“My name is Alice. I am eight years old.”
And thus begins “Inanimate Alice“, an interactive story/game that I found through the Jay is Games website. Alice tells her story through moving snapshots, journaled words and haunting music. We never see Alice, but we know that she has lived all over the world, her parents may or may not be involved in some type of shadowy employment, and she keeps herself entertained through her ramped up phone/ipod gizmo called a “ba-xi”, which she uses to create a playmate called Brad.
Each chapter (there are currently four) contains a mini-game that’s not essential to win in order to finish the story. My favorite is Episode 3: Russia, where you collect nesting dolls. The narrative gets a little dark sometimes–from Alice’s anxiety as she waits for her parents to come home in Italy, to going through an abandoned laberinthine building in England. But the darkness doesn’t get too dark; just enough to add atmosphere to a wonderful story.
I wonder if anyone remembers “Madeline’s Mind”, an interactive game from Digital Planet that came out when Java was brand new. “Inanimate Alice” reminds me a lot of that old game in its haunting play, its feeling of loneliness. But Alice is beautiful in that we start to forget that it’s a just a game and we began to connect with her, all her fears and hopes, and her joy too.
Go play “Inanimate Alice“. Right now.