‘One Chance’

‘One Chance’ is barely a game, despite its familiar 8-bit style. There are only two controls: the arrow keys to move and the space bar as an action button. There is little else involved in the gameplay besides walking, watching scenes take place, and making your choice. An average person will likely complete the game within 10 minutes. However, it does do one thing very unique to interactive media in general

Your choices are permanent.

Simply reloading the website will direct you back to where you are in the game, or to the final scene of the game after completion. Even opening it on a different tab or browser will result in the same thing (apparently the game keeps track of IP addresses).

The plot of the game itself is simple, and fits the format this game chooses to follow. Following the prompt of having ‘six days before every living cell on planet Earth dies’, you begin play as a scientist, Ron Pilgrim, who has just created a cure for cancer that directly destroys the cells involved. Every day, you are given the option to either go to work, or do any other activity prompts the game provides you (anything from staying home to having an affair with a co-worker). The next day, your work place realizes the cure is a bust: it destroys -all- living cells it comes into contact with, and its use could lead to catastrophic consequences. The ‘cure’ is inevitably released, and within the next 3-4 days life on Earth comes to a fast end, and your family and coworkers gradually die off.¬†At the end of the game, the prompt ‘You have one chance’ turns to ‘You had one chance’, and the character is reduced to a sickly crawl, able to make their final option before the ending.

I managed to get what was likely the best ending by simply choosing to go to work at the lab every day, concocting a cure to save what was left of the world. The last image I got was an inviting, green park, which is shown every time I reload the game. Perhaps a practical way to try to save the world, but considering that the game does give you only one opportunity, I doubt many other people would have done that given the myriad other options offered to the player.

The concept of introducing that sort of permanence to a player’s actions is definitely rare, if not entirely non-existent. Even games with ‘hardcore’ (permanent character death) options will allow you to make a new character afterwards. Though it is a bit of a gimmick, especially for an otherwise short flash game, I still enjoyed it as a compelling diversion, and the concept of consequence was something very unique to the format of the flash game (and arguably video games in general).