Her Story is a game developed by Sam Barlow initially released on Windows, MacOS, and iOS, though it was later released for android as well. It is intended for audiences that can handle some amount of description regarding violence and are intrigued by detective work. I think one of the really interesting elements of this game is the objective. It’s really not immediately clear at all what your objective is. Even though there are readme files, they really explain the mechanics of the game not really what your goal is. I think the boundaries of the game are also pretty interesting because the interview series covers many different aspects of life, so even though the game is bound to the screen and the database you work through, it really makes players think about things outside of the game and in their own life. It attempts to create discovery fun by making players search through the interview clips to figure out the storyline on their own, and I would say they are successful in that goal. I personally had a lot of fun playing, and it is very highly rated!
Narrative and Mystery
Her story integrates narrative into its mystery throughout the entire game. The game has players search through a police database looking at interview tapes.
Each of these videos reveals a bit more about the story. Initially, we know nothing, though the game so kindly starts the database with the search term “MURDER”, where we learn that someone by the name of “Simon” has been murdered. From there, players then have to input their own search terms based on what they learn from other clips.
I really think that this non-linear storytelling increases the mystery aspect of the game since we don’t really know anything, and we have to figure out all of the story for ourselves. Additionally, I really think that the game does well in the story itself. I think that the idea of having these twins involved in the interviews given the format of the game gives a really interesting perspective on the mystery since players have to sort of figure out for themselves that these are twins, and only after that point does it make sense why this person who one may have previous thought to be a singular person is giving different answers to similar questions. I will say that I wish that some sort of objective was given earlier in the game for players since we ~barely~ know what we are supposed to do (watch these videos and presumably try to figure out what happened?), but we also don’t know why we are doing it since it has been made clear that we are not detectives and only have guest access to the database. I feel as though players may find this boring rather than intriguing a lot of the time, and this may be one of the very few areas of improvement for the game. That being said, I do believe that the lack of information does set up the ending well to really hit the player with some whiplash at the end.