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You attached the head on its side: the game on remember a binge

Te sujeté la cabeza de costado: el juego sobre recordar una borrachera

«I was holding the hair while you vomitabas», my friend told me, and I was unable to remember it. A gesture seemed particularly complicit, solidarity and even affectionate, I think, my brain would be registered in any other circumstance in the category of moments. But that time was not my brain mass to take notes, in fact already enough work had in its effort to keep me aware: was drunk like a lizard.

You don’t have to be a crapula proud of his dissolute life or a prose cipotuda with stories about brothels Sabina and fights. Almost everyone – even a fairly conventional and quiet life so far – have such anecdotes, the most wild and worthy of being counted in a round of ethylic war stories, result of occasional lapses or silly stages. Mental gaps and memories completely esfumados of things that tell us or show us, have happened during a wild drunken night are a cliche that will also support thousands of fictional stories, some even using it’s central premise as the trilogy of the hangover.

Te sujeté la cabeza de costado: el juego sobre recordar una borrachera

In video games, there are many characters with a tendency to put up the ass and fall unconscious and probably semiamnesicos – Max Payne 3, by putting a known example, or the start of the most recent Watch Dogs 2-, but the loss of memories is in all cases one symptom, such as migraine, not an important element in the mechanics. It is something that happens and that is normal, but in any game is important what was deleted (or what ever was recorded) the night before. There is a puzzle to the the hangover, only to the Memento: the amnesiac character is in a pathological way, and because of some trauma or incident that serves to cultivate the identification of the (new player in this universe when you start the game) with a character that is, until the story unveils his turns, tabula rasa. Amnesia is just an excuse, a convenient and transitory medical condition.

Me topo today with the first game – that I know – totally focused on alcoholic gaps as the main topic, and especially in the process of recovering deleted memories such but only is in pieces. It is entitled i made sure to hold your head sideways, is the work of Jenny Jiao Hsia (the artist after Slam City Oracles) for the 2016 Annual FLATGAME, a game jam that had as the only standard to make games where the player had to move pieces across a flat area. In further proof that sometimes the bright appears, with the limitations and not so much with the creative freedom Jenny took this restriction to create something like a new format and simple communication between those books of illustrations in high relief that pulling a pestañita figures are incorporated and the scenes and the visual novel do you charge a new sense.

I made sure to hold your head sideways in the story is simple and pretty everyday about a girl who drinks too much at a party and a friend tells you the events of that night, but is the way to tell it what engages and meets in some unexpected corner of the soul. By pressing one of the four arrow keys of the keyboard parts of what appear to be abstract drawings are repositioned and a text appears from behind of the figures, forming a sort of floating vignettes. It is as easy as testing each of the keys until we hit the correct, which rearranges the strokes and words so that all copper sense.

Te sujeté la cabeza de costado: el juego sobre recordar una borracheraPerhaps the most interesting game is the duality of its intentions: on one side is a beautiful and minimalist narrative exercise (accompanied by a fabulous music, by the way, the work of AP thomson) which makes a succession in fact simple somewhat touching; and above all the way how leverages its own conceptual limits to represent complex mental processes. What is the mechanism which we take hand to rebuild lengthiness memories of a night that left us hands? It is impossible to describe it, but the task of making memory seems much to that pressing keys until it works, to go back in time, describe each step if we remember out loud and go ordering to fainter reminiscences to form a narrative line of the specific chronology. As it happens in the game, the contribution of a friend – even though it gives the feeling that he was too drunk and explain what he remembers in a vague way, messy and just detailed – is usually the final brain hammer blow that puts things in place, forming an approximate image of that bit of our life that, according to our records It never happened.

As underlines Chris Priestman in his article for dedicated game KillScreen, the icing on the design form puts it into Jenny subverts the very language that has forged: instead of pieces of lines forming a drawing, appear whole drawings that is up to with the correct key. Only this investment as a resource used in very specific circumstances: when the friend of the protagonist explains that it stumbled and fell to the ground, the figure of a person walking is spread and diluted as if it lost its own entity. On another occasion speaks of the ambulance which they requested and never did, showing the drawing of the vehicle which disappears from the road when we complete the scene with the text.

The phrase that gives title to the game, «I made sure to hang the head on its side» (to avoid that it asfixiara to vomiting), reminded me very much what I said my friend the next day of the proverbial drunk does, I know what, ten years: «I was grasping hair». Both function as a spring which makes one feel the impact of the confirmation of a vivid fact hit a recent mental record that is empty, where not stated something that certainly happened. It is a particularly unique sensation, a squeak of mental gears with its own tone, and it is fascinating that someone has decided to make a game about it and, above all, who have found a way of expressing it.

You can play i made sure to hold your head sideways at itch.io.

Te sujeté la cabeza de costado: el juego sobre recordar una borrachera

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