The game “Before Your Eyes” by GoodbyeWorld Games offers an experience unlike any other video game.
By Drew Kuske
Every human on this planet will be faced with a decision that may lead to regret. Whether it be a small decision that has little effect on your life’s path or a large decision that changes your entire future, every person has at least some. Sadly, we cannot change these decisions and we must live on with these regrets in tow. At the end of our lives, these regrets will decide whether we think we have lived our lives to the fullest. Before Your Eyes is a game that explores this concept in a unique way that cannot be compared to other similar games.
Before Your Eyes is a narrative indie game developed by GoodbyeWorld Games. The game is based around the player in the afterlife recalling their life from the beginning all the way until the end. But the main premise of the game is that it relies on you to blink. And by you, I mean you physically. The game uses your webcam to track whether you blinked and can trigger events in the game. The main way is by advancing the story. If you see a metronome pop up at the bottom, that means that the next time you blink, you will jump forward in time to the next point in the story. This gameplay mechanic is crucial to the storytelling and poses a challenge to the player. Story wise, it immerses the player into the game by forcing them to do more than move a mouse and keyboard but asks them to control the characters blinking with their own blinking. It also plays on the flashback tropes that most people know, but literally makes the player experience the flashback. But challenge wise, the mechanic acts as a human limit to the story. You could be recalling a happy memory or have a memory where there is stuff to do, but adding in this limit forces the player to try and not blink so they can cherish the moment for even a second longer. This also guarantees that every person’s playthrough won’t be the same as others, because some people can go without blinking for a longer time than others. But if you are experiencing a bad memory or one that you don’t care for, you can just blink right past it. This creates a genius time limit that can be both extended when needed to and ended when wanted in a literal blink of the eye.
The mechanics may be amazingly crafted for its purpose, but the game is most notable in its message. This is where I will enter into spoiling the game, but I believe it is important to talk about it. The first act makes you believe that the protagonist grew up to be an international painter and rich beyond belief. But the second act delivers a twist that reveals that he actually died young due to an illness. This is made even more horrifying as the illness is present in the setting as a very noticeable force that slowly deteriorates the main character’s life. This early death indirectly shows that the main character is filled with regret and chooses to remember false memories to try to die happier. But in reality, this regret is unavoidable and we see that the illness has made the protagonist more bitter about your earlier life, a time without the illness. This is where the game’s real message comes in via a letter. It isn’t overdone like “Live your life to the fullest” but is instead telling that regret is the result of us living our lives to the fullest and shouldn’t be seen as regret. Choice is the offspring of living, so to choose is to live and we shouldn’t regret living.
Before Your Eyes provides a new take on death. It tries to get people one step closer to dying without regret which is immensely powerful. Even if I spoiled this game, I still believe it is worth a playthrough. The lesson that the game taught me will stick with me until my final breath and I believe that it is important for others to learn as well.