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Review: Linux gave me one of my best gaming experiences yet with Life is Strange

Posted by Liam Murphy (Ashtasu), / 18901 views
A few times in your life, you have a life changing experience. Maybe it’s getting married, having your first child, or finishing your college degree.

Well, I just had a life changing experience. And it was because of a video game. Not just a video game, but a video game that I played on Linux.

As I am sure many of you are aware, Linux gets the unfortunate notoriety of being a poor operating system for games (this seems to be changing in the public's eyes). Sure, we do have less games than other platforms, but that certainly doesn’t mean the games themselves are of poor quality.

I was reminded of this when I completed the recently ported game to Linux, ‘Life is Strange’ [Official Site, Steam]. Developed by Dontnod Entertainment, and ported to Linux by the awesome folks at Feral interactive. With the combined work on developing the game itself from Dontnod, and the wonderful port by Feral, I have just had one of my best gaming experiences ever. And it was all done on Linux.

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Life is Strange starts with an eighteen year old girl named Max who finds out she has the power to reverse time, an ability which becomes the game's main mechanic. Does it sound incredibly simple? Well, that’s probably because it is. This is not a game driven by mechanics, it’s made excellent by its story. Many would prefer mechanics to story, which I usually do myself, but Life is Strange, in my mind, is a rare exception.

Now that I’ve gotten some of the technical details out of the way, let’s get to my possibly overly emotionally charged point. That emotional part isn’t helped by the fact that I am listening to this song from the soundtrack:


Perhaps this game was set to affect me on another level from the very get go. My place in life is very similar to that of Max. We’re both eighteen, and in my case, about to start college. Life is Strange is a true coming of age story. I feel that way as I am about to start my next phase of life, that I am coming of age.

All I’m missing is the ability to reverse time, damn.

This game nailed me with a feeling I haven’t had with a game before: being protective of the character I was playing, as if she was a family member or a dear friend. Whenever Max gets into a dark situation (which there are many of in this game) I almost feel responsible, and I feel a sense of duty to get her out of it. If a character harmed Max, I’ll make it my life's mission to deal with them.

This story of a girl going to school and finding out she has powers strangely hits home somehow. She is an ‘ordinary’ person thrown into an extreme circumstance. It’s a similar feeling I get when watching E.T. or Stranger Things. You think “Wow, I could actually see this happening.” Who knows, perhaps I’m crazy?

But what’s a Spielberg-esque story without a good friend or two? Well, the character of Chloe adds even more to this story. I won’t say more for the sake of spoilers, but the two main characters are in for one heck of a ride, and you’re going to be on the front seat with them.

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Thanks Gamespot for the image

The art style/graphics of the game truly surprised me. It all looks like a painting. Despite this, the characters look strangely believable. It makes you feel enamored with the characters, as if you are having a real connection with them in real life. Right in front of you.

Thinking about it now, this will be the last game I complete before I go to college. It almost feels like the last game that will make me feel like a kid, before I enter the world of adulthood. A bittersweet feeling, truly.

And if it didn’t come to Linux, I probably would never have played it. And if I had, it would have been at a different time of my life, where it wouldn’t hit me so hard up the head with emotions. Because of the timing, I can’t stop thinking about this game. I think that’s when you know you played the right game, at the right time.

The game may not affect you as much as it did me, but if you would like to try it, you can download the first episode for free from Steam, paying $20 for the remaining 4 episodes.

What about you, GOL readers and Linux lovers? Have you ever played a game that changed your life? I would love to hear your own stories.
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rcgamer 19 September 2016 at 12:56 am UTC
I'm a 44 year old man and this is one of my all time favorite games. That is all.
rkfg 19 September 2016 at 1:36 am UTC
rcgamerI'm a 44 year old man and this is one of my all time favorite games. That is all.
My faith in humanity has been restored. It's heartwarming to know that even older people from the previous generation enjoy such emotional games. I always thought that parents value way other things than their children so it's hard for them to explain to each other why some movie or a game hits them so hard. Glad that's not always the case.
skinnyraf 19 September 2016 at 7:32 am UTC
rkfg
rcgamerI'm a 44 year old man and this is one of my all time favorite games. That is all.
My faith in humanity has been restored. It's heartwarming to know that even older people from the previous generation enjoy such emotional games. I always thought that parents value way other things than their children so it's hard for them to explain to each other why some movie or a game hits them so hard. Glad that's not always the case.

Another one here, I'm 42 - coincidentally born in the same year as Kaitlin from Gone Home.

Gone Home hit me full on with the nostalgia hammer. Music, rooms, discussions about the Matrix... And yet I'm much more moved by Life is Strange. The end of Episode 3 left me trembling inside. I'm in the middle of Episode 4 and I'm full of dread.

Great, great game.
liamdawe 19 September 2016 at 9:28 am UTC
rcgamerI'm a 44 year old man and this is one of my all time favorite games. That is all.
Age is just a number after all!
fredrikfritte 24 September 2016 at 12:28 am UTC
Just a small note, dont worry about adulthood.
Im 35, still fiddling around in Linux land and other stuff.

Promised myself i would never get "adultboring" hehe
Halifax 29 September 2016 at 3:33 am UTC
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skinnyraf
rkfg
rcgamerI'm a 44 year old man and this is one of my all time favorite games. That is all.
My faith in humanity has been restored. It's heartwarming to know that even older people from the previous generation enjoy such emotional games. I always thought that parents value way other things than their children so it's hard for them to explain to each other why some movie or a game hits them so hard. Glad that's not always the case.

