Edith Finch: Immersion within Story-Based Games


[7/10 stars]

Recently, I was able to play “What Remains of Edith Finch,” a narrative-driven adventure game where players follow Edith Finch, the last surviving member of the Finch family. In case you are unfamiliar with the game, it is about Edith, who returns to her childhood home despite her hesitancy. She explores hidden rooms that belonged to deceased relatives, experiencing their stories through interactive vignettes. Each story provides a unique perspective on the lives and deaths of the Finches, revealing a family history filled with tragedy and mystery. As Edith uncovers the secrets of her lineage, the game delves into themes of family, loss, and the power of storytelling. Through diverse gameplay mechanics and thought-provoking narratives, “What Remains of Edith Finch” offers an emotional and introspective journey, showcasing the fleeting nature of life and the enduring impact of those who came before.

Although I am not the biggest fan of story-based games, I thought Edith Finch was a unique take on the genre, offering an immersive experience through a POV experience. For example, in the first story of Molly, you get to become a cat, owl, shark, snake-like creature, etc. After my experience with Molly’s story, I really came to appreciate the way the story was presented. The words are written in a distinct golden color that can be read on the walls, rather than like subtitles. This makes it easy to find the next story and experience the game without confusion. Furthermore, the mood and tone that is set through the narration and sound effects really set the game apart from others. As a sucker for horror movies and shows, I thought that the dark themes of this game were very enjoyable. However, most of the stories left me feeling more sad than scared due to how tragic some of the deaths were like Gregory or Lewis’s. 

In the reading by Mana Bozdog, they break down the different stories, providing insight about what techniques are deployed with each Finch’s story. For example, Molly’s story exemplifies magical realism, with transformations and imaginative gameplay mechanics. Barbara’s story draws on horror conventions and incorporates elements from horror literature, comic books, and film. Gregory and Gus’ stories demonstrate how written text is used in a ludic and literary manner to drive the stories forward. Lewis’s story showcases the potential of combining literature and video games to create a unique storytelling experience. With each story, we as the audience can experience something different each time, making the storytelling more complex and interesting. 

Edith Finch offers something new to story-based games, making it an innovation in the gaming industry. While I may not be the biggest fan of story-based games or walking stimulators, I personally enjoyed playing Edith Finch this quarter, and am very glad I was able to. Edith Finch managed to captivate my attention with its unique blend of narrative elements, interactive gameplay, and evocative atmosphere. It proved that even for someone who may not be the biggest fan of story-based games, there is still room for enjoyment and appreciation.

About the author

Frosh studying CS!

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