window

window

Individual Project
May 2016
(download)

Window is an interactive fiction that explores the role of perspective during the end of a relationship. In it, I experimented in limiting players' awareness of the effects they are having on the game's narrative. The game is loosely based on my experience of a breakup with a long-term partner.

In this project, limited control is given to players that are making their way through the narrative. As the story progresses, the only thing players are capable of doing is shifting focus between different reflections in a window. Doing so changes the outcome of the story without signaling to the player that any changes have occured. This allows for players to have control over the narrative while thinking that things could have never happened any other way. Only in discussing their experience with others will they recognize that they had played a part in directing their experience.

I made this game in a very emotionally difficult time in my life, and it definitely shows. The game is quite short and very unpolished, but it remains as my favorite completed project. The game explores the type of story that I find myself most interested in. It focuses on the world itself, the context for the players' actions. In doing so, it brings me back to the moment of my own breakup. It makes me remember the way I didn't want to look into the eyes of my former partner, the way I gripped the cover of the futon, and the slow, sad walk home.

In creating this project, I began to worry that players would find the story or the lack of action boring. To my surprise, however, it seemed that players were enthralled by the story that the game was telling through its mechanics. One player even began to cry (even if only for a moment).

I have loved games as a medium for producing more than just fun for quite a long time. This project really taught me that this  direction of games moving from being consumable goods to works of art is something that is within reach. It is this realization that really convinced me to dive head first into game design.