Now let me start this off by saying I’m not one for New Years Resolutions. I don’t think that just saying you’re going to change something about yourself works, not really. But that’s not to say that I don’t believe in change, because I do. I just believe that it’s moments in your life that change you, anything else is just decisions you make in your life based on this change that’s happened.
These ‘moments’ can come to you in various ways, it can be as simple as reading a book or listening to a song, to making eye contact with someone while sitting at a red robot. Change is literally happening all around you.
I’m always reminded of a quote from Harry Potter “It is our choices that show who we truly are”. We all experience millions of small changes throughout our lives, but it’s those few changes that we choose to embrace and act on that define us as the people we are today.
And no game has ever illustrated this concept better for me than Life is Strange.
Life Is Strange is an episodical story driven game, experienced over 5 episodes.
You play as an 18-year-old girl, named Max. And she is absolutely KICKASS.
Max is a photography student who ends up saving an old friend’s life when she discovers she can rewind time. The game is centered around the concept that every choice that you make in life, no matter how irrelevant it might seem, has a consequence. Everything you do and say has an impact and is important, leaving an echo in time even if you don’t see it, for good or for bad.
It’s a game heavily focused on friendship, honour, loyalty and having to make hard choices within yourself about what you feel is right. And then be willing to live with that choice.
This whole game was a moment for me, it made me stop and think about the coincidences that my everyday actions have outside of the game like I never have before.
And it definitely changed me.
Now with Life Is Strange it’s almost impossible for me to write anything that even feels in the slightest like a review and not an exceedingly corny high school love letter, one that’s been written in cursive. With a glitter pen.
But I just can’t help it, Life Is Strange doesn’t feel like a game that I’ve played to me, it feels like it’s honestly a part of my life that I’ve lived and experienced, a part of me and the person I now am.
But other than just telling you to stop reading this right now and go and play the game for yourself (Episode 1 is available for free on Steam so you really have no excuse)
I’m going to try and break down the reasons WHY you should do that.
First, the game is totally and completely beautiful in the dirtiest and ugliest way. It’s like that grubby street, in the dirty city that you just can’t help but love. The beauty of Life Is Strange lies in how realistic this game looks and feels, it’s not clean and sugar coated, it’s the exact opposite, everything from bathroom graffiti, rubbish lying on the floor right NEXT to the dustbin to cigarette butts littering the ground. The language in the game can be rough and vulgar, the emotions raw and deep. Everything in this game feels like real life.
Second, we have the music. I don’t think I have ever felt more excited to see anyone put in their earphones as when Max does. I feel like I spent so much of my time in game using Shazam to find out what song was playing so that I could buy it and have it forever. The music is as new, raw and beautiful as the game is itself.
And then third, we have the story and the choices, the game starts off telling you that your choices have consequences. And they aren’t kidding. After completing the game I went to YouTube to watch others play it, and every time I watch someone new play it’s like watching a completely different game with the outcome of their choices. It makes you suddenly become vividly aware of the power behind even the smallest of actions you take and the choices you are faced with, a feeling that I just couldn’t shake even weeks after I had stopped playing the game.
I think part of the reason why Life Is Strange had such a big impact on me, and my life, was because it succeeded in teaching me some life lessons that I’m almost ashamed to say I’m not 100% sure were fully enforced in me in my 24 years leading up to this:
It showed me that you should NEVER take anyone for granted or the impact that your actions have not only on you but also those connected to you. Just taking a single moment out of your time to stop and talk to the girl you see crying in the bathroom or answering a single phone call you didn’t really feel like can literally be the thing that saves someone’s life.
You should never rely on do-overs or second chances, do things right the first time – because you never know which do-over is your last and which decision is the last one you can make.
And lastly (and most importantly) DON’T BE A DICK.
You don’t know what is going on in someone’s life, no matter how much you think you do. You also don’t know what’s going on in their mind, you never know how close they are to snapping – you might think it’s a single, harmless word you’ve thrown their way, that in the big picture of your, or their lives, it doesn’t matter, but that single word might be the last one they need.
As I finished Life Is Strange, and I moved on with my life and onto new games, new stories, and new adventures there was one thing that just stuck. A single question that I couldn’t get out of my mind:
Are you sure you can live with the reactions and the consequences of your everyday choices?