Exposure: Man With a Movie Camera & Conclusion

After having played all three of chrstphfr’s short games on Game Jolt, saying that he is very good at using sight and sound to create a great atmosphere is not overstating it; this is most evident in Exposure, which for me was a very unsettling experience: after playing it the first time, my most immediate reaction was “wow, that was really good”. After replaying it a couple of times — and discovering new details each time — I still didn’t really understand it, but that didn’t stop me from liking what I’ve just experienced.

The in-game effects are subtle, but the graininess, the contrasts between light and dark, the music — especially the music *shivers* — all come together to feed the player’s imagination and create a most physical response in me as a player. I feel like lots of what’s happening is happening in my own mind, which is why chrstphfr’s version of horror works so well for me. One could also say that the developer trusts the player, which is something I like as a general rule.

It took me a while to write this review, because my intellect got in the way: I wanted to understand what was going on, not just feel it. I briefly read up on a few subjects, thought about movies like Being John Malkovich and Lost Highway, and even watched a rather long series of introductory videos on the basics of mime: the game could perhaps be about identity, but eventually I disregarded all of the speculation and decided to, sort of, let my heart do the talking instead of my brain.

I forgot to mention the “shaky hand-cam”: it works quite well here by adding to the frantic disorientation and the sense of a possibly dissociating self, and it also makes practical sense for it to shake. If you are prone to motion-sickness, though, you might not like it. I should also mention that the developer warns about flashing lights.