Thursday, 22 November 2012

The Witch's House and PewDiePie

So, I've recently started watching PewDiePie's lets play videos over on Youtube. Honestly, I thought I would hate them. I expected someone who thinks way too much of themselves will be playing games expecting everyone just to sit and watch him, and watching other people play games has never had great appeal to me.

Luckily, I was wrong. I honestly think PewDiePie is one of the funniest things on the internet and I'm so glad I gave him a try, watching him freak out over horror games, sing to Parappa the Rapper and create the most messed up Spore creations have given me endless laughs over the past few days. But while this is all well and good, this isn't what made me want to write this blog post.

Recently I watched PewDiePie finish playing a nice indie title called The Witch's House where you play a young girl trapped in a house with magical powers and you have to try to escape. The game is both scary, in a jumpy kind of way, and very funny, particularly watching someone else play. The creepy theme which it follows works very well and makes the player uneasy about everything in the house.

So, it's a pretty good game, why write a blog post about it? The ending. The TRUE ending. An ending hasn't had this kind of effect on me in a long time, possibly since Braid, and even then I thought Braid's ending was a bit forced. I'm going to write about it without spoilers for as long as I can, but I'll flag up a spoiler warning when I give something away.

I found the ending was a massive contrast to the rest of the game as although it was scary it gets at you in a way that makes you jump, then laugh, then try to get around it. The ending has none of that fun, it's very serious, and very sad. There is a massive twist which is revealed in a wonderful way that has you quickly learning more step by step until it all becomes clear. There are even videos on Youtube looking back at how some of the books throughout the game suggest the twist, but in a way you would never guess it.

Anyone who hasn't played / seen this game should go do so now... I'll be waiting for you here...


Although it may at first seem like the ending is just a bunch of text squashed in at the end of the game so it has some kind of a story to justify the game it actually works much better than that. Sure, looking back at the ending you can think, 'Well, that's a very generic boring ending. It turns out you we're the bad guy all along' it's the reveal of the information and how everything you know comes together to make sense that really stood out for me. The realisation that all of that horrible stuff inside the house was your doing, including putting a young girl, your 'friend' though the agonising and slow death. How horrible. But to then see the character that you helped get through this nightmare turn her own father against her was heartbreaking.

The way the girl attempts to call out to her father but cannot because you damaged your body before switching are terrible and then the father shouting...calling her a monster...before shooting her twice. Not only this but the father seemed like such a nice, loving parent who only wanted to help his daughter, and in doing so, killed his own daughter. All of these things shouldn't have much of an affect, after all you've only really just met two of the characters properly, but it's so moving that you can't simply brush it off.


Honestly, this ending had me thinking for days after I saw it. That's the kind of effect it had. And when it comes from a small indie title that I didn't really expect much of then it comes as a pleasant, yet horrifying, surprise.

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