Her Story (PC) (2015)

Overview: A mystery is told through a series of clips which are uncovered by querying words.

I was playing this game for the first time and the story was gripping and intriguing. It felt as if I were reading a book except instead of reading the story straight through, I skipped around and uncovered the story in pieces. With that being said, while the player technically has complete freedom on which words to search, I believe the game is designed in such a way that the player will naturally unfold parts of the story in roughly the same order. Part of this occurs because random and/or common words (e.g., pronouns) do not readily unfold the story (though they will help uncover videos). Instead, keywords that drive the story are found in each video (e.g., proper nouns).

This woman has an incredible secret.

Unfortunately, I had to stop playing because I kept falling asleep. In detail, I would play a video, fall asleep during the video, wake up, and rewatch the video. When I acknowledged that I was sleepy, I attempted to set a limit on the number of videos I would watch before quitting the game. However, I would reach the limit and continue playing! All while still falling asleep. I made a rough transcription under the "Gameplay Log."

Gameplay Log:
Started the game at 21:45.
@~1hr54min I was feeling sleepy. My eyes shut during some of the videos which prompted me to rewatch them.
@1hr58min I fell asleep for a couple seconds and woke up declaring that I would view 5 more videos
@2hr01min I fell asleep again for perhaps a longer couple seconds and woke up saying that it would be my last video despite not hitting five (was only the third).
However, after watching my "last" video, I did another search and watched one more.
And then I continued and came up with a search that gave four new videos. I had queried "eric simon"
I end up watching seven more before truly calling it quits (one from "I", one from "phone", two from "them", three for "Doug").
Note to self: days of the week, Diane, Eleanor

Steam Game Time: 2.4 hours

Yesterday my sister saw some of the story and so today I filled her in on the newer plot elements which I uncovered. Along the way, she had some good questions regarding the plausibility and she made some good points. With that being said, I have yet to finish the game and there may be many plot elements that will make sense by the end of it all. I'll just have to wait and see.

Today I played some more of Her Story, but I hit a roadblock and was acting compulsive about the current run. In a way I finished the game, but didn't, and then restarted it. At that time I learned that restarting the game doesn't allow the player to use the special codes. In other words, the special codes can only be used at a certain point in the game.

Use the search bar to search for clips. Access limited to first 5 entries.

Gameplay Log:
Initially I thought about ways to cross topics with a lot of hits.
I later decided that looking for words with 5 or fewer hits was the smarter strategy.
I spent about 2 hours analyzing words I have searched. The words can be found at the end of this post.
Wow... decided to do the chat and was given a special command that opens search queries to 15 instead of 5: ADMIN_UNLOCK. There's also a command for getting a random video: ADMIN_RANDOM
I stumbled on a thread in which a user revealed an exploit. The exploit would allow the player to go through all the videos in order. [20190628: I highly recommend players don't use the exploit on the first run.]
So I deleted the session data and tried to use the special command. The game doesn't allow it at the start.

Steam Game Time: 8.8 hours (total) / 6.4 hours (session) / 2.2 hours (idle)

Today I continued playing Her Story over the course of multiple sittings. By the end of the day, I had discovered all but four videos.

Steam Game Time: 15.1 hours (total) / 6.3 hours (session) / 1.6 hours (idle)

Yesterday I was tempted to use the exploit or the second command to find the remaining four videos but I resisted. Today I woke up determined to complete the game.

Unfortunately, I only got to play for less than an hour. Fortunately, I managed to get one of the four missing clips.

Steam Game Time: 15.7 hours (total) / 0.6 hours (session)

20190626 AM Hours:
Found two more meaning I have one left to go!

Only four clips left to discover!!! (20190624)

Steam Game Time: 16.3 hours (total) / 0.6 hours (session)

Today I finished the game. For the last clip, I put on my thinking cap and it paid off. I enjoyed the challenge.

Gameplay Log:
Found the last one!
Watched a YouTube video which compiled all the videos. Most of the time I watched the compilation at 1.5x.
I wanted to know what the finger tapping meant and found the answer in a Steam thread.
That Steam thread referenced an amazing article which makes a case for one of the popular theories about the game's story. My mind blown.I did consider the possibility early on in the game but the clips eventually had me thinking differently. In any case, the article was convincing and I'm inclined to believe that to be the correct theory.

Steam Game Time: 18.6 hours (total) / 2.3 hours (session) / ~1.3 hours (idle)*

*Technically I spent this time watching the compilation of all the videos on YouTube while also reading the aforementioned article.

Major Pro:
+ One of the best stories I've ever experienced in video games

Minor Con:
- The game's default setting has screen glare on and sometimes the player's "reflection" shows up; it unnecessarily scared me because I didn't recognize it for what it was

I enjoyed the story as I played the game and I enjoyed it even more when I learned that the story had a different (arguably more correct) interpretation. If you love games with a strong story, then I would highly recommend Her Story.

Her Story (PC) (2015)

Relevant Links:
Her Story (video game) (Wikipedia.org)
Her Story (PC) (MetaCritic.com)
Her Story (Steam Store Page)
Deciphering Her Story by Adrian Chmielarz

20190623 and 20190624:
Made a note of words to use: murder (4), simon (61), kill (4), drink (3), baby (17), miscarriage (5), hannah (18) [+we (11) +I (15) = {5 + 5 + ? + ? missing], my name is (4), name (7), lie (4), guilty (4), twin (4), sisters (4), florence (5), eve (7) [+hannah = {5 + 1 +}], affair (3), tattoo (4), married (12) [+simon 2 = {5 + 1 + 6 missing}], pregnant (10) [+hannah = {5 + 2 + 2 unknown}], carl (5), caught (1), affair (3), fair (1), we (64), car (12) [+simon (7) = {5 + 3 + 4 missing}], eric (14) [+hannah (2), +simon (9) = {5 + 2 + 5 + 2 missing}], I (187), phone (9) [+hannah (1) = {5 + 1 + 3 missing}], we (64), they (56), them (27), doug (6), gone (5), taxi (2), died (7) [+we (3) = {5 + 1 + 1 missing}], that (102), eleanor (6), coffee (5), diane (5), guitar (3), play (6), glasgow (10) [+we (1) = {5 + 1 + 4 missing}], glazier (7) [+simon (4) = {5 + 2}], eric (14), drive (3), arrest (5), mind (3), friday (2), saturday (4), day (13), diary (5), attic (12) [+hannah (5), +eve (1), +simon (4) = {5 + 4 + 0 + 0 + 3 missing}], met (6) [+simon (4) = {5 + 1}], sex (9) [+simon (3), +baby (1) = {5 + 1 + 1 + 2 missing}], fuck (5), rock (4), work (12) [+simon (3) = {5 + 2 + 5 missing}], anger (1), fight (1), mad (1), sad (7) [+simon (3) = {5 + 1 + }], mother (9) [+hannah (1) = {5 + 1 + }], palindrome (2), sorry (6), rapunzel (5), colour (2), picture (2), fairy (8) [+tale (7), +tale princess (1), = {5 + 1 + 1 + }], story (8), stories (8), test (4), crazy (3), death (4), kill (4), where (7), mirror (11), police (7), dollhouse (5) [all these have the word "attic" in them], sexy (1), mum (8), rules (4), sleep (6) [+simon (4) = {5 + 1}], slept (9) [+simon (4) = {5 + 2 + }], alibi (1), seventeen (5), real (7) [+simon (1) = {5 + 1 + }], life (12)
Don't need these words: peter, susan, failed, van, reveal, monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday, sunday, slut, whore, stress, frustrated, sarah, ava, symmetrical, accuse, deny, shit, fifteen

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