Just goes to show that I should stop being lazy and actually post when something blog-worthy turns up. Someone linked to this neat little flash came over Twitter the other day: One Chance. However, Marco, being the enterprising little worker bee that he is, blogged about it first because I decided to sit on it for a while. Oh well. By the way, Spoiler Alert – I suggest you play One Chance first before reading this, as I will be discussing specifics at length.
The basic premise: you have 6 days before all life is wiped out from a deadly virus that you created, and you have a number of choices on how you deal with that – do you panic? Do you try to find a cure? Do you spend time with loved ones? Each day has a couple of different options you can do, which will in turn affect what happens at the end of the game. The catch? You can only play the game once*, so you effectively have ‘one chance’ to save the world, hence the name.
It’s a great little title that really brings out emotions in you that you’d never expect it to. The graphics may be Minecraft levels of basic, but the real motivators of the game are the choices, the haunting music, and watching the world decay around you. I decided to try and go for a cure, no matter what happened, but my wife committing suicide made me stop and think. I still decided to press on for a cure, but I was so worried about losing my daughter as well, I took her with me wherever I went.
And then on the last day, with most of the world dead (and possibly my daughter too, it’s not actually made clear), I finally stumble on a cure. The game ended with me, sitting in the ruins of the local park, my possibly-dead-or-just-could-be-sleeping daughter resting against me. I felt no joy. The words that preceded that day “You HAD one chance to save the world”, seemed all too true. I may have saved myself, but it seems I was too late to save the world.
Still as good as this is, it probably could have been better. And I don’t mean in a way that would have required it to have been made by a studio or anything, just little things that could have enhanced the experience. For one, It bugs me that my ending was so vague – I got the cure but was there anyone left to save? Hell, did my daughter survive? Did I ‘fail’? Some answers to these questions would have been nice.
I also can’t help but feel some of the impact is lost from revealing from the off what the game is all about. The author of the game said this in the description “One Chance is a game about choices and dealing with them”, and then goes on to explain the premise and what, in general, you can choose. By revealing all this information up front, the player has already had a chance to decide what they want to do, and then it just becomes a matter of seeing it through. Sure, the unfolding scenery may make you think twice, but I find it unlikely. I’d argue that it would have been far better to just give enough information to get people started, and then let the plot be revealed during the game.
But hey, I’m not here to nit-pick. If you haven’t tried playing it yet, please do – there are far worse ways to spend a few minutes of your life. Incidentally, the whole concept of ‘one chance’ in gaming is an interesting subject – if you look at the FPS genre currently, death and consequences has kind of been rendered meaningless by instant respawns. A necessary evil for the genre to remain interesting, you could argue, but it’s worth exploring at any rate.
Until next time.
* Not that I’ve researched this much, but the game I think uses some kind of file to determine whether you’ve played the game or not. It’s apparently possible to re-play if you find and delete that file, but in the spirit of what the creator wanted, I haven’t/won’t, and you shouldn’t either. Accept the consequences of your actions.