I've gone on before about how I play video games in order to smile, so whenever a game known for its depressing qualities comes around, I tend to give it a pass. Such was the fate of Quantic Dream's Heavy Rain for the Sony PlayStation 3, as I enjoyed the gameplay concepts seen in the demo, but really wasn't up for the experience outlined in this moment from Not Always Right:
Me: “Hi, welcome to [store]! Anything I can do for you?”
(Customer puts a copy of a video game on the counter.)
Customer: “I’m returning this game; it’s not for me.”
Me: “What didn’t you like about it?”
Customer: “It was the stupidest game ever! I walked around a house for 10 minutes, went to the mall, then my kid died and the credits rolled and it was over!”
Me: “Uh…those were the opening credits.”
I can't escape the interactive drama, as I found out that a few of my Kombo colleagues were placing bets on whether or not I'd like the game if I were to play it (since artsy games such as Flower and flOw aren't my thing), and so with money at stake I felt it was my duty to borrow a copy of Heavy Rain and see what it had to offer. So far I walked around a house for 10 minutes, went to the mall, then my kid died. I had to shut it off after that before the depression consumed me, but I'm not giving up on it. I'm told that it lightens up after such a bleak beginning, but I can't help but wonder why Quantic Dream would choose to open their genre-breaking game with such overwhelming sadness. How is this supposed to hook audiences on an unconventional form of gaming?