As with the Sandy Hook video game, I imagine the very existence of this title will cause hackles to be insta-raised; the casual commentator will undoubtedly imagine some kind of “escape from Fukushima” scenario drawing cheap thrills from a real-life tragedy. And yes, as with the Sandy Hook game, people would be wrong – this is yet another example of using the game medium to subvert a player’s expectations and get him or her to contemplate the reality.
It probably helps that half the royalties are going to tsunami victims. The Sandy Hook game dude probably should have thought of that – if his game hadn’t been free.
9.03m (m is for magnitude) has the player walk around a moonlit San Francisco beach, following glowing trails to the shadows of people who died. The shadows mark an actual object that really did wash up on the beach – as you examine the object, you must find the butterfly mark on it to free the spirit of the previous owner.
There’s no challenge element to this – glowing trails lead you to every item. It is, rather, “a short, first person, art/empathy game for PC. Not a game in the traditional sense of the word; it aims to humanise, and remember the victims of the 2011 Japanese tsunami. The media is quick to put figures to death tolls in such disasters, and 9.03m tries to remind people of the individuals behind those figures.”
As I am working off of a communal computer over the holidays, I can’t download it to play – but I did find this almost hilariously overthought, Shatner-pausing runthrough video on YouTube. The entire first three minutes is pretty much just the guy really slowly reading the description without actually starting the game at all, and his command of the obvious is most astute. I suspect he’s trying to be respectful, but it’s a weirdly disconnected commentary.
I respect this game and the way it uses the medium to aspire to art. With that said, I think the dude narrating the video is fair game, so feel free to take a shot every time he pauses mid-sentence for no reason. When you’re sober later, just play the game yourself, because seriously, you don’t need instructions or cheats.