Category Archives: Alex Plays

Choosing What To Leave Behind: Oxenfree and Grief


[Ahoy mateys, spoilers abound!]

The Dead Big Brother trope is the logical opposite of the Dead Little Sister—where a DLS often kicks off manpain of some variety it also symbolises a death of innocence, as these characters are very rarely to blame for their death and their adorable, pure spectre haunts the protagonist for the rest of the story. A DBB more often symbolises a death of stability, the loss of a protective anchor that makes the world without it scary, unpredictable, and raw. This is definitely the case for the heroine of Oxenfree, Alex, whose older brother drowned some time before the game’s story begins, leaving a gaping emotional gap in her—and others’—lives. It’s awful. Alas, if only we could go back in time and stop that fatal accident from happening… Continue reading


Filed under Alex Plays, Pop Culture Ponderings

Firewatch, A Game About Avoiding Your Problems Until They Burn Everything Down


There are few things louder than silence. If you want to drown out guilt, grief, responsibility and other uncomfortable emotions that demand your attention and threaten to take over your life, your best bet is a trip away from society and industry where your only company is a really big forest. Forests don’t judge and demand nothing from you but mutual peace and quiet, and that quiet will form walls that keep out those pesky, hard-to-deal-with feelings. This is part of Henry’s logic, anyway, when he takes a job as a fire lookout in the Middle of Nowhere National Park, Wyoming, following his wife’s decline into early onset dementia and his inability to cope with this. He soon finds, though, that the silence of the forest is not as welcoming as it might have once seemed. Continue reading

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Filed under Alex Plays, Pop Culture Ponderings

Character Studies: Mike “Jesus Hot Sauce Christmas Cake” Munroe


Until Dawn does not want you to like most of its main characters. The entire prologue—the establishing character moment for most of the cast—consists of them humiliating one of their supposed dearest friends, filming it, and sending her fleeing into the snow and her eventual death. They are, at first glimpse, a bunch of assholes, except for Josh (who turned out to be the villain, go figure), Chris, and the sole voice of sympathy and reason Sam. The centre of the prank, Mike, seems to be the worst offender, but oddly enough I ended up liking him most. What happened here? Continue reading


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Saving Kate Marsh

saving kate

[TW: This post contains discussion of suicide]

This playthrough we managed to do it. I played with my sister at my side and some extra knowledge in tow, and we climbed one of the greatest emotional mountains Life Is Strange threw at me: we convinced Kate Marsh to step down and not kill herself. And it was emotional as all hell, on a very real level, the same way failing to save her the first time was. Continue reading


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Everyone Got Eaten By Wendigos and It Was All My Fault: Randomness and Responsibility in Choice-Based Games


[Until Dawn spoilers ahead!]

Few things get the heart rate up like “Character X will remember this”, “this action will have consequences”, or an explosion of transparent butterflies from the corner of your screen. When making decisions in choice-based games you can never tell what will trigger these ominous whispers through the fourth wall, nor can you often tell whether the consequence will be positive, negative, or somewhere in between… or indeed if it will be a noticeable change at all. You chose not to share your nachos with another character? Maybe they’ll be grumpy about it for five minutes while they get their own snack. Maybe they will later abandon you, bitterly, at an opportune moment, leading to your untimely death. Continue reading


Filed under Alex Plays, Archetypes and Genre

Life Is Strange #5: Max Caulfield vs The Universe


The in-class selfie was an enormous plot point! All the selfies are crucially important! I was only joking about that! I cannot believe this!! Continue reading


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Life Is Strange #4: Paying the (Chloe) Price


This episode answers a few burning questions, but ultimately leaves me asking more. Chiefly: what fresh Hell is this? Continue reading


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Life Is Strange #3: Just Gals Being Pals


Rule number one of time travel: however much you are tempted, do not go back and save the adorable tragic dead dad. They tried it in Steins;Gate and it almost destroyed anime. Continue reading

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Life Is Strange #2: The Great Bottle Hunt of ‘13


In its second instalment, Life Is Strange takes the time to develop Max’s female friendships, then puts said friends in mortal danger repeatedly. Lucky Max has time reversal powers! Until she doesn’t. Continue reading


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Life Is Strange #1: Selfies and Chaos Theory


You wake, disorientated. Around you, a storm rages. If you can only get to the lighthouse, some whisper of groggy logic tells you, you’ll be safe. But once you reach the seaside tower you come across nothing other than a hurricane ripping across the ocean towards you, hurling a boat that near cleaves the lighthouse, your sanctuary, in half—

Psyche! You’re actually in an incredibly uppity photography class. Sure hope that was a daydream and not foreshadowing! Continue reading


Filed under Alex Plays