By Ticha Sethapakdi
Social situations are not easy for everyone. To some, socialization is like an arduous trial in which they are being judged–and the harshest juror is themselves.
About Today is a simulation game that follows a girl as she goes through various social situations. As the girl interacts with another individual, the player is responsible for determining how she behaves and responds to the other person. Responses are controlled on a TouchOSC interface containing various sliders and dials that adjust an array of behavioral characteristics, such as ‘friendliness’, ‘sarcasm’, and ‘compassion’. However, as with real life, there is a limit to how much time the player can spend to make decisions for the girl. If all the controls are adjusted to the levels appropriate for the social situation within the time limit, the girl would (ideally) go home feeling refreshed and self-assured. Otherwise, she would sulk and mull over what she could have said or done.
Overall, the game explores the notions of decision and indecision. It reflects upon the human construct of regret and how the act of redoing something may not always put a person’s troubled mind at rest. For that reason, there are no real ‘winning’ or ‘losing’ conditions for the game–the girl becomes lost in a tiresome cycle of ‘doing’ and ‘redoing’ while constantly realizing that there is something she ‘could have done’. This implies that the winning state is for the player to define–whether an ending is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ ultimately depends upon whether the player is able to come to terms with the mistakes they’ve made.