What have you been up to this week? You’ve probably explored some of the Boston Wasteland, or perhaps you taken down a dictatorship? Maybe you’ve raided some tombs, or completed some quests. You’ve almost certainly blown something up. Do you want to know what I did this week? I called my mother. Jealous?
Well maybe you should.
It wasn’t really my mother, it was Kelly’s (no relation) on her journey home. Three Fourths Home tells the story of where she was, why she was there, and where she’s heading through a single conversation spanning a couple of characters. You’ll be surprised just how quick you become engrossed in the story of human drama. There is no explosions of fears to villains to thwart, but just life as you might have experienced for yourself.
Three Fourths Home is the equivalent to a one man play. Deeply personal, mostly touching and a just a little uncomfortable. Kelly’s family is in the middle of some turmoil, reflected in the worsening weather on this vacant Nebraskan road. The cause of this disorder however, is up to the player.
Three Fourths Home is a build your own adventure for kitchen sink drama. While your mother probes you for why you’ve gone for your lonely drive, you can choice a selection of answers. The trick is that all of them are true if you choice them. You can build up the events that led to this conversation by carefully choosing to create this history. For example, the game at one point infers an altercation with Jessie. In your answers you can refer to Jessie as either a male or female. Select one, and that is the correct, select the other, and that is correct.
If you can play Three Fourths Home just once you have half the curiosity of a normal human. If you are not compelled to play through the game once more selecting an alternate route of conversation and unweaving a new thread of family drama. Although exciting it may not be, Three Fourths Home is masterfully written and beautifully crafted. Some dialogue may lean more on exposition more than your everyday chat with a parent, but for the most part, the rapport between Kelly and her family is touching, heartfelt and sincere. Even if the words and bitter and filled with tension.
The art style of the game also speaks of a personal endeavour. Three Fourths looks like a university art project. It’s an minimalist black and white adventure with the car traveling through a collection of silhouetted landscapes. The storm on the horizon will flitter and boom as the text rolls out through the conversation.
It’s a shame the dialogue is only written, as some decent actors would have done an amazing job at drawing you in. The advantage of text only conversations is that the game is that you can create your own voices for the story, and therefore you could draw upon experiences for the story. Again, normally this wouldn’t be something that could be turned into a positive but the feelings of storytelling that this game embodies makes it feel like Three Fourths is attempting to make you consider your own family in the story.
Like most people, I first attempted to create the best story possible. Despite having only just met Kelly and her family I wanted the best for them. Three Fourths doesn’t let you do this easily though, and before I knew it Kelly father was missing one leg, her mother was unhappy in her situation and her younger brother was troubled. Kelly herself is having a rough time too. Naturally I tried creating the worst story on another playthrough, despite the pain in my stomach at deliberately creating a story to hurt this fictional family.
It might not be the most exciting game to play on your console at the minute, with a list of explosive new titles. But if you want an interactive story, a narrative that you steer but never control, you probably won’t be finding that in Call of Duty of Just Cause 3.
Three Fourths Home is an indie game that is deeply proud of its roots. It is unapologetically emotional and designed to bring as an interactive story that is purely about the narrative. In terms of gameplay there is barely anything to discuss. You go from picking dialogue choices to reading the response. That’s almost entirely it. In the main game, you hold down the trigger to keep the car and conversation going, stop and time slows to a crawl.
Three Fourths Home: Extended Edition is an expanded release of the 2015 IGF-Nominated Three Fourths Home. Featuring a new edit of the main story, several extra features and a new epilogue that expands on the story of the main game. Set at a bus stop in snowy Minnesota, this epilogue examines Kelly’s past as well as the effects that the events of the main story have had on her.
Overall, Three Fourths Home: Extended Edition is a fantastic narrative experience condensed within an hour. The story tackles adulthood, disability, family obligation and depression and crafts them into a real, believable experience. Good luck driving home.
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