Life Is Strange: True Colors
Once in a while I come across a video game that just sticks with me. Life Is Strange True Colors is one of those. I’m always looking for games with playable female characters. There aren’t very many. Conveniently, I don’t play all that often and so it takes me years to finish most big games; nearly as long as it takes developers to create new ones. This is not a big game; it only take about ten hours to run all the way through. But like so many RPGs you can go back and play it over and over to get to different endings.
Two things stuck out to me. The first stuck out to everyone. This game is beautiful. Like Louvre quality painting. Every detail is an intentional work of art, including the music. So often the background noises of a game drive me crazy. This one I can sit and listen and to for hours, watching the leaves blow in the wind, the water ripple, which is a story feature. It sets a mood, draws you in to the story. It’s brilliant. So brilliant, for months after, when watching certain low budget TV shows, I would think they need the Unreal Engine. And then I would remember TV can use real video. lol
The second thing that suck with me is the romance of the small mountain town. I see this idea periodically, most recently in Resident Alien. It’s not just mountain towns, it’s also beach or coastal towns. Both areas known for tourism. So I think it’s funny and a tad misleading when media portray a small mountain town without it being overrun by tourists. I realize this is probably because extras are expensive and get in the way of the story. But it can be done. While we don’e see Bozeman often in Yellowstone, when we do, it has a lot of people, and also we understand that it is busy because of the way the characters talk about it—deride it. Not showing how busy a tourist town is perpetuates the romance and draws people to those already crowded areas, and it feels dismissive to those of us who live in places like that. Like the writers/producers couldn’t possible find out what life would really be like, so they just made it up. We see this in fiction a lot in far more important ways. When white people write and act asian characters, when women are written as dimensionless femme fatales, the stereotypes of othered groups.
But perhaps we need some romance. A memory of places where people watch out for each other, where they share resources, and climate change isn’t destroying it. (Not these ideals mountain towns never have ski areas. If they did, there’d have to be tourists and climate concerns about snowfall.) The beauty of fiction is that it can remind us what we’re fighting for. What the dream or goal is. And even sometimes that in paradise bad things happen and what matters is being there for each other as we grieve.
This game has so much heart, and beauty, and hope; I can’t get over it.
Back of the (Book) Video Game:
MEET ALEX CHEN
Alex Chen hides her 'curse': the supernatural ability to absorb and manipulate the strong emotions of others. When her brother dies in a so-called accident, she must embrace her volatile power to find the truth — and reveal dark secrets buried by the town.
WELCOME TO HAVEN SPRINGS
Deep in the mountains of Colorado, you'll find Haven Springs, a small mining town filled with beauty and mystery. As Alex, you'll discover the shocking secrets behind your brother’s death in an emotional roller-coaster of an adventure, using your psychic power of Empathy to change fate and change lives.