Friday, October 28, 2016

This is How You Die: Jason Nelson

Just in time for Halloween: This is How You Die, by Jason Nelson

This is a game that is set up like an online slot machine. The pictures that are in place in a regular slot machine have been replaced by short pieces of text that are meant to predict the users death. The prediction is divided into four parts: location, method, result, and post-result. Each spin produces a completely random combination (some making more sense than others!).

The screen that contains the "slot machine" as a few interactive buttons that you can scroll over. One is "explain death" which provides a dismal and creepy outlook on life and death. "Demise credits" displays a number that is reduced each time a death spin is made. The user starts with 28 credits and the game informs you that at least 10 are needed in order to make a spin. Finally, "death spin" activates the game.

On the first spin, a clip of a man singing, "you're dead, you're dead..." plays. The entire time the game is open, spooky music plays. There are repetitive thud sounds and swells of a repeated noise.

Here are my first results:

"Driving a Kansas highway, watching hail storms whiten the knee high wheat fields/ You are weather trapped and after four days blood clots vacation in your brain/ And while your death breath draws you play an imaginary golf game with leaves/ the cab driver hides your body in an off season amusement park/ Your death is reported by tenure seeking academics as being suspiciously modernist"

Now I have 24 demise credits; I spin again. This time, my results make much less sense. Basically, I lock up shop at "Hobby Cakes", get my loose skin stuck in a cab door, am dragged 2 miles, and then my family says that I did it on purpose.  I also apparently published an unsuccessful book of poetry.

15 demise credits:

I still write bad poetry! Yet this time, I'm at the Grand Canyon, and jocks steal machines that I need in order to stay alive.

At 6 demise credits, I'm out; I'm unable to make a spin.

Exiting and coming back into the game, I notice something that I previously missed. Next to some elements of the predictions, there are little numbers that you can press. These activate short video clips that repeat imagery of death and creepy text. I also win some demise credits this time. Text pops up: "Good: you have won extra death spins/ Bad: blood disease".

This was creepy/ fun. Note to self: stay away from the Grand Canyon, Kansas, and poetry.

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