The Novelist

So, just finished The Novelist and I have to say that it was a good game, maybe not the greatest but it got me thinking.

The decisions that you had to take were hard at times and made you regret them even more when you saw the outcome each time between the family members whose thoughts didn’t get chosen. It is that ‘real life’ type of game. People do have to make choices, maybe hurting people or hurting oneself while doing it and just see what would be best at that moment. Maybe you won’t get that offer again or maybe you just need that safety to keep afloat. To not drown in the big ocean that is life, filled with waves, gazing sun and storms or just some sort of serenity. Maybe the choices that you take now, will be better for you in the long run rather than jumping head on into something that will end the next day, or maybe that sudden thing is just what is needed to jolt things back into perspective and help on the bumpy road ahead.

I played the ‘stealth’ run of the game, to not be seen at all by the family or I’d lose the game. The game gives you the opportunity to  ‘possess’ lights in order to move around without anyone noticing and collect clues, read minds or just explore. You could also just float into their heads to see what was really going on inside of their shells. It is a very unique feeling and it was really fun to actually poke them in directions. Would I destroy the family or would I save them and destroy the working aspect of it? Or would I balance it all out as best as I could?

The family that this story is about was the Kaplans on a summer getaway, about Dan, Linda and Tommy. The writer, the artist and the artsy child with some learning problems. And I can’t talk from experience but I can assume that tossing a child into this mess of decisions would make it all so much harder, to see to its needs, wants and cares for it to develop as well as possible and still maintaining that spark of meaning and passion in every other aspect of the life. It was hard enough to just try to get the couples love to grow as they did things so separately most of the times. Him behind closed doors and her out hiking.


Spoilerish

The interesting aspect of this game was the fact that the player is a floating ghost of sorts, a nobody without any identity at all. I even got the feeling that the ‘ghost’ had been there a long time as there were these journal type books that could be read at night that always ended in death one way or another, but there were never any conclusion to why they were there or who they really were besides the fact that they were former residents of the house that the Kaplans lives in over the summer.

I felt that my ending finished up as the best I could have seen for the family, Linda got to open her own workshop and ended up finding her call in life while her husband might not have taken that big offer but he could still continue his dream, to write. And actually the little boy Tommy ended up as a successful artist himself as he grew up. All in all a perfect ending to a rather dizzy maze of decisions, thoughts and hurt.

The Novelist site

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4 responses to “The Novelist

  1. After reading your review I watched the trailer you linked and read a bit of the website for the game. Can say that I think I will try this game out at some point.

    That said I don’t know if I’m the only one thinking so, but the trailer could’ve, with a different type of music, been taken as a trailer for a ghost/horror story. At least the start of the trailer, don’t know if anyone would agree with me on that though?

    I get the feeling there was an emotional attachment to the characters in the game, would you say it made it hard to be responsible for their progress even if it was in a game? Did it affect how you see real life interactions?

    If we look at a “life simulator” The Sims, where you do act for a character as well, sure in another way, but the parallels can be found. Would you say that The Sims more “goofy” nature makes it easier to “mess around” with the game characters you are “responsible” for? Would it be possible to ruin the characters in this game (The Novelist) intentionally? To get an ending where their lives are ruined?

    Such uplifting thoughts at the end of this comment huh? Let me just end it with saying thank you for a well written review, enjoyed reading it as I do your others,
    I also want to say that I like your metaphor about life, it was very right on in how life can be.

    Hope your ocean stays calm and sunny for most of your days and to quote Wil Wheaton – “Play more games!” 🙂

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    • I can agree with you but it is a sort of ghost game just without the horror theme.

      No, it didn’t make it hard as I thought that the outcomes often were overplayed and exaggerated, sadly. But yeah, they got me thinking a bit about my own life, how to really tackle the happenings around me.

      The sims in my opinion isn’t a real life game in that aspect. It is easier to goof around in and laugh when your sims dies. Everyone must have done that at least once when playing The Sims.
      I have just played it once, where the outcome was ‘perfect’ imo but I guess you can ruin the relationship of the family by some choices you make.

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  2. An amazing start to a brilliant review! 🙂 You capture the bumps and scrapes of life perfectly in that opening! I am still young in myself, but I can tell that this is a truly experienced input to a review of an emotionally strong game.

    Been looking at this Title for a while, but I’m surprised about this ‘Stealth’ approach and ‘Ghost’ character. I thought you took on the role as a Family member? (Or maybe it was a family member, just deceased, or come back after death to view their life again. A kind of ‘purgatory’ to see where they could have made different choices and the outcomes).

    The idea of seeing the family members thoughts, decisions, and goals sounds very interesting. It would make you feel attached to them in a way that you want them to succeed, but then you have to balance out the rest of the family to get what they desire also, all in all keeping them a tight knit family.

    If you could sum up your feelings when finishing this game in a couple of words, what would it be?

    I’m still looking into getting this game, but a recent invite has caught my attention to something else, so I’m stuck on that at the moment. However soon I hope I can give this game a chance to sit snugly in my collection and my memories.

    Another brilliant review! Can really see how much enjoyment you get from games and that you can see behind the Development to find the truth within a games background and story. 🙂 I hope to see this style of writing more and more as your reviews continue!

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    • It isn’t explained at all in the game who you really are, if you even have a story or maybe you are simply yourself.

      Sadly, I must say that the game kinda ‘Meh’ so I just shrugged and went on with life basically. I mean the decisions make me think but the game itself could have been so much more. It isn’t bad but it isn’t great either. can’t really understand the aspect of ‘crying’ thanks to this game.

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