Save the Date

You should play Save the Date. Play it a lot. I played through 20 games of it in about an hour, and watched as the whole thing unfolded. And telling you about Save the Date is to pop the bubble of rumination that it crafts around itself, so just go do it and then come back and we can talk about what it all means. 

I picked the best ending of Save the Date on my first playthrough. I didn’t know it, because I hadn’t seen the other outcomes yet, but being a glib video game guy I did the contrarian thing and said no when told to begin the goal, and the game ended in a slightly down but not really that impactful non-ending. This is the best you can hope for in this tale of disasters, universe hopping, and narrative deconstruction. 

What I think really works in Save the Date is that it relies upon the logic of the game structure without really bothering to pick it apart. You know you’re in a game, and quickly you’ll get to the point where you convince your date that she is a video game character, and that’s really where the interesting stuff begins to unfold. Beyond all the silly bad endings, in this one spot where these characters begin to reflect on the nature of their being, is one of the better examples of games narrative deconstruction through games I’ve seen.

It touches on even more subjects, and often with more earnestness, than something like The Stanley Parable. I think it suffers many of the same faults, too, in that it tries to be a bit too clever, and I wish that it had some commentary on the one ‘good ending’ within it, but by and large it goes out of its way to ask you to reflect on what it means to have endings, to tell stories, and what characters and art itself does for the one who engages with it. 

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