within the game. The music and dialogue play a large part within this. Because you can rewind time, you know that there will be a cause and effect, and it leaves you wondering what Max has changed.
I am also in love with the story. There is so much drama and action and the fact that Max can rewind time and go back to certain moments in her life is astonishing. Of course, with her actions, there come consequences (which I won’t say because that will spoil WAY more than you all need to know). Cause and effect plays a big part in this game. Whether it be environmental changes, different characters and their life outcomes, or minimal conversation changes; everything has an outcome, and sometimes, the outcomes aren’t always positive.
*THIS SECTION IS A SPOILER* THE BUTTERFLY AND THE DEER
If you’ve played the game, or seen the trailer for this game, you’ll notice an interesting blue butterfly (see image below). I’ve had a lot of time to think about this and I’ve come to the conclusion that this butterfly represents the “butterfly effect.” Max sees this butterfly right before she comes face-to-face with a life threatening situation, and this is when she finds out she has these powers and her whole life changes.
The “butterfly effect” essentially means that if there is one change in a nonlinear system, no matter how tiny it may be, it can result in large changes in the future. This is the premise of the game. Max can go back in time, but she will have to deal with the consequences (i.e. Chloe’s accident instead of her Dad’s, the crazy apocalyptic weather, choosing either David, Jefferson, or Nathan). This butterfly symbolizes that change IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN.
The deer is the next creepy symbol in the game that totally changed my perception when I played it a second time (image above). At the beginning of the game in Max’s crazy nightmare, she follows a doe up the hill toward the lighthouse. Later on, the doe appears as an actual doe or as a weird, misty shadow. I think, as many other players do, that the doe is a representation of Rachel Amber, leading Max to where Rachel really is. As you can see in the photo above, this is where Rachel Amber was “last seen” and the doe leads Max there. In Episode 4 – Dark Room, the doe leads Max and Chloe through the junkyard and to Rachel Amber. When they find her, the doe fades away. Chills up your spine, right?
This game will make you laugh, cry, scared, and crazy with a million other emotions. Overall, I still can’t stop talking about this game. I’ve been talking about this game since the day I played it last year. I know that the game is based on player choice, but it would be SO awesome if it was some kind of show or movie. I’d totally pay to see that.
Have you played Life is Strange? Are you interested in playing the game or learning more? Leave a comment down below!
P.S. Thanks for reading this long post if you’ve made it this far!