For this week’s critical play, I played Virginia by Variable State on macOS. The game can be categorized as a Mystery and a Walking Simulator. Because of the presence of alcohol and drugs, this game is for a target audience of 18+. As a first-person narrative game, the player progresses through the storyline by walking around and interacting with different objects. The goal of the game is the uncover the mystery behind a missing young boy named Lucas. The game features very simple movements, primarily just walking and one toggle button to interact with objects. Otherwise, the game is somewhat like a half-game, half-movie with many cut scenes. The type of fun intended for the game is discovery and sensation as the primary motive of the game is to uncover clues for solving the mystery, but the game also has well-design graphics, scenes, and soundtrack that adds to the mysterious atmosphere.
From the very beginning, it is clear to the player that there is no narration. This could be a benefit and a drawback as the lack of narration allows the player to make their own inferences. It also adds to the ominous nature of the game. On the other hand, it could also be confusing to the player at times, and lack direction. One such instance of this was when I was playing at the beginning of the game, I would spend a large amount of time stuck in one scene because I didn’t know what I was supposed to interact with to make the game progress. Moreover, one thing I found confusing about the narrative was that there were these dream-like scenes that would cut into the narrative that were unnerving and left unexplained. Therefore, one way that I think this game could be improved is to make the scenes more fluid, less choppy, and provide more context for the player at the beginning.