Another one here, I'm 42 - coincidentally born in the same year as Kaitlin from Gone Home.

Gone Home hit me full on with the nostalgia hammer. Music, rooms, discussions about the Matrix... And yet I'm much more moved by Life is Strange. The end of Episode 3 left me trembling inside. I'm in the middle of Episode 4 and I'm full of dread.

Great, great game.

And more power to you! Emotions, caring, loving... All the stuff I don't personally understand myself at 45 years old.

For what it's worth, related to my little rant a few weeks ago from the male cretin side: I took a friend to a local bar and grill today for his birthday, and there's a new bartender there, Natalie. Cute as a button - beautiful young lady, straw colored long blonde hair, just a gorgeous modest sweet "girl next door" gal, not a day over 22.

And she was just *killing* every guy at the bar with emotional warbling momma's boy music. Oh my god. After a few beers, I was like "Natalie, we love you, but please change the music - I think my period is going to start if I have to drink another beer to this".

She was sweet about it, but wouldn't change it - she made a few jokes about not wanting to listen to crappy rock and roll and listening to what she liked.

And I snapped - we love you Natalie, but there's one, two, three... ten dudes at the bar all staring at their drinks hating life right now.

I had Natalie give me 40 bucks in ones and started handing it out to guys at the bar for the digital jukebox. CCR, AC/DC, Blue Oyster Cult, OZZY - anything but what Natalie is killing us with. And every guy at the bar started having a good time.

Natalie came up looking flustered, and I just started handing her 20's. Turn up the volume, please. She was confused, are you paying your tab? Nope, just take the twenties and turn the music up, please - which she did. It was great. Natalie pretended to like loud rock and roll for a day.
tuubi 29 September 2016 at 8:40 am UTC
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HalifaxAnd more power to you! Emotions, caring, loving... All the stuff I don't personally understand myself at 45 years old.
I'd be sorry for your sensitivity issues if you didn't seem so proud of them. Your condition is usually diagnosed as garden variety machismo. Don't worry, it's very treatable. Although the realisation that women are people like you--just with slightly different anatomy--is often a hard pill to swallow. Also, it's okay to admit that you feel stuff other than anger or hunger. That won't make you any less of a man, just a bit less of a douche.

That young lady sure wasn't good at her job though.

Can we get back to games and Linux now?
Halifax 30 September 2016 at 1:12 am UTC
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tuubiAlthough the realisation that women are people like you--just with slightly different anatomy--is often a hard pill to swallow.

That is a quite judgmental assessment of where I'm coming from. Just thought it was humorous and applied to my earlier comments. Every guy in the bar started having more fun when I made it clear we were permanently changing the music. I had guys literally coming up, handing me more money and thanking me.
tuubi 30 September 2016 at 7:55 am UTC
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Halifax
tuubiAlthough the realisation that women are people like you--just with slightly different anatomy--is often a hard pill to swallow.

That is a quite judgmental assessment of where I'm coming from. Just thought it was humorous and applied to my earlier comments. Every guy in the bar started having more fun when I made it clear we were permanently changing the music. I had guys literally coming up, handing me more money and thanking me.
The story had nothing to do with my "judgment". If it quacks like a duck, swims like a duck, objectifies women like a duck, it's probably a chauvinist duck.

Actually I was just pushing your buttons in a rare trollish moment, and assumed your posts must be at least 50% provocation, but the fact that you don't seem to realise what I'm talking about is a bit depressing. Hint: Every time you mention a woman of the opposite sex (heh, Allo' Allo' cracks me up), they're either objects of sexual attraction, objects of condescension, objects of whatever. Objectifying people is not nice.

Well that came out a bit condescending, sorry about that.
Halifax 1 October 2016 at 1:42 am UTC
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tuubi
Halifax
tuubiAlthough the realisation that women are people like you--just with slightly different anatomy--is often a hard pill to swallow.

That is a quite judgmental assessment of where I'm coming from. Just thought it was humorous and applied to my earlier comments. Every guy in the bar started having more fun when I made it clear we were permanently changing the music. I had guys literally coming up, handing me more money and thanking me.
The story had nothing to do with my "judgment". If it quacks like a duck, swims like a duck, objectifies women like a duck, it's probably a chauvinist duck.

Actually I was just pushing your buttons in a rare trollish moment, and assumed your posts must be at least 50% provocation, but the fact that you don't seem to realise what I'm talking about is a bit depressing. Hint: Every time you mention a woman of the opposite sex (heh, Allo' Allo' cracks me up), they're either objects of sexual attraction, objects of condescension, objects of whatever. Objectifying people is not nice.

Well that came out a bit condescending, sorry about that.

OMG, you're kidding, right? ;-) Objectify women? I have sacrificed so much of my life to be there for women - that is so funny. You've read a demon you imagined into my words.

All I said was I don't get the emotions and music - I don't... But I love and need women - way more emotionally than objects, btw - although, yeah, I also do have a shallow aspect. That's just life. So it's a constant gauntlet. I love 'em, they're wonderful, and I absolutely have a challenge dealing with the silly things they think I should be getting and don't.

Sometimes, X GF's and wives have hummed lullabies in quiet moments, there's a brief moment where I think I understand, and then it's gone.
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