Grief is not constant. It is an ever-changing animal that changes without notice. One moment, you are certain that you have finally learned to accept and live with the loss. Then the next, you’re back in a spiral, when the tiniest detail takes back those complicated feelings. Something that has been gathering dust in your home for years suddenly turns into a powder laden with painful memories. Places that once felt comfortable are distorted into something hostile.
Hindsight – Release Date Trailer – Nintendo Switch
hindsight, a new narrative indie game published by Annapurna Interactive, captures that experience through a simple, yet effective interactive experience. This video game is the latest in a line of personal essays (think a blue memoir either before your eyes) who dare to deliver emotional truth over pure entertainment. hindsight There’s a quick game that can be completed in one sitting, but I already know that its tough thoughts on grief are going to last longer than most 40-hour games I’ve played this year.
hindsight A centered story tells of a woman returning home to clean up her childhood home after her mother passes away. Each item she packs suddenly becomes a window into her past, opening up hard memories about her past. A metronome reminds of a domineering mother who pushed her too hard. A mortar and pestle set connects the dots between her love of cooking with her parents and her eventual career as a restaurant owner. Each object connects the dots of his life, pieced together in how the small moments of his childhood shaped him.
All of this is communicated through a simple interactive system. The player clicks (or taps, as I did on the Switch’s touch screen) to travel over the highlighted objects. At one point, I tap on the tire swing on the front porch and peek through it like a window to relive a memory. When I find the kitchen knife, it reminds me of the memory I was holding it in. It all plays out in a fluid, tear-jerking two-hour story that unfolds throughout the house.
hindsightIts main focus is on unpacking (ironically) all the stuff that comes with grief. Speaking of loss, I appreciate that it doesn’t take away some of the complex emotions that can arise during the grieving process. The main character depicts some ugly parts of her childhood, punctuated by her parents’ flaws and her own unpleasant behaviors. It’s a human approach to the subject that understands that you can still love someone and accept their flaws.
In a scene that resonated with me, she travels to the period after her father’s death. She depicts the moment when she resents her mother for not being sad enough. This appears to be an irrational reaction, but it is real. A good friend of mine was recently killed in an accident and the months after his death were filled with such moments. I would see pictures of people getting married or going to the beach and feel angry. “How dare people when he can’t,” I thought. I knew I was being treated unfairly, but it was hard to move regardless. hindsight Reminds me that I am not the only person experiencing those thorny reactions; This is all part of the process.
hindsight Can feel a bit melodramatic at times, which can be frustrating for some players. It is soundtracked by Weeping Strings and a large portion of its dialogue with its main character being poetic on broad philosophical questions. But it’s the more subtle moments that offer an intimate portrait of grief, in which it’s easy to find some comforting nuggets of truth. I may have spent two hours learning about the grief of a fictional character, but I went away with a better understanding of my own feelings of loss and a better understanding of the long road I have yet to travel. I will always carry my sorrow with me, but hindsight Gave me tips on how to pack it neatly.
hindsight Will launch on August 4th for PC, Nintendo Switch and iOS.