definition an emotional wound or shock, Trauma is far more a
feeling or experience than it is a game, although game-like interactions
punctuate the events. It seemed like it wanted to be more than a game, but
ultimately it felt a bit empty, a pretty thing that was over too quickly
to make a deep impression.
Yet I sit here, pensive and
pondering, flicking back over the movies, bathed in the haunting
soundtrack, so it nonetheless left a mark.
There is a poetic quality about
Trauma, and perhaps that’s the best way to approach it. Poems are
different things to different people, and so is this. You might love it,
dissect it, discuss it and remember it, or you might simply finish it and
I came back to it, and kept poking
at it. I wanted to understand it, or at least understand what it wanted to
achieve. In the end, it was as open in its meaning as it was in its
There is pain, as you would expect
from a trauma, and while there is physical recovery there is no "happily
ever after". Depending which ending you get, the subtle yet substantial
difference suggests an emotional recovery is far away.
Four recurring dream sequences
overlay an interaction between a young woman injured in a car accident and
a psychologist or similar therapist. Like real dreams, they can fracture
or simply stop rather than finish. There is no obvious path through any of
them, and the paths that there are can stutter and lurch. You will be
thrown out of the dream, or can choose to leave it, whereupon you can
enter another or go back to the same one. It will, like a recurring dream,
start again – the same things will happen and can be made to happen over
and over. What you want is to make something else happen.
Each dream has a main ending, and
three alternate ones, and you can find them all or find none of them. Each
dream contains nine photos to find, yet none are compulsory. They have
meaning, in terms of the life that is the young woman’s, and they will
tell you things that will help you in the dreams.
The dreamscapes are made up of
photographs, muted in colour, through which you click to move about. You
will also discover symbols which you can use to manipulate certain things
within the dreams. You draw these symbols by dragging your mouse; draw
them in the right places and you may catch a ghost or shatter one, and you
will also get an “end”.
That the dreams are constructed
from photographs is no accident. While you learn other things about the
life of the young woman, a camera on the seat of the car in the opening
sequence suggests her interests include photography. They are her dreams,
and she narrates you through them, offering insights and thoughts
triggered by the in-dream photos or the surroundings.
There is a highly stylish and
cinematic quality to the filmed scenes in the real world, and a no less
stylish surrealism about the dream worlds. Trauma is artistic in
both conceptualisation and construction, with a minimalist style that
belies its complexity.
It's incredibly short, somewhere
between 30 minutes and two hours depending on the endings you want to
find. As far as I am aware, if you want the alternate real world ending,
you will have to find everything there is to find, but you can “complete”
it finding very little. It's up to you.
In the end, Trauma will be
at its best when not thought of as a game, but as a kind of interactive
emotion, which is how I have rated it. It's worth the price of entry
simply to experience.
OS: Windows 7
Processor: AMD Phenom 9500 Quad Core CPU 2.2 GHz
Ram: 4.00GB DDR2 400MHz
Gx card: ATI Radeon HD 3850 512Mb
is available from the
website as a download.