All places have a story to tell if you are willing to listen.
Not all of them will be crystal clear but they all hide in plain sight the identities of the people who live, work, play or simply go by them. This idea that stories can be told through pieces of information found in ordinary locations is not a radical one but it is getting more traction. In the last few years, we have seen a rise of the concept of “environmental storytelling” in video games with titles such as Gone Home presenting this as their main focus, or something more in the lines of additional lore or subtext like in the Fallout series.
Explore a room, look around, pick up objects, look closer for details. Bit by bit, the player puts together the story echoing through nooks and crannies.
Marie’s Room is that kind of game and it is actually one of the finest examples of that concept. In this video game created by like Charlie, a narrative-focused Belgian game studio, we seek to piece together the mystery lying deep within Marie’s room. We play as Kelsey, a friend of Marie, as we explore a room that seems to have been left untouched for the last twenty years.
What happened to Marie? What bond did these two girls share? These and many more questions arise as the player explores this beautiful bedroom in what feels like a truly nostalgic trip down memory lane. Secrets and emotions are unearthed as we delve deeper into the lives of the girls and investigate their past.
Marie’s Room can be played thoroughly just under an hour but it left a lasting impression long after I’ve played. The gorgeous dreamy visuals, the interesting characters and interpersonal dynamics, the superb voice acting, the well-crafted details all come together beautifully in this short exploration game.
I highly recommend it and if you’re a fan of the Life is Strange series you must play Marie’s Room. Did I tell you it’s free? It’s available on Steam.