Post-Disclosure, Devil's Night

released on Sep 18, 2022

An entry for Cozy Autumn Game Jam 2022.

A bite-sized text-based game about what happens when you meet online friends for the first time.

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Really comfy and very personal-feeling read. Love the way that it captures and displays Alyssa's emotions through it's descriptive text. I feel like there are people who will resonate with this on a much more personal level than I could, but I connected with it quite a bit. It almost feels wrong for me to really give it a rating, and I mean that in the best possible way.

Post-Disclosure, Devil's Night foi uma coisa que eu mais apreciei do que realmente gostei. Talvez esteja mais pra um livro interativo do que um jogo, até mesmo pros padrões de jogos desse tipo, mas não irei reduzir o valor da obra por causa disso. A história dele é sobre uma garota se encontrando com seus amigos online em uma festa de halloween na vida real. Como alguém que nunca fez amigos online (a única pessoa com quem fiz amizade online foi o meu cunhado), eu não me identifiquei com as situações do enredo. Eu sei que poder se identificar com uma história não é algo que a torna melhor ou pior, e sei que falar mal de uma por não poder se identificar é um tipo de crítica bem mesquinha, e não quero cair nessa mesma armadilha. A linguagem que o texto usa é próxima do romantismo, e pra quem curte esse tipo de escrita é um prato cheio, mas como não é o meu caso, não me agrada tanto. A forma com que a narrativa explora ansiedade é até interessante, com o seu uso do texto e das mudanças de cor do background, mas as relações da protagonista com seus amigos não foram tão bem exploradas quanto deviam. Eu sei muito bem que a forma que avaliei e critiquei ele possa ser meio injusta, e pelo que escrevi e pela nota que dei pode até afastar pessoas que poderiam até gostar e se conectar com esse jogo, mas não deixe que isso o faça evitá-lo. Post-Disclosure, Devil's night é uma obra bem específica, alguns irão se conectar com ela e outros não, e mesmo com as minhas críticas meio injustas, não tiram o seu valor, e caso queira tentar, você pode simplesmente jogar pelo navegador do seu PC e dura de uns 5-10 minutos, não irá te fazer mal algum.
Prós: O uso da ansiedade pelo texto é até interessante; A forma em que o background muda de cor dependendo das emoções da cena é admirável.
Contras: O texto é meio meloso; Os personagens não são tão bem explorados quanto deviam.

Upon re reading my original review I found it to be kinda cringe so Im rewriting it to just urge people who are reading this to give it a go. Its a VN detailing a personal experience I am completely unfamiliar with and I think thats a good thing to experience.

I'm a cismale, and at the risk of writing one of those cringey, self-absorbed "oh I'm trying so hard to be an ally" shmucks, I don't exactly find myself going after trans-aligned media so often. Sometimes it's the dumb "I don't think I'd relate to it" 'excuse', other times it's mainly cause I don't think they like, outright appeal to me in terms of genres. Still, I do at least try to get through them when they hit my marks, Matrix being a go-to example which I like and appreciate (yet to have seen the fourth one though), and though I have yet to actually mention this anywhere online, seeing the queer allegory of Serial Experiments Lain unfold in real-time - literally even, since I binged it all in a day - was pretty fuckin awe-inspiring. Hopefully in October I finally get around to watching Ginger Snaps since I've seen and have researched its impact on transfolk as well.
Pushing all that aside, I am glad to have gone through this regardless. While the prose and general style is a wee bit expository and not exactly my taste of romanticism/flowery shit, I find Roxy S. does a pretty admirable job invoking a sense of anxiety, especially with how different colors and pause-breaks affect the reading. The discomfort of meeting online friends for the first time, not knowing how they'd react IRL compared to Discord or even Twitter, is a very real thing to get distressed over, and I seriously cannot imagine how much more troubling and worrying that'd be for someone that came out to them, and is essentially showing their real self for the first time. All things considered, I hope she and whoever else ended up feeling this hardcore are doing well, and at least met the people they love and cherish in a positive and wonderful manner.

It's a strange experience to go into a game, fully expecting it to be relatable and then it just... isn't.
This happened to me once before, when I played We Know The Devil.
How do I rate a game like that?
While procrastinating earlier this week I was browsing old Jimquisitions and stumbled across the “100% Objective review”, a video where they make fun of the concept of an objective review. Their original review of Final Fantasy XIII was incredibly negative and they got harassed for it not being “objective” so they made a “review” that was just listing facts. While reading the comments of that video I stumbled across something that really stuck with me. I don’t remember the exact wording, but someone was saying something to the extent of “If you were an English teacher, would you assign grades purely based on whether you like a paper or not? Hopefully not, when grading a paper, you need to put aside personal bias and grade it on the quality of its content. Same for a video game, you’re supposed to subjectively evaluate its features independent of personal bias.”
Putting aside the fact that English papers aren’t art and reviewing isn’t grading, that sentiment strikes me as odd. I don’t rate based on technical execution. A lot of games I have rated very highly have some pretty massive flaws. I sometimes joke that Nier Automata would be an awful game if it wasn’t also my favourite game. My ratings are pretty much exclusively based on how much I enjoyed something.
So, how do I rate Post-Disclosure, Devil’s Knight?
Based solely on enjoyment it’s probably like a 5/10 I guess.
But rating it as such would feel incredibly unfair. It’s not the game’s fault I went into it expecting something it could never deliver on. It’s not the game’s fault my lived experiences are so vastly different from what it’s trying to portray that I don’t relate to anything that is happening.
Besides, aren’t I always annoyed when cis people ignore trans stories because “it wouldn’t be relatable anyway”? Aren’t I being just as bad right now?
And I know this game can be relatable to people. I hope that Roxy relates to it, would be weird otherwise. Kye’s excellent review shows very well just how much this story resonates with her. If I slap a label like “two and a half stars” on this, I feel like I’m invalidating their experiences. Even worse, I might end up scaring someone off this game who would have ended up loving it.
The objective Final Fantasy XIII review has the following line:
“If you buy Final Fantasy XIII and like it, then you like Final Fantasy XIII. If you buy Final Fantasy XIII and you don’t like it, then you don’t like Final Fantasy XIII. It has things in it that some people might enjoy but other people who have different ideas of what is enjoyable may not actually enjoy it.”
As much as that is very obvious satire, it’s pretty much exactly how I feel about PDDK. I personally didn’t like it all that much but I know other people will.
Fortunately, unlike FFXIII, it’s a free game that will only take you 10 minutes to play. So why not give it a try, see if you’ll end up enjoying it? What’s the worst that could happen?
The worst that could happen is that you could end up writing a really weird review about the process of reviewing things and spend over an hour with that apparently.

''It could be that real comfort, the kind of coziness that we spend our lives searching for, can only be found in contrast to hardship, to worry and anxiety.'' goes fucking hard I said it