Her Story, a murder mystery game with a tragic flaw


#1

[Read the post]


#2

I mean, if you use the interpretation that most people agree is wrong, then I guess you’re right?

They’re twins. Apart from the bruise and different DNA in the bedroom and the tattoo, one of them was in a different city at the time of the murder.

Less outrage to squeeze out this way, though.


#3

Thank you very much for revealing this aspect of the game. Now I know I won’t be buying it after all. As the child of a severely mentally ill person, I am So. Very. Tired. of all the shamefully harmful tropes about mental illness in the mainstream media, so it was good to learn that this game is something for me to avoid.


#4

This is one of my favorite reviews of this game, specifically for noting this.

We should try to make a world where mental illness isn’t regarded as some sort of plot magic that can excuse away whatever twist the writers want to put in.


#5

way too long of an article for such an obvious flaw. i admit i didnt finish the first paragraph of this article, but after 4 hrs with her story divied up between 3 sessions i finally came up with the idea to search for “blank”. game ruined. pls fix trhis (un?)intentional cheat


#6

Eliminate the impossible, and the remaining explanation, however unlikely, is the correct one. As the article says, the MPD/DID explanation is impossible. It relies on an incorrect understanding of this mental illness. It at no point is mentioned in the game itself, which actually directly implies the police realised (from fingerprint evidence) twins were involved and were calling Hannah on it.

The story thematically revolves around the twins storyline, it sets up the core mystery of why Eve would become so fascinated at being Hannah’s reflection that she would sacrifice so much for her, who does not recognise the real sense in which she had been betrayed by Hannah. It raises the spectre of the fairy tales, the idea of magical-realist stories where yes, surprising and incredible things happen. Remove the twins element and the story is nonsense, it’s just a pack of lies that exist for no reason.

The tragic flaw lies with the player’s inability to dissociate their experience of the game with past representations of DID. This game is not about DID. It’s a story about twins in an abusive relationship, inspired by real life events like


#7
  1. Do you really think “outrage” is a fair characterization of the discussion of mental illness in the OP? Can you provide some corroborating details? I thought it was a restrained and nuanced criticism and I really don’t understand where you get “outrage”.
  2. Why can’t you make the charitable assumption that the author honestly thinks DID is the most likely explanation rather than implying that she had some ulterior motive for writing the article she did?

#8

Could you put up a spoiler warning in the article? Knowing these key plot points does detract from my interest in exploring these organically :frowning:


#9

Wait, are you seriously trying to argue against that the author’s overarching point–that mental illness being an impetus for violence is a harmful and statistically inaccurate narrative trope used callously in our media–by claiming that the critiqued piece of media is instead inspired by a outlier example of linked mental illness and violence, sensationalized partially because it confirms that inaccurate trope?


#10

I don’t think your theory of the story is any more or less valid than the author’s experience. And even if your outcome is the absolute only accurate interpretation, the fact remains the ‘mystery’ played on the possibility, the enticing spectre of a dissasociative woman. Even as a red herring, it’s a plot device that deserves to be questioned.

Great contribution to the conversation by pegging nuanced criticism based on a player’s own experience as ‘oturage’, though. Just kidding, it’s not great and we don’t welcome it here.


#11

I hate to undercut the central criticism of the article, but it seemed incredibly clear (to me at least) that Hannah and Eve are two different people - one has a tattoo and the other doesn’t, one has a bruise on one side of her face and the other doesn’t, etc.

Yes, the circumstances of Eve’s birth and upbringing are improbable, but that’s because this isn’t a realistic fiction, it’s a detective story. More than that, it’s a gothic fairy tale – a style reinforced by the tale’s focus on mirrors, dark reflections, and all the rest. Emily Short also did an in-depth review of the game and was similarly concerned about the idea that it was using the old MPS trope as well, but further examinations proved it not to be the case to her satisfaction.


#12

[SPOILERS]
Bear in mind that it is never, ever, ever stated that the woman in the game suffers from DID, and that that is an explanation/interpretation derived by some people that play the game.

However, the reading that the characters are twins is also problematic in the sense that the murderer is a hysterical, jealous woman (if Hannah, the ‘normal’ twin is in fact the killer), or a victim of abuse who becomes a murdering psychopath (if Eve, the twin who was abducted and cloistered).


