While I was wandering though the first and second volumes of the electronic archive, I found a text based adventure game (interactive fiction) called Everybody Dies. Intrigued, I downloaded the game and began to play it. The differences between this game and other interactive fictions games (The Baron, Aisle, etc.) is how strongly characterized each person is. The perspective starts with one character who resists your commands and complains the entire time. After he dies (because everybody dies), the perspective shifts to another character, and so on as everyone dies off. Really, each of the characters illustrates how pointless life is and how each one is bogged down by petty concerns that become irrelevant in the light of their death. It also makes clear how easy it is (apparently) to die. All of the characters are focused on themselves and their own goals, and in a lot of the death circumstances, that self focus results in their deaths.
A lot of the death were incredibly detailed and interesting, but what interested me most was what happened after they died. Until in most interactive fiction where death means the game restarts at the beginning, death doesn’t end the game. The game continues on in a “void” before slowly transitioning to the next character’s thoughts. While death seems inevitable, by creating a void as a transition because characters, there is a sense of reincarnation and how all these people are truly interconnected, whether they see it within themselves or not.
The last thing that stood out to me about this game is how similar it is to an interactive fiction game I made two years ago for a different class. The game I built was called “Survive” and it focused on one character exploring an abandoned church and being forced to die again and again in increasingly bizarre circumstances. I had never heard of “Everybody Dies” at the time, but I can’t help but see how well the game is coded and how the structure of multiple characters makes the insane death much more tolerable for the game player. In a lot of ways, my game was punishing to the player, but this game is not. Even death isn’t the end. Life continues on. And I think that was the main thesis of this game.