Her Story

Anyone else out there playing Sam Barlow’s Her Story? Want to talk about it?

Yes. It’s pretty damn great. There’s been some rot13’d discussion on Emily’s blog.

I’m scared to scroll past the Spoiler tag on Emily’s post. I think I’ve found the big twists in the story… but maybe not? I know I have a lot of videos to go even though I think we’ve figured out a lot of it after two nights of game play.

If you were going to elevator pitch this to someone who likes mystery TV but doesn’t like games what would you say?

Hmmm… mystery tv is hard for me because I’ve never been into those detective shows despite liking mystery books. I would say that this game scratches the itch left by the podcast Serial, and that armchair detectives will find it satisfying to know that no one’s fate hinges on solving the crime. By which I mean that it’s low stakes since it’s fiction, but just as engaging. I was always a little uneasy listening to Serial when I thought about how Hae and Adnan were very real people.

It may not scratch the same itch as mystery TV because there’s no guaranteed revelation. Or reward moments at all, really. (As Emily says, it’s a daring design.) You can’t just sit back and watch the show.

I must say, however, that I’m terrible at mystery TV (and mystery novels) – I never pick up what the author thinks are The Right Clues which point at the Right Solution. Whereas Her Story worked very well for me! I played through, found nearly everything, and wound up coming to the same conclusions discussed in Emily’s blog thread.

I think this is because mystery novelists (and TV writers) aim for a thicker tangle of red herrings and multi-level lies. Just because they know there will be a “Here’s what really happened” scene. Those authors want to divide their audience into people who got it (and feel clever) and people who didn’t (and will try harder when reading the next mystery). Her Story isn’t doing that; or if it is, it’s tilted towards “everyone feels clever, if they are even minimally persistent”.

(I bet real-life detectives would say persistent wins over clever in their job, nine days out of ten…)

It looks like a wonderful game, and I’m glad it has had success! I think one might almost compare it to Toby’s Nose, or any those games where you are intended to examine things found in descriptions in multiply more complicated layers to find the way to the interesting bits.

This may also qualify as a very well-disguised maze puzzle, even though it doesn’t lock you down and make you retrace a path before trying a new one.

It’s on my To-Buy List for the iOS. Next time I feel like spending some money on iTunes, I’m getting Her Story.

HanonO: Heh, Emily Short also compared it to Toby’s Nose!

I trust I don’t have to point out that the video database in Her Story is branded “CornerStone”.

(But I will anyway.)

CornerStone like Infocom’s software? I didn’t notice that.

I’m guessing this isn’t a hypothetical? Anyway, I would describe it as a mystery movie/TV show where you get choose which leads to follow up on. It’s a bit more complicated than that (all the clips are out of order, for instance, which might seriously bug them), and it’s not really a question of whodunnit so much as why, but that might be an appealing description for them.

Well, it looks like the video clips don’t play on OS X 10.7, so I have a while to work on my elevator pitch.

I’m sorry you can’t get the video clips to work. Admittedly, I’ve been playing it on the iPad.

I think the greatest thing about this game is that just when I think I’ve figured everything out, I’ll think up a new search term that leads to a new piece of the story. Plus every time I check how many videos we’ve watched and see how many more there are to find, it feels like the app that keeps on giving.

Maybe I should just buy it on iPad and give away my OS X copy. It’d be nice to be able to play it now while everyone is talking about it.

I like playing on the iPad. I actually like to play all my IF on the iPad. There are games I really want to play – like Kentucky Route Zero – but I don’t want to play them on the computer and there is no mobile version.

My husband and I have split the work. He controls the iPad, tagging videos and typing in search terms. I take the paper notes.

Ha, I noticed this too. I was sad searching for “xyzzy” did not produce any secret clips, but probably they just couldn’t decide on how to pronounce it.

Fantastic game. See, I keep telling people typing in words is an interesting game mechanic!

I just finished it last night, playing with a group of friends. A++, strong recommend, etc. I’m a huge fan of genre murder mysteries, and Her Story did hit some of those pleasure centers for me, but my less murder-obsessed friends seemed to enjoy it just as much. Our only complaint was that we kept mixing it up in conversation with Her Things, a local interactive theatre piece that also involved piecing together a story about someone’s death. :wink:

Somewhat cheat-y hint for folks who want to see all the clips: The “blank” tag is searchable just like the others.

Although, maybe-spoilery question: Is it possible to somehow access the “missing volume” that the DB checker mentions?

To unspoilerize your second question: nah, it’s just lampshading the “missing footage” of the questions, and it’s not repairable. It confused me too – I thought it was maybe the “you haven’t finished yet” flag, but the game’s official twitter account set me straight, so there you go.