It was only earlier today that I thought to myself that I missed the old Humble Indie bundles. I may or may not have been prompted by yet another goddamn urging to join humble monthly. No, I don’t need games like a book club. HIBs were – in my recollection – rare enough to be a cause for celebration. A book from the book club is not a cause for celebration, more a cause for promising yourself that you’ll look into how to get out. Well, look what cat dragged in: It’s a good old fashioned Humble Indie Bundle (no. 16)! Where all games are actually available DRM-free as well as on Steam and all are truly crossplatform and all support truly wothwhile causes (EFF/Wikimedia). And hey, one of the games included is site favourite Else Heart.Break() and while you can only own one copy, it doesn’t hurt to support it some more. Time to party like it’s 2010.
The police woman was hogging the computer. That’s my excuse. By “the computer”, I mean one of the five or six in the police station, the rest of which were at my disposal. And by “was hogging” I mean “using in her work hours”. But I wanted the one she was using and I didn’t want to wait.
So I started one of the other computers and used it first to zap her into a sleep state and then to magically transport her onto the bed of one of her own cells. After I had changed the cell door to only allow people named “Sebastian” through, of course. It’s not my fault if she’s not called Sebastian. It’s not like it’s a closed membership club, anyone is free to join.
Turns out her computer was nothing special, so I left pretty quickly. It’s been a couple of days now. I really should go check on her.
I want access to the mayor’s apartment but the guard standing in front of it won’t let me past. I try to find a way to remove her but eventually I figure there’s an easier way: Hack another door to give access to the mayor’s apartment rather than the room behind it. Closest one at hand is the mayor’s aide’s apartment on the opposite side of the town hall. I hazard a guess at the name of the mayoral apartment door. Success, I’m in. I find nothing of interest and leave by the back door. On returning to the town hall a curious sight greets me. It’s late and the aide is drowsily returning to his apartment. Only when he enters by the door to his own apartment he finds himself back in the mayor’s. And so he keeps endlessly traversing the town hall in search of home and rest and finding neither. It’s almost Greek.
The title of Else Heart.Break() keeps it’s conditionals hidden. If what else heartbreak? Suffice to say that so far the condition stil holds: I love this game and it seems to love me back and nobody needs to get hurt.
If you’ve read anything about Heartbreak it’s probably about the code. Most things – from cigarettes to mainframes – can be hacked. This is true but that’s not a fit description of the game. Else Heart.Break() accomplishes that rare thing of making me feel like I inhabit the character I’m controlling. At the outset I felt lost and disoriented in a bizarre world that seemed as ill prepared for me as I for it. A couple of hours in I feel like a bona-fide, bad-ass cyber-noir detective. Allow me to explain.