Actual Sunlight

Preview: Actual Sunlight

A Story About Love, Depression, and the Corporation

Actual Sunlight is an interactive story by Will O’Neill that really challenges our perception of how digital experiences can engage us both intellectually and emotionally. I’ve never played a game as honest as this.

At first glance, you might say that Actual Sunlight looks like a typical RPG Maker-style indie RPG. I’d almost agree with you too, but there’s much more to this game than meets the eye. Much like it’s main character Evan Winter, you have to look beyond its outer shell to fully appreciate the depth of the complexity within. Gameplay in its traditional sense is minimal, as you are generally moving from location to location and from object to object in order to continue the story. The story is what will keep you coming back for more, as each step deeper brings new layers of emotion and distress. It is presented to you in the form of text-heavy asides that bring you deep into the thoughts and emotions of Evan as he goes through his journey.

Actual Sunlight - Bus ride
Ah, the bus seat dilemma. We’ve all been there.

The thing that struck me the hardest while playing Actual Sunlight was the sheer quality and honesty of the writing. The dialogue pulls no punches and is viciously honest at all times. Evan’s asides have absolutely no filter, and the sheer willingness to openly discuss one’s deepest fears, regrets, and ailments will likely shock you at first. It almost feels unnatural to be that deep into someone’s psyche. It’s also worth noting that the quality of the writing itself is absolutely brilliant. The asides are both thought provoking and intelligently observational, which is essential to a game that features as much text-based interaction as this.Actual Sunlight - Vacation Notice

I could go on about my my reactions to Actual Sunlight, but I am electing to ensure I don’t say too much about the game’s story as it is something that is best experienced individually.


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