REPLY TO ALL: Play One Chance, Once

REPLY TO ALL is a little bit different this week. Everyone took 5 minutes to play through the game One Chance, located on Newgrounds. Read on to hear our thoughts on the game, and be warned there are spoilers below.

Is it memorable or just crap?

Jadetiger_CG

Wow, now this is tapping into exactly what I loved about Heavy Rain. Each person’s experience is different and it is their personality and priorities that drives the outcome of the game. I actually like that it only lets me play it once. I’ll have to live with my digital choices.
My outcome was:

[SPOILER]
I worked the first day, watched a coworker die the second day, worked the 3rd day,  worked 4th day and wife killed herself, took daughter to work 5th day, took daughter to park 6th day, and we both died on a park bench.

Streetalchemist

That was crazy. Very heavy game, so it definitely falls into the memorable category. I enjoyed it and loved the idea of only being able to play it once. Though I must say I know plenty of people that I think the game would probably be too much for and that I wouldn’t recommend it to just because of the content. The concept is brilliant however and I loved the art style. Glad I played it, wish I could have saved the world!

My outcome was:

[SPOILER]
I did everything that Christina did (without looking at her message) except for I took my daughter to work on the last day and I saved just the two of us. We then chilled out in the park.

Gifftor

Okay, so I sort of enjoyed it.  The inability to actually interact was sort of annoying like, there’s no way to keep my wife from killing herself.  But I guess the combination of optimism and work inherent to my personality was there – Work, coworker dies, work, work/wife takes coward’s way out, took daughter to work, took daughter to work and found the cure.  And then I assume we died?  Or maybe we were cured but couldn’t save the world?  I’m not sure, which I find irritating.  So, I don’t know if it’s a one-off annoyance or a personality test or what…but I do know that it was not a game.  And that part of my general snarkiness is because it had a Luddite message for most of the play time but then at the end, I create salvation (of a sort) through technological/biological achievement and dedication.  Disturbing, left a bad taste in my mouth, feel like punching the creator.  Sorry if that’s any of us, but if you split the world into Hemingways and Fitzgeralds, I’m a Hemingway, e.g., the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, even if sometimes that means you need a bulldozer.

Wizardtrain187

With Zombie Trailer Park and Cat Astro Phi on the front page of Newgrounds, it was tough to hone in on One Chance. The music was fitting, but unfortunetaly “4 minutes” by Madonna and Justin Timberlake overpowered the melodramatic tune. I didn’t hate the game but didn’t feel too much attachment to any of the characters and thus it didn’t really move me. I was also turned off by how impractical creating a cancer fighting virus in gas form would be. Those idiots obviously never played Resident Evil or watched I am Legend.

I kind of took the Van Wilder approach to the first day and partied with the hot chick. Her rack was solid and my wife seemed like a prude. Plus, that Jim guy was being really passive aggressive and it threw off my internal balance. The second day turned out to be kind of a bummer and I was shocked to learn that all my boss cared about was funding. What a dousche. Anyway, the office was locked so I walked on to the roof and some jerk killed himself, which really rained on my shine. I worked the rest of the time and was so focused that I completely forgot to clean up the bloody mess my wife had left. A prude and messy, not a good combo. I was thinking that I was making progress but boy was I surprised when on the last day I just sat down and closed my eyes. Nothing happened after that so I assumed I lost.

I do think the game has a slight personality test element to it, but I think that all my run through shows is that I procrastinate alot and like boobs.

JDevL

First off, I’m always blown away when a browser game can feel this intense. (And bonus points for the dramatic use of the song by Brand New). Also, the intensity wasn’t by the speed, but just heavy drama, for a game with that “bad” of graphics and controls to still be able to pull you in says a lot about the atmosphere and story.

The only thing that frustrated me was that I couldn’t do exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to stay home with the family every day, but I couldn’t find the option so two days I accidently ended up in the car going to work.

(Spoilers)

I ended up dying alone in the park as I could never find my daughter. I’m pretty sure my wife was killed by the dude who tried to attack me at the office. Dying alone made my efforts feel fruitless. Cancer sucks.

Wizardtrain and Gifftor are being a bit harsh on the game, do you think it’s because you’ve played too many browser games or that you saw what the game was trying to do without pulling it off? When I come across a game like this (especially when it’s free) I treat any thread of unique creativity as a bonus and I can’t really judge the rest of it, so my inner-critic never comes out. Why made your critic rise up?

