PEGBRJE: Life: the game of chance and Pet the Pup at the Party
Small little experiences
Life: the game of chance is a small narrative simulator created by Tim Krief, a solo indie developer based out of France. After randomly being decided a race and sex at birth, players must make binary Yes/No decisions in order to navigate through life, only to realize that much of it appears to be out of their control.
As mentioned, Life plays more like a story of understanding the lack of control that we all have as individuals. There are three ‘starting’ individuals that players can be — at least I only encountered three after numerous attempts. There’s a female born in Europe, and two males to be born in Africa and Asia. Each one of them makes life-altering decisions at various parts in their life, such as deciding to shift career paths, move across the world, abandon certain individuals or purchase certain items. Thing is, there is no ‘winning’ in the game of Life, so every decision made will appear alright at first with some underlying concerns and conflicts. It doesn’t mince words about how certain decisions will change people’s viewpoints on the player, especially when realizing the racial and gender-based stereotypes that permeate the world’s viewpoint. Just take the above screenshot for example, of a woman who decided to stay with her father, discovered she had an interest for girls and then had to deal with the fact that her father was a rampant homophobe. There was no ‘player agency’ as some like to throw around haphazardly because life rarely gives obvious agency. We as players are reminded that life’s decisions need to be made constantly with or without enough information to ‘make the correct decision’, and even then the world can find new ways to bring reality crashing down in a blazing fire.
At the end of each run — which only takes a few minutes — there’s a little blurb that best summarizes the message of Life: the game of chance; life doesn’t always have to be a game of chance. Sure, we understandably lack much of the information to move forward with all the answers, but by being compassionate and attempting to help those that historically have lacked privilege we can help to reduce the seeming certainty of these events. Many of the stories told here can feel like an inevitability for many, but through community and empathy we can help to alter that trajectory. If you are looking to be reminded of life’s cruelty in 5 minutes, try this little browser title out.
Pet the Pup at the Party is an adventure game made by Will Herring, an indie developer based out of Canada known for a unique style for simple, small, quirky titles. This one in particular spells out exactly what player’s will be doing in the title alone; be at a party, ignore everyone, and pet the dog.
It sounds exactly like it is, for players are in a party they do not wish to be in. We’ve all been there; perhaps its a work party that obligations forced the attendance, or a friend insisted this would be the next biggest thing. Regardless of the context, players don’t want to be there, until they hear the call of a legendary fluffy creature from somewhere within this maze of a house. For the next two minutes, players need to navigate through the rooms to locate the dog, their line of sight blocked by the hundreds of partygoers that are a tad confused as to why there’s someone searching but won’t interfere. The only thing players can utilize to find the dog better is its barks, which will become louder the closer players get while simultaneously having an ‘arf’ in text for players to identify and run towards. If successful, players will be treated to clicking on the pup and petting it, adding thirty seconds of time to their clock and a portrait of the dog in question. Players are then respawned within a random room of this seemingly randomized house, and with a new dog to go and find. Run out of time, and the dog will be lost to the party and the game is over.
It’s not a complicated game, and won’t take much of your time, but Pet the Pup at the Party simply wants players to enjoy the easy things in life such as petting a dog while in an unfamiliar place. The scenario is relatable to all, who doesn’t love animated dogs that are just waiting to be petted? That’s right, nobody. So if you want to relax for a bit and hunt down some good boys to pet, unwinding from the day’s tensions, try this out.
Life: the game of chance
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