Oíche Mhaith (that's Irish for "good night") is a 2D adventure game, taking some of its styling after RPG titles of the past. However, its focus is not on battles, weapons, or armor. Rather, the story unfolds by way of a number of puzzles and toggles.

I have played many games through the years, but this one genuinely surprised me; more than that, it moved me. I was immediately sucked into a world and its characters, and each characters' fears and desires, and contradictions were as real to me as the next; this made it easy to draw conclusions about each of the characters. The father is especially easy to dislike, but even so, he is not merely an antagonist, intended to bring focus to the story's protagonist. Rather, he is a person of experiences, with all of these experiences affecting his conception of knowledge; he is a walking contradiction.

There are a couple of things I'd like to touch on. First, there is a real sense of gloom hanging over the characters of this story. From the first conversation with Eimear's mother, you realize that there is something severely wrong. It took me a few minutes to figure it out, but it was after I was sent to feed my brother's dog that I realized this brother was no longer around. Thus began the timer, leading up to the impending doom.

Second, I wish there were more freedom allowed the character, as I can see the storyline being a deep well of unending psychological ramifications. Consider the outcome if you were unrestricted in your ability to brood, or perhaps to be apathetic toward the characters of the game. For example, when Eimear's father lays into her about God and listening to his voice, it is unfortunate that such a rich scenario had to be predetermined by dialogue. It would have made for an unbelievable expression of character interaction.

Third, though the game is stylistically like an RPG, it is does not espouse any functional elements of the genre. However, I thought it noteworthy to point out the dungeon-like sense of the hallway of Eimear's house. The hallway operates as the in-between section of the game, leading Eimear to her next assigned goal. It is, visually, probably the most frightening area of the game, having a sort of cavernous quality. It is dark, and each time a room is entered from the hallway, a brief thunderous boom occurs, one of the most effectively sinister elements of this very simple game.

Fourth, it is interesting to note that the characters are content with being miserable (consider as an example, Eimear's rhetorical question to her brother's dog: "You're just happy being sad, aren't ya, Buttercup?"), which, ironically, Eimear is not allowed to be - miserable with her family (consider that final metaphysical scene of the game).

Fifth, Eimear is not allowed to correct her mistakes; mistakes that are subjectively seen as such through the eyes of her family. She is controlled and disallowed to repent or fix what has been done, almost as if she is being blamed, by way of said mistake, for something else entirely. This feeds brilliantly into the storyline that unfolds throughout the game, opening up to unending possibilities, ignited by one's own imagination.

In closing, there is something incredibly sincere about 
Oíche Mhaith. Its brief yet unforgettable storyline held me captive until the very end, engulfing my experience and making the task of becoming Eimear seamless.

Oíche Mhaith is the joint effort of increpare and Terry Cavanagh. Cavanagh, if you'll recall, is the man responsible for the wonderful VVVVVV.

platform utilized: browser
genre: adventure
where to find: You can play Oíche Mhaith here.

Desperate Affirmation: Oíche Mhaith, 2011

Posted on

May 29, 2012

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