Why Not Games

This War of Mine Notes

I really, really enjoyed This War of Mine. This was the Papers, Please of 2014. I think this is a highly important game that everyone should play. However, the game is very rough in an indie, no money or time to polish kind of way.

These are the rough notes I took down while playing This War of Mine. There are some potential spoilers.

  • I really like the "Fuck The War" on the title screen.
  • This pencil shaded graphic style is excellent.
  • The handkerchief on the face is also excellent.
  • Scavenging felt really tense.
  • I would like to be able to make sure they know they have the book - I was told that the book will help them feel better, but the game doesn't show me that.
  • The text above their heads is great.
  • The crafting system does a good job establishing clear progression.
  • The neighbors were good for a war.
  • People die brutally, time for game 2.
  • Death as a learning experience is a way to convey story.
  • I'm upset by the lack of random names/stories. (This turned out to be false, but is a good point. For a game like this, random people really help. This is essentially a survival game and feeling like there are a lot of stories from different people is key. Using the same people every time makes it feel more of a puzzle and hurts immersion.)
  • I still love the slow parallax scroll.
  • Giving kids the medicine is really hard. What if they're lying? Still, they're kids even if they lie, they need it, but it's worth so much. I'm going to give it to them.
  • Cool, giving the kids the meds make everyone happy. That is neat.
  • I accidentally pressed End Day and ruined everything.
  • I just died trying to prevent a rape. That was a pain.
  • The lack of saves adds tension, but can be irritating when I'm trying to learn the systems.
  • I really wish the option to just let them talk for some time was there.
  • It is very satisfying to have sources for food/water.
  • Who told you that you could have a cigarette? Characters consuming things automatically is not cool.
  • The question of weapons vs. vegetables is not clear. In general, the game hides a lot of info.
  • The game would really benefit from being The Sims. (In hindsight, I'm not as sure. The hiding of info made the game much more painful, but may have also helped keep it from feeling like a puzzle. I lean to thinking this is true though. In real life, you would have the info of things like how hungry you are and what is making you happy and unhappy, so I'm not even sure it would kill immersion to have it on the screen. The numbers certainly feel very video-gamey, but not having the knowledge also breaks immersion.)
  • Showing me the bars would make it much easier to make decisions.
  • Also,I would like more personality a la desires. (This actually feels stronger now. The people had no personality other than what I gave them. However, I do have memories of all of them. The work schedules I gave them made them feel like individuals.)
  • The fact that they don't spend time socializing is also poor.
  • I seem to be inevitably driven to theft. (Their systems do a really good job of this. There are no sources but scavenging and the sites run out.)
  • I'm sitting around waiting for my traps because I can't trust the game to restock them. That feels bad.
  • I felt terrible taking from those peple, but my need was greater.
  • I had to kill somme people. The game has been doing it well.

- @murthynikhil

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