‘Life Is Strange’ – a #BacklogSunday recap.

“If you are affected by any of the content in Life Is Strange please visit our website at http://www.LifeIsStrange.com/talk for details of support groups in your area.”

-a message from DONTNOD.

My gaming has, in recent months, taken a backseat to my writing. That’s fine, I love writing. But the stress of writing and trying to get published is probably shortening my life, so I need to make some time to enjoy the fun and relaxation one can only find in a videogame. For that reason, I’ve brought back #BacklogSunday, where I choose a game I bought but never played (I’ve got a bunch) and, well, play it.


Last night’s game was ‘Life Is Strange,’ developed by DONTNOD Entertainment, the studio that brought us ‘Remember Me.’ ‘Life Is Strange’ is a different sort of game, heavy on storytelling with a bit of puzzle-solving. You play as Max, a student at Blackwell Academy, which is some sort of high-end high school. Max has a love for analog photography, and occasionally, in the game, snaps a photo with her instant camera.

And she can rewind time.

The time thing plays a big part in the puzzle-solving, but you can also use it to rewind conversations and make different choices. It means you might have to sit through the same dialogue a few times, but I kinda liked that.

LifeIsStrange2Max’s time-rewinding ability is a well-designed mechanic, and DONTNOD have put it in a game of unparalleled storytelling. The characters, like Max’s best friend Chloe, are well-written and quite interesting. There’s subtlety and wit in the writing. And the music. It fits so well, complementing the emotional content perfectly.

In the course of the game, you make choices that affect your future, like Telltale’s ‘The Walking Dead’ games, which I also loved. The content in ‘Life Is Strange’ hits a bit closer to home, so the game is sticking in my mind more than ‘The Walking Dead.’ In fact, it’s probably affected me more than any other game I’ve played.

I played through two episodes of ‘Life Is Strange,’ and I’ll probably play the rest tonight. And next week, I’ll be back on Twitter for another #BacklogSunday, probably around 7pm. Join me?

Special Addendum: Confined to the Office.

A few months ago, my big TV broke. It lasted less than two years. I bugged the company who made it (Vizio, which I think is French for “scumbags”) for several weeks, trying to appeal to their sense of decency and customer service. The response was “you should’ve bought the extended warranty.” Yes, Vizio doesn’t expect their TVs to last very long. There are apparently class-action lawsuits in the works. Maybe I’ll jump on one of those. In the meantime, since writing hasn’t made me rich yet, I haven’t replaced the TV.

Anyway, all that means I’ll need to do all of my gaming in my office on a 23” monitor. I can plug my PS4 into it, but I think I’ll be playing mostly PC games in the future. Because people like this sort of thing, here’s the specs for my PC:

  • Intel Core i5-3570K, overclocked to 4.00 GHz
  • 8 MB RAM
  • 2x GTX 770 graphics cards, made by Gigabyte, 4GB GDDR, slightly overclocked, SLI-capable.
  • Xonar DG sound card
  • 3 monitors (2 Asus, 1 Dell), all 23” IPS displays
  • Windows 10 Professional

It’s not the most powerful system in the world, but it gets the job done quite well. ‘Fallout 4’ runs smoothly at 60 FPS (most of the time), while ‘GTA 5’ runs steady at ~40 FPS, and those are with Ultra settings, so they look fantastic. I use an XBox 360 controller most of the time. I’ve also got a Logitech G502 Gaming Mouse, but I spilled coffee on it a while ago, so two of the buttons don’t work anymore.

So for most of the future #BacklogSunday sessions, I’ll be playing on my PC. Follow along here and on Twitter.

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