Game Pile: A Normal Lost Phone

Partial script and notes below the fold.

A Normal Lost Phone is a 2017 puzzle video game, developed by Accidental Queens, published by Playdius and Plug In Digital and fits neatly into that space of ‘clever indie game.’ The game presents you with a mobile phone screen, with no identify information about you, yourself, and gives you the explanation that you’re holding a phone that is a normal phone, that was lost. It’s there in the title. What you get from there is a sort of contained sleuthing game, where you, interacting with an entirely reasonable phone protected by entirely reasonable safeguards and proections, can work out who owns the phone, why it’s lost, and what you should do next.

Given that the game is functionally a long-form puzzle with a single fixed set of solutions and very little branching storytelling, I should warn you that talking about what’s in the game will by necessity tell you what’s in the game. Obviously. I’m not going to be able to give you a clear vision of the game’s mouth feel or whatever, the jumping mechanics are not particularly floaty. Talking about A Normal Lost Phone is a process of talking about all that there is in A Normal Lost Phone, so consider this a spoiler warning, after our content warnings.

And ah yeah, there were … sure those.

Phew.

Still, if you saw this game on itch or steam and thought ‘hey that looks interesting, I wonder what very smart and cool videogame thinkyperson Talen Lee has to say about it,’ I’d like to first up offer that I like it; that I had a violent reaction to playing it; and that I cheated to finish it… and that I’m super happy for that. If you want to know what I think, or if you played it and want to hear more, then let us go on.


Points to hit:

  • The cleverness of the story arc
  • The multiple story threads
  • The gay-to-bi-to-trans escalation
  • the way we queers live in spaces on the internet
  • intense sympathy with the character
  • The story left me wanting to do right by her
  • The difference between -observing- her messages and -sending- messages
  • Cheating

The above is literally just my notes made for making the video. Large portions of the audio weren’t directly scripted – it’s more ‘make my bullet points, think through the ideas, and then deliver them to the mic; re-take if the idea doesn’t work with the flow of the points.’

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