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As a parent obsessed with the safety of my children, I discovered the video game from hell | Games

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Wwhat are you looking for in a video game? Excitation? Immersive escape? A sense of accomplishment? Or to be reduced to a whiny mess? My youngest daughter, Sharkie, said I would get it all from What Remains of Edith Finch. So I jump into the game, not even sorry that the title doesn’t have a question mark at the end.

The most intense gaming experience I have ever had was crying during Final Fantasy VII on PlayStation. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? The great things in life make you cry, whether it’s movies or songs, first loves or sporting final defeats. Laughing is easy. We laugh every day, even when things aren’t really funny. But crying calls for something special, like the death of Aeris, or Terry Jacks singing Seasons in the Sun, or the Buffy season 2 finale, or watching Mr. Holland’s Opus on a plane when you’re drunk. .

I cried over it all, but never cried when any of my children were born. I always thought that made me a terrible parent from day one, and that’s what comes through my mind when I play Edith Finch, which is about a family whose children all die in strange circumstances. . It’s our biggest fear as parents, isn’t it? As we wade through the ocean of our parental failings, we cling to that one rock: at least we didn’t kill them. And that’s what keeps me from enjoying this game.

That’s not to say that I don’t admire a lot of things about it. The individual styles of each death story are beautifully varied, from heart-wrenching POV scenes to others drawn through a retro Viewmaster. It’s art encoded on an ever-changing gaming canvas. I would go so far as to say that the section where one of the brothers slowly loses the will to live working in a fish cannery is the most creative level of video game I have ever seen.

As a parent obsessed with the safety of my children, I discovered the video game from hell |  Games

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The most creative level of video game I have ever seen… What Remains of Edith Finch. Photography: Annapurna Interactive

I also like the rhythm. High art can’t be rushed, and here you always walk: it’s probably the slowest game I’ve played since Lords of Midnight on the ZX Spectrum. That means I can have a sliced ​​turkey and cream cheese bagel while I’m playing, the kind of lunch you just can’t eat while playing Call of Duty.

But I can’t escape the fact that most of What Remains of Edith Finch’s gameplay revolves around the death of children. Children of all ages. From teens hit by storm debris to a drowning baby in a bath. For a distraught middle-aged parent, it’s a lot more upsetting to watch than any Mortal Kombat death squirting burgundy. And all of this is so preventable! Basically all the deaths in this game are due to bad parenting. A character dies of food poisoning after eating stuff that is lying around. No! I have spent much of my life cleaning refrigerators and putting safety locks on cupboards precisely so that DI do not have happen. I am that parent who is obsessed with predicting what can go wrong. I put rubber on the edges of each counter. I made all my children wear bicycle helmets around the house when they were learning to walk. My kids turned me into such a paranoid parental wreck, they killed all the free joy of being an irresponsible ’90s boy.

There is nothing you can do to save the characters in Edith Finch; just look at their individual tragedies. That’s kind of the point of the story, but for me, it’s as frustrating as watching Titanic. In fact, it’s worse, because you’re not just watching them die, you are unwillingly directing them towards their demise. I spent 23 years as a parent trying not to have my children killed. I really don’t want to play a game where I can’t save them.

While What Remains of Edith Finch did not give me the escape, achievement, immersion, or emotional release of my own tears, it did make me perform a broad recognition of the health and safety of our home and dig up old bicycle helmets for children. Even though they are now 15, 17 and 23 years old.

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