What Remains of Edith Finch
I played What Remains of Edith Finch earlier this quarter. For those who aren’t familiar with the game, What Remains of Edith Finch is a narration-driven game that delves into the tragic history of the Finch family. The family has a curse which leads each member to a tragic death and disappearance. The narrative unfolds through a series of interconnected short stories, each revealing the fate of a different member of the Finch family.
While I am typically not a fan of story-based games, I couldn’t help but want to know more about each character. As you uncover each story, you are immersed in unique gameplay that mirror the character’s experiences. For instance, in Molly’s story you are a cat, shark and snake while in Calvin’s story you are swinging on a set. The game incorporates fantasy and mystery in doing so. By changing the game mechanics for each character, the game doesn’t feel repetitive as you progress. You are constantly learning new about how to play the game which makes it less boring.
Text appears in different way to show progression in the game. The dynamic displays make it more interesting to read and the narrator also reads and adds commentary further enriching the game.
The game had an eerie and unsettling undertone to it. When I first launched the game, I was on my toes because I thought it was a horror game. The game was actually more somber and bittersweet, especially when it came to hard themes like the inevitability of morality. Most of the stories left me feeling sad. One that hit home for me was Walter Finch who spent 30 years in the basement afraid of fate after the death of his older sister Barbara. It was sad to see that his one day out of his normal routine was his last one.
One aspect of the game that I did not like was the simulator or 360 feel of it. It reminded me of a VR experience and the fluidness of it made me feel dizzy and nauseous at times.
This week’s reading was about how Edith Finch has impacted the traditional view of walking simulators. In walking simulators, the players most walks and explores the objects and environment around the world. This frustrates some players as there is a lack of objectives and challenges that are seen in other genres of games. Mana Bozdog offers insight on elements that makes What Remains of Edith Finch stand out.
Molly’s story uses magical realism to show her imagination and how she died from eating berries. Her voice and writing style are “playful and unruly” and the text climbs, swims and crawls emulating what is happening in game. This combination of reality and magic complements each other to make a meaningful experience.
Barbara’s story uses horror fiction to engage the audience. The comic books and horror tropes and her longing to be famous makes a tragic and ironic outcome in the narration.
Some other examples that Bozdog writes about is the intertextuality of Lewis and ludic function of Gregory and Gus.