Words About Video Games

Resonance: Fighting to Stop the End of the World

To start, it's a great adventure game. The puzzles strike the perfect balance between feeling really satisfying to solve and not being overly frustrating or taxing. It does some genuinely neat things with the way past experiences or observations join an inventory of memories that can be used, alongside physical objects, to solve puzzles.

But as the story unfolds, as the four characters you control all reveal their hands, it becomes something more. It certainly didn't hurt that I finished it a few days after the election, when Resonance's dark predictions seemed to be coming true in real time all around me. Things are not yet there, but it's so easy to see how we are on the road to that destination already, and how difficult it will be to stop the car, so to speak.

That's a key theme in the game: the terrible events that unfold at the end were set in motion long before any of the characters became aware of them. By the time they have become aware, these events have taken on the weight of inevitability. The picture Resonance paints is not hopeful. It's not the story of a plucky band of heroes that manages to change the world. It's a story about four people feeling their way in the dark, trying to understand what's going on, but only ever getting part of the picture.

Still, there's a satisfying moment, a small act of resistance at the very end, that points to a way forward. You resist, in the end, not because you have the power to overthrow tyrants, but because by resisting, you show that you are free, and that their control is not total.

It was not an ending I was ready for when I played it on November 14. But it ended up being that rare and beautiful thing--a piece of art that challenged me where I was in my own life and helped me look past my despair toward resistance, and the hard work of preparing for the road ahead.