You’re looking at a British woman on camera, watching her movements through the static lines and washed-out colors of time. The year is
1994, and she says she didn’t kill her husband. The accused and her case
are yours to sort through, sending you questing among databases of
police footage and other data — if you can use a computer, you can do
this work. You can uncover this story, you can play this game.
Sam Barlow’s upcoming Her Story is a game about a woman talking
to the police. The player’s job isn’t simply to review fictional
interview tapes and documents — it’s to understand her. Although the
game has a vintage look and feel, it reflects a shift we’re seeing
across many of our modern detective dramas and police procedurals: From
whodunnit to portraiture, away from clues and forensics and toward
character studies. Think shows like Top of the Lake, True Detective, or
even the resurgent popularity of Twin Peaks.
“The thriller is different to the classic detective story because the
detective in a thriller is also the victim — he’s part of the story,”
says Barlow. “The struggles are frequently internal. We are interested
in the psychology, the social pressures that surround the crimes.”
On a knowing and mystery.