Gifftor

I’ll admit to being harsh on the game.  I think that what may have set my inner-critic going differently than yours (and everyone else?  I don’t know) is that I’m a liberal arts guy and environmental lawyer, so while I love science and tech and deal with it regularly for work & play, I also deal with thematic structure and tone on a daily basis.  The graphics design was completely acceptable and probably a good choice in taking the focus away from anything other than the impact of what was going on and the music, which was very good at setting the tone.

Where I’m going with this is: I thought that the overarching theme was muddled (“we shouldn’t play God/attempting to cure cancer was overstepping our bounds” versus, at least the way it played out for me, “if you ignore the naysayers and grind away in your lab, more science can save the day…but, oops! you were too late!”). I felt really constricted by the choices available – you could see that your wife is losing it but you can’t do anything about it, you can’t dive and try and save your suicidal coworker (that’s 2 suicides in like 5 minutes, btw).  It was frustrating to decide: do I spend more time with my family as the world dies? do I spend it at work trying to save the world? do I accept a fatalistic attitude and nail the hot girl at the office since everything is going to die? For the most part, it made me feel guilty (and I would have felt that way regardless of the path I took).  Since it got all of this out of me, it obviously was successful in creating an emotional response of guilt and frustration.  I didn’t particularly like feeling that way.  So combine muddled overarching theme and not liking the way the game made me feel and you get why I flamed it.

JDevL

Damn. That’s a good point. No matter the outcome, you are always going to feel guilt at the end of this game. Hadn’t thought of it that way. I got so hung up on the fact that the game generated an emotional response, I didn’t stop to think if that was a response I wanted to experience. Still, I guess I side with the statement that any emotional response purposefully brought out by a game is better (more creative?) than no emotional response. I wish larger games would try and screw with your emotions like this rather than playing it safe. That’s what drew me to One Chance. It’s so small, but has an impact bigger than a majority of games I pay for.

Jadetiger_CG

I think its less of a game and more of a social experiment. I have a feeling part of the expected reaction was anger. I think people are looking at this game way too literally. I don’t think its a commentary on science and how it can go horribly wrong. It was just to see where your priorities were. Did you really care about the world? Did you try to fix it while people were dropping like flies, or did you take the time to spend your final hours with family. We are so used to games giving us full control of the situation that when a game like this has so many unexpected and unavoidable negative events, it makes us frustrated.  Also, by only giving you one change to play it, it makes you incredibly curious about the other outcomes and starts conversations with other players to see what their experience was and how they felt about it.

We did a personality test at work, and almost everyone agreed with their results. The people who didn’t agree with it argued why, and because of what they argued, funnily enough they validated their results.

Coopopolopolis

I’ll agree its more of a social experiment than a “game”. I really enjoyed it even though I too didn’t like the choices I was given.  I thought the music was perfect for setting the mood.  It definitely tugged at my emotions a little more when I walked out of the first room and saw that my daughter’s name was Molly. That detail there for me actually sucked me right in and made me start asking the questions of what would I really do in this situation.  I definitely tried staying home with my family as much as possible, but got confused when it would force me to go to work.  It was like it was giving me a choice, but also making me do something I probably wouldn’t have actually done in real life. But in the end it definitely got an emotional response which i think was the purpose.  My guess is that you’re always going to feel crappy at the end, because I actually think if you could save your family or the world it would just be anotherscenario you’ve seen 100 times and you probably wouldn’t really think about it much when it was over. Sitting there watching your Lonely character close his eyes in the park by himself and just freezing on that frame is definitely going to leave a longer impression.  I’ll go ahead and say i played it a few times.  I entered the Flash developer Konami code and tried a few different options, and I don’t believe there is a happy ending which is frustrating cause it makes me feel like i can’t win, but at the same time if the purpose isn’t winning I say well done.

Gifftor

Hrm.  Yes.  I think games have come a long way in eliciting an emotional response as an art form and I love getting emotionally tied/involved with games I play, whether it’s anger or affection or empathy.  One Chance obviously took the emotional ball and ran with it; you could probably even critically analyze a point that the creators may not have even been trying to make: you don’t need graphics or even a particularly complex control scheme/level of interactivity to create emotional resonance in a video game – see?  We did it in One Chance.  The other half of what I’m saying is that I didn’t just dislike it because it made me feel guilty, I disliked it because not only did it make me feel guilty, it did it without actually making a point.  Like…Othello is a tragedy and all kinds of horrible stuff happens, right?  And you feel pretty bad for Othello and you despise Iago.  Except there are clear themes of hubris and honor and jealousy that give a purpose to the tragedy and grant some catharsis.  Now, I know this was a browser game, not Shakespeare.  But a little more time in front of the decision tree and script in deciding whether there is some point you are trying to make before publishing would have been something I would have done if I had designed the game.

