Have you ever played a game that made you question everything you’ve done up to a point in your life? Well if you answered no, heck, even if you answer yes you should get down to A MAZE this weekend to try out a Twine game called You try not to think about it.
Created by Megan Hughes the premise of the game is simple; walk (or rather click) through a day in the life of a woman.
It’s gives the player an unabridged insight into the mind of a woman and how what some might think is an off-hand, once off comment can trigger a person to relive some of their lowest moments. For me, it was an abrupt reality check that had me questioning my life.
You see what You try not think about it does so well is put you in the shoes of a person that hasn’t lived in the closed off universe that so many games place players in. This little indie game made by Hughes contains so many instances that anybody could have experience.
“I purposefully made the game with the intention of the player forming a bond with the character without knowing the gender,” Hughes tells us.
Only when your character starts getting dressed is it revealed that it is a woman and from that point the content will either impact you or leave you non-plussed. Without spoiling too much I will say that you will likely experience the former rather than the latter.
The truth about You try not to think about it is that it’s a psychological journey.
The game, while about the day in the life of a woman has many elements that anybody could relate to. For instance, a particular section about parallel parking shot me back to earlier in the day when I had to parallel park and felt the nerves descend upon me.
As it turns out, Hughes has a degree in psychology and has made toying with people’s minds something of a trademark.
“I want to make people feel that sense of not being in control without destroying them. I’m almost always trying to make a person feel something with my games, especially my new game FRAG.MENT.ED” Hughes tells me in an interview.
You try not to think about it, is a display of this psychological mind game with the player, using no more than a few sentences on each page.
“Overall its about the information you’re getting and how you get this sense of compounding, and how it weighs you down over time as you progress,” she says.
You feel this as you click each hyperlink, moving to the next point in the game. Truth be told by the end of the game I felt as if I had run an emotional marathon and that clicking every hyperlink was adding lead to my mouse.
This feeling though, is different for each person. Hughes hasn’t made this game to highlight one point but rather bring to light a story that only she, with her experiences can tell, but many of us can relate to.
You might have heard this story, but have you played it?
It’s what makes A MAZE such a great platform, not just for devs but local players as well.
These are the sort of games you won’t likely find in a store like Steam but tell stories that are so unique to the South African frame of mind that playing them would add something to your life and make you realise something you might not have realised yet.
It’s something that is sorely lacking from the game scene at the moment where we get a regular fill of turning enemies into red paint but few games that make us feel something, feel human as it were.
This is the case with many of the games at A MAZE. Whether it be a game about trying to fit into a box and failing or finding a phone and letting your curiosity get the better of you, there are games here that speaking to the human side of us all and will yield different experiences for different people.
You can play You try not to think about it and other incredible thought provoking and fun games at A MAZE. / Johannesburg 2016 this weekend but if you can’t get down to Braamfontein you can check out Hughes’ game on her Itch.io page.