Her Story is a Triumph of Storytelling

Her Story cut me right to the bone with its chilling story, winding pathways through madness, and more questions than real answers. When I finally sat down to play the game with Mike, we knew we were in for a treat.

Mike and I sat down on our couch, extended his screen via HDMI to our television, and dove in. Right out of the gate, Her Story is an eyebrow-raiser. The old-school, Windows 95’ish OS coupled with some gnarly screen glare (that you can actually turn off if you want to lose that CRT grittiness) tugged at my nostalgia-strings. Mike and I exchanged a few delighted exclamations and proceeded to unpack this insanely complex story.

The initial search term yielded the first five videos to set us on our path. As it turned out, no matter what you searched for in the database, it would only show you the first five entries. So, you had to be very specific with your search terms. Generic terms or words would net poor results, after all. Mike and I decided to break up the workload — he would write notes and capture keywords and I would drive the searches and tag the videos as they became available. 

Cataloging videos as you go is an important feature of the game. There are enough video clips available to view that if you don’t catalog them with keywords and notes, they’ll get lost in the shuffle. Each search is captured in your search history so that if you want to go back and review videos from past searches without cataloging everything, you can. The more videos you view (and catalog), the more twisted the story becomes before it completely unravels. 

Her Story focuses on exceptional editing and a deeply engaging story. Almost every video we watched, with the exception of some filler videos from some pretty generic searches, sent us down another path to dig for more information. Was she telling the truth? Why did she say that? Where was she when this all happened? Why does she keep talking about fairy tales? Sam Barlow takes you deeper into the malaise of the woman in question as fragments become stories become lies… before yielding truth.

I won’t spoil anything for those of you that haven’t played the game yet, but play the game you must. There were so many places in the story that Sam could have just… laid it out and left us with a flaccid ending. But he didn’t. Even though Mike and I reached the end of our database searches, we’re still not sure we understood the whole story. With her lies, twisted logic, and enigmatic behaviour… I’m not sure that Her Story is meant to be known in its entirety.

Her Story is an imaginative ode to true-crime. It left me reeling from its subtle nuances and electric undercurrents of stories within stories. Though we may never know the full truth ofHer Story, it’s the questions that drive us to eke out meaning from the most benign of interactions. It’s that intrigue that will continue to spark conversations for a long time to come.

(Original Post: The Daily Crate)

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