Everything is Going to be OK has received its final update and it completes the story of one of 2017’s best games. If you’ve never played Nathalie Lawhead’s interactive zine, now is the best time to jump in. The game is available at a pay what you want pricepoint, so you could be ready to play by the time you’re done reading this sentence.
Everything is Going to be OK’s final update is unlike anything I’ve seen in gaming before. This update takes Nathalie Lawhead’s interactive zine and peels back the curtain. Instead of exploring the developer’s thoughts and experiences through vignettes and metaphor, the new “lost pages” peel back the curtain and primarily features direct essays and musings without any of the pretense of making a capital-G Game.
Nathalie Lawhead has spoken fairly openly about the events that inspired her work-- on her fantastic devlog, in interviews (like this one), and on her Twitter-- and without spoiling too much, the “lost pages” take the themes from the core game, pulls their mask off, and stares you straight in the face. Is suicide a shameful act? What behaviors do the victims of sexual violence owe the world? Lawhead may not have all the answers to these questions, but in the “lost pages” she’s forcing us to come to grips with the fact that these questions exist and are important.
Playing through this last chunk of the game has made me consider its position in the overall games community. Yes it’s one of the most honest and personal games I’ve come across, and sure it pushes the boundaries of what games can be, but on a meta-level I’m also interested in seeing more developers drop the pretext from their games after they’ve released. As a community we’re terrible at appreciating nuance and most of the most notable and best-selling games’ messages amount to “they’re bad, I’m good, and guns are rad as hell.” But with Everything is going to be OK it felt like this explicit epilogue was more of a conversation between the player and the creator, as if Lawhead was saying “here, I’ve brought you to where I am with these questions now let’s consider them as equals.” It’s quiet, mature, and thoughtful in a way that we see infrequently in games or any other medium.
I don’t know if I can give any higher praise than this. If you have any interest in personal games, or art where you can see the creator Everything is Going to be OK is just about the best you’ll get.
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