Games That Deserve My Silence
Silence of the Fans
There are some games I can talk all day about, no problem. Overwatch for example. I can talk about team composition or new heroes. I can endlessly drone on about why I pick Ashe over Widowmaker or complain about Zarya’s lacklustre skins. Overwatch is a conversation. ‘A Normal Lost Phone’ however is not.
Scrolling through the puzzle section of the Nintendo eShop my eyes fixated on the image of ‘A Normal Lost Phone’. Its artwork made me feel welcome and a sparse but encouraging description intrigued me. Not to mention it was in the sale for a bit under £4. I bought it, figuring if it wasn’t good, not much money or time would be wasted.
I loaded it up and the first thing is does is give you a warning of bigoted content, before telling you you can turn your Switch sideways. I do so, and my God I have never felt more naturally integrated into a game. Despite the massive size of a Switch compared with my phone, it felt completely natural to hold the console in this orientation throughout the entirety of the game.
Ah, the game. You are a bystander. It doesn’t matter who you are in all honesty, indeed the point is you don’t matter whatsoever. You have picked up a phone which doesn’t belong to you and you need to work out who it belongs to. You aren’t given much to go off of, it’s just a phone you know? You need to work out what to do yourself with a gorgeous playlist playing in the background. Who is the owner? That’s all you need to work out.
I cannot expand any more. Nothing I say that expands more on the premise will do any favours for the gameplay. In fact, the more I talk about the game, the less brilliant it would be for you. This game deserves my silence. It deserves my patience when it comes to waiting for others to experience what is inside. I am struggling to find things to say, other than go and play A Normal Lost Phone. It’s cheap, it’s beautiful and it’s worth your time.
I come across these games more often than you’d think. Games where I don’t want to tell you how brilliant the outcome or the journey is because it makes it a little less magical for people trekking down the path after you. Those that come after can feel as if they’re the first in that enchanted place if you leave enough for them to discover. I feel, though, this is one of those times where I can point some readers in the right direction to such titles.
Valiant Hearts. The best war game I have ever played and it’s on a variety of platforms so you have no excuse. It’s a juxtaposition to A Normal Lost Phone as it’s about what you can see and hear, rather than what you can read. A Normal Lost Phone is about a narrative written down in a way phone users may work out. Valiant Hearts is about you playing through this world, hearing a vague distressed call and working out the puzzle to help others. Again, a beautiful score. Perhaps more beautiful than A Normal Lost Phone because of its consistent simplicity, and comedic beats.
Broken Age. A fantastic point and click adventure which holds a fabulous journey within it. I have never been more invested in the overlying story of a point-and-click like I have with Broken Age and when the pieces unexpectedly fall into place, it’s shocking. My sister knew a twist before I did and once it came around I had to pause the game, run up to her room and scream about it for a hot second. If you do go and play the game after reading this, don’t even try to guess the story beats, they’re deliciously off the wall. It’s a Double Fine game so I don’t need to harp on about how charming it is to you, the studio name is enough. A luscious fully formed experience I shouldn’t say another word on.
Florence. I have certainly mentioned Florence before, but I do so again gladly. A simple mobile game that shouldn’t need more selling than a glimpse at its artwork. If that isn’t enough then just know it’s a little tale about a relationship and that’s it. It’s delightful. Emotions run high, but as it only takes around 30-45 minutes to complete it, the experience isn’t draining. If you have somewhere to go on a tube or a short journey with little to no internet, download this, plug some earphones in and get lost with Florence.
It’s a shame when I see games deserving of silence ruined for many by over enthused fans. I’ve always wished that I hadn’t found out the ending of Bioshock through constant references to ‘Would You Kindly’ or know that the cake was a lie from day one. You can be excited for a game without ruining the magic and wonder you felt for someone else. I’ll continue to be quiet about these games for as long as I think their stories should be told by their creators, and I hope more people do too.