game link: https://sald-devs.github.io/sald/5DaysLeft.html
playthrough video: https://vimeo.com/124977854
A Game About Interactivity, Meaningful Choices, and Fun.
This is a game that pretends to be about a girl going through mundane activities such as playing with friends and going to school while a war deteriorates her surroundings. The girl has to make choices between playing with her friends and helping out her family, trying to manage time and make do with what she has in a world that slowly decays over the course of 5 days.
However, none of the player’s choices matter. The girl always dies to a car bomb on day 2. But she then wakes up on day 3 with player choices stripped away because the primary means of interaction, the phone screen, is broken at the bottom. As time further progresses, the war game the player can play on the girl’s phone becomes impossible to win, and the only form of interaction the player can make is to click through a linear progression. In other words, there is no meaningful choice. In the end, even the click-through interactivity the player had is taken away, and all the player can do is watch an animation of the girl walking to and back from school unfold, ending with her laying alone in her bed.
In the end, this is not even a game by definition. There is no interactivity and no meaningful choice. Throughout this entire process, we repeatedly ask the player “are you having fun yet?”. Because it sure is not.
We made this to experiment with a decreasing rather than increasing interest curve through the mechanic of slowly removing interactivity from the game. We originally wanted to make a game about war, where the main mechanic is taking away player choices. However, we realized that our original game idea was absurd: why is the girl still going to school, even after dying? We received a lot of feedback regarding the removal of mechanics too, and based on those, we decided to remove all logic by the end to focus on showcasing the absurdity of game tropes and point out player expectations of what a “game” is supposed to be.
This game is made with Andrew Sweet and Jessica Shen using the SALD engine.
making of: https://vimeo.com/album/3349167/video/124977699
sald engine: https://github.com/ixchow/sald