#13

There is a weird self-defeating short circuit in argument here. “The story promotes two interpretations A and B, of which interpretation A is clearly the most likely. Now let me go on to explain why the story does not in fact lend itself to interpretation A.”


#14

One of the most interesting phenomena I’ve noticed in discussions about this game is that, whichever of the two main theories people subscribe to, they are typically pretty intractably dug into them, and confident that the lion’s share of in-game evidence is on their side, and that the other theory is completely laughably implausible.

I wonder if part of this is a direct result of the structure of the game, by which people necessarily come across different parts of information first, and may by induction draw different conclusions early on. The back half of the game then becomes a demonstration of confirmation-bias, wherein players find ways to slot any new information into the conclusion they’ve already drawn about Hannah/Eve. This may be wholly unintentional, but if this is what’s happening, it’s a pretty canny emulation of the way confirmation bias is often a factor in police interrogations of suspects.


#15

Isn’t the association of mental illness with violent criminal behavior at least partly attributable to willingness to commit violent criminal acts itself being a form of mental illness?

I mean, I get the damage caused towards society’s perception of mental illness by the prevalence of the “Craaazy Psycho Axe Murderer!” caricature in fiction, but it seems a lot of “ordinary” murderers demonstrate pathology by the very fact that they went and murdered someone. You don’t have to wear a creepy clown mask or have multiple personalities or think your dead mother disapproves of your motel guest. If you’re going around killing people, something ain’t right up there.


#16

[SPOILERS]
One of them has a tattoo, the other doesn’t. She answers questions about the speed of which her bruised face recovered. They are not the same person. She asks about charging someone who doesn’t exist because she doesn’t have a real identity and operated as her sister her whole life. It’s not about DID.


#17

I find the title of this post misleading; the article is not about a “tragic flaw” in the game, but about a possible interpretation that the author objects to. I found the most appealing aspect of the game (and I wish I had a better descriptor than “game”) its sustained, thought-provoking ambiguity about identity.


#18

There’s always Brian Sanderson’s “Legion” series…

http://brandonsanderson.com/books/legion/legion/


#19

[NOTE: SPOILERS]

I disagree with this review so strongly. Laura, you should really try to hold yourself to higher standards in the future:

A.) You had an enormous plot point spoiled to you beforehand, and you allowed it to STRONGLY color your interpretation of the game, which I think is very unprofessional.

B.) Your argument about mental illness in the game is flat out incorrect. That is one possible interpretation, but you simply have no ground to stand on it you claim that it is the ABSOLUTE truth in the case. There is PLENTY of evidence to the contrary, some of which is pretty strong physical evidence (the black eye, the fact that she was seen in a different city at the time of the disappearance, the tattoo, the lie detector test, etc). It seems like you made up your mind beforehand and then ignored all facts to the contrary.

C.) You make a very dismissive argument that "roving squads of self-appointed authenticity monitors who patrol the imaginary borders of games have deemed Her Story "not a real game "for the usual reasons: because it’s cerebral, it stars a woman, and
anyone can play it. To make a game like that in the current climate is
something of a refreshing, rebellious act; those “criticisms” are the
precise reason the game feels so fresh and enjoyable, and are best read
as unintended compliments. " What evidence do you have for this? If anything, the game has had overwhelmingly positive reviews from both reviewers and average players, across . And this dismisses genuine concern over the “gameplay” in this. For instance: the game genuinely presents you with no goal, no clear way to finish it until a pop up just randomly appears, the game ends suddenly with an unfulfilling ending, the database checker is misleading because it makes you think that you can access all videos (which, to my knowledge, is impossible since at least 10 of the videos are likely one-word responses). And it’s important to remember that just because something isn’t technically a “game” doesn’t mean that is an insult.

E.) Despite all of these problems, you still explicitly call this article a review, which makes it misleading and unfair to the game and potential consumers. I’ve heard from many people that they won’t be buying this game because you’ve convinced them that this is offensive to mentally ill people, and that is so sad.

Sorry to be critical, but I really think you should correct your mistakes in this article.


#20

A lot of people are going on about how “other interpretations are possible” - but it seems to me the game treats the multiple personality thing as a real personality, or at least a red herring, doesn’t it? At which point, criticism on that regard is perfectly justifiable.

Also algae, your attacks on point C kinda blow any credibility you have - you may want to hold yourself to higher standardsin the future.