By MuttersomeTaxicab 17 Comments
So a year ago, I downloaded Don't Take It Personally, Babe, It Just Ain't Your Story. I had significant misgivings, mind. I really liked Digital: A Love Story, but I'm not much one for this kind of art. Not that I actively avoid it, but it usually requires some special hook that appeals to my generally insane interests. And while I really liked Digital, I did get the feeling that Love had grabbed well-worn sci-fi tropes by the fistful and packed them into the game, content to brush off these "old" ideas as intertextual referent points that, well, she didn't do a lot with. It was still an affecting experience, and one I look back on fondly for the couple hours I spent with it.
Last April, I was finishing up a digital media class I was taking part-time. My final project was to create an interactive fiction that was based on the course readings. I'd also done some research into the genre (of which the visual novel figures as a sort of technically sophisticated extension of the kind of interactive fiction that games like Zork started.) After I'd finished the game, I had to write a paper that gave some background on the game and how it related to the class. Of course, the day after we did an exhibition of the class games, I was going on vacation. Before the flight, I downloaded Don't Take It Personally..., but I didn't get a chance to actually play until after we'd touched down.
Like I said, I was mostly curious, but I expected the concept or the art to put me off. Astonishingly, neither happened. I somehow found myself absorbed in the narrative (although, admittedly, the 4chan-styled bits completely mystified me.) I mean, here I was, in Florida, with my soon-to-be-fiancee and family, and I spent a solid chunk of time inside, in the kitchen, playing through a visual novel. It was kind of mind-boggling and I still can't articulate why or how it grabbed me the way it did, nor why the storyline has stuck with me for so long.
It's gotten to the point where, a year later, I'm registered in that professor's new graduate program (part-time, still) and finishing up a significantly longer final paper (again, wherein we created a gelocative augmented-reality game that, at its core, is still basically an interactive fiction game) and I'm looking back at Don't Take It Personally... with something approximating nostalgia. Of course, there's Analogue: A Hate Story, which I purchased a couple nights ago after going to bed after hitting the halfway point on my paper. I'm looking forward to getting deeper into that, too. Again, not super into the art style, but that's Love's prerogative, really. As long as she's still putting together compelling narratives (which, I have to assume she is, even if I can't explain why they're compelling to me) then count me in.
TL;DR: On paper, Don't Take It Personally sounds like a story that just ain't my story. Apparently a year after playing it, it still is. I still don't know why, but I'm pleased.
Anybody else find this? Anybody else bother?