Colefacekilla

I don’t play browser based games very often. The last one I played was Canabalt so I didn’t know what to expect when it came to One Chance. For each decision I made, I wondered what the consequences would be. Obviously I was trying to get the best ending possible, but don’t know if there is such a thing with the suicides of the co-worker and wife seemingly happening no matter what choices I made. I finally ended up on the park bench with Molly and I guess we both died there. It is unclear, which is why I both enjoyed and hated One Chance. I wanted to go back and play it again to make different decisions to see what the outcome would be, which happens rarely for me when I play games. But is that a product of it being a great game, or just a really short game that I can take 5 minutes out of my day to play again?

If the point of the game is to make you think about the consequences that could happen when you make certain decisions, I think it’s successful. Maybe I’m championing the human race a little too much here, but don’t most people already do this in their real lives?

Jadetiger_CG

Its funny, people got such different outcomes in the reviews section for that game, yet we all seem to have gotten pretty much the same ending. Kinda wonder if that has anything to do with our personalities, professions, etc. Food for thought.

JDevL

nom nom nom. we’re all saps. nom nom nom.

Wizardtrain187

See, I don’t think I was being harsh at all. It was an unrealistic premise and I learned nothing about the characters involved. You want a reaction from me? Kill off someone I’ve grown attached to, not characters I just met. On top of that, I was only in the game for 6 “days” and around 5-10 minutes. I applaud the effort and think its a good jumping off point, but I think my indifference to the “game” was warranted. I play a lot of browser games and have had better feelings about some of those, not because of the message but because of the atmosphere.

Jadetiger_CG

That’s why I love Gears of War. It has a realistic premise. ;)

Wizardtrain187

Hahaha. I just had issues because it wanted me to feel something but the premise was so laughable and set up to fail. Plus, if it had shocked me by taking my work and making it bad for the world, I may feel a bit worse. I was set up for disaster from the beginning and could either “stop” the virus of decide where I died. Sure I could spend time with my family, but why would I want to, I wasn’t contected at all. Gears of War was obviosuly unrealistic and any response I got from it was because I grew accustomed to my team/ story.  One Chance was too short and the first thing I noticed was cancer curing viral gas. Kind of goofy.

Gifftor

Hrm.  I can’t disagree with you that part of my slam of the game/social experiment is that I thought the outcome was bullshit, but I can (and am) going to disagree with you on the “literal interpretation” part because whether it was a game or a social experiment, there was a (weak) story line and (poorly organized) thematical structure.  Which pisses me off, because I think it’s lazy.  On the other hand, I don’t particularly care for Japanese horror flicks because of the same kind of ambiguity, which takes me back to my first post which was that I’m a Hemingway guy, not a Fitzgerald guy – if you have a point to be made through your art, make it, otherwise you are wanking and wasting the time of your reader/player/viewer.  Also, because wizardtrain187 reminded me and I felt it was important to note: I like boobs.

Cancer causing viral gas = stupid premise.  Lazy research.
Also, this “game” would have been improved by the inclusion of a lancer and cancer zombies.

Jadetiger_CG

If this were a game studio that made this game, then I could look at it more critically, but since this is just some guy, I think for a presumably one man show, he did a good job. Maybe he’s never had and experience with story, but he wanted to make a game around the concept of shit happens, you don’t have control over it, and you can only make your choices/mistakes once.

Wizardtrain187

I guess my big point is that there just wasn’t enough time to get an emotional response out of me. My emotions died during puberty, unless you consider boner an emotion. And yes, lancers and zombies would be sweet.

JDevL

Yes! Christina with the alternative title that may have put all of our larger debate to rest a long time ago: Shit Happens.

Wizardtrain187

If that was the case then I think randomn shit should happen on top of the storyline. Like you’re driving to work and sometimes your tire blows out and others you’re just immediately decapitated because you’re too close to a semi. You’d also make it to work ok occasionally as well.

Jadetiger_CG

Exactly! But keep it realistic. Have a coworker who you’ve always disliked harpoon you on day 4.

Gifftor

Christina, maybe you DID hit the nail on the head, including why I hated it so much: shit does happen.  But when it does, you fix it.  (Including doing proper QA before you publish.)  Or I do, anyway.

Or you could catch syphillis from that slut you slept with, Ethan.

JDevL

Thankfully, our old favorite Privates has the cure for that one.

Gifftor

Oh. My. God.

Conclusion

Weigh in with your thoughts on One Chance. Do you agree or disagree with what the Cursed has said? No matter what the opinion, One Chance is an interesting game. Everyone should check it out.

Sources:

Newgrounds