Overcoming the ‘limits’ of movies and books through digital media remains a daunting task. After all, traditional media is perfectly fine at narration. Her Story is a brilliant example of what digital games can bring to the table.
The game revolves around a murder and the player is the detective. The case has recently been re-opened and the player is left examining old VCR tapes containing snippets of interviews with a single person. During this solitary, meditative experience the player’s search for the truth is guided by database queries. The player will feel uncomfortable as they become more and more eager to explore a disturbing past. Only by letting curiosity get the better of them can the detective put the pieces back together.
Her Story uses a minimalistic interface, hiding its mechanics under a masterfully crafted visual presentation. At the same time, the game mixes narrative techniques borrowed from movies and TV series. It is reminiscent of forgotten laser disc games, or clunky interactive novels from the 1990s. Somehow, the interactive game blends everything together in a unique masterpiece. For decades, digital storytelling remained a chimera; Her Story might very well be the medium’s most accomplished realisation.