Immortality - New fmv game from creator of Her Story and Telling Lies

This explainer video (total spoilers) agrees with me: There’s no explicable reason for the credits to roll when they do, and it only hurts the experience.

As someone else said here, this seems to be a recurring issue in Barlow’s designs. And I understand the problem: There’s a point where you’re searching for an ever-shrinking number of clips you haven’t seen and it gets tedious to keep jumping to yet another scene you’ve seen a dozen times. So Barlow doesn’t necessarily want you to feel compelled to see absolutely everything. That’s reasonable, but then he cuts it off at something like 60 or 70% of all the clips (I assume the games require you to see certain important ones) but really seems to need you to want to keep digging a little further, despite the inherent frustrations of that process late game.

If I were him, I would take a bit tighter reins on the player’s goals. Something like a straight up list of questions to answer: “What happened to So-and-So?” and tick them off the list as you see the relevant clip(s). Then I know how much more there is to dig for, even if there’s also a lot of surrounding content I can see or not.

Speaking of things I haven’t seen: Based off some clips in that video, there seem to be hidden clips (I mean the reverse clips with The One, etc.) in scenes that I never got the prompt for. Did anyone notice if there are conditions that activate hidden clips? So that a hidden clip is not available when you first watch a regular clip and then later it is available? For example, the talk show appearance that the game sends you to right off the bat. Did I really miss the controller rumbling, etc, designating the hidden clip in that scene?

Immortality earned a rare 10 rating from Edge Magazine! Thought I’d share it for anyone curious or nostalgic for printed game reviews. :) I hope it’s legible.

I got tipped off on the C&C pod that clicking on tits would yield more clips, so this session I looked for tits to click on and found a handful more. I know the story of all the films but don’t know what happened IRL and I wonder how far away end credits are.

I believe there’s a certain scene you have to see to roll credits (among other pre-requisites probably), which would definitely go some way to telling you what happened IRL, though to be honest by the time I saw it just provided a conclusion to what I already knew (and it turned out I had missed some stuff that that scene didn’t help with). Not sure what I clicked on to get that scene, but I expect it was from the final film.

Still working my way through this. I find myself playing about half an hour per session before moving on to other things. But last night I loaded up the game in Virtual Desktop with a movie theater environment and played it that way. Do recommend!

I feel lost. Same with Telling Lies. I click on clips. I navigate. But I don’t get the “game”. There are bits of story of course and excerpts of movies. But, for some reason, my brain just can’t make sense of what I’m trying to achieve and what constitutes"success".

With those 2 games, I guess I’ve realised the genre is not for me at all. Kind of annoying considering a lot of players seems to find enjoyment in it.

Ah well. :/

That’s one of my issues, too: Barlow’s games would benefit from just a tad more guidance and communication of goals. One reason Her Story worked better than the others is that you were looking for words mentioned in a clip that you haven’t searched yet. A new word was a potential new discovery that could lead you to new clips and so on. (I guess Telling Lies worked this way too? But the clips were longer, the story was bigger, and I thought the connections were harder to see.)

In Immortality, the whole web of connections is softer and fuzzier. There’s a lot of, say, lamps in a lot of scenes and they can lead to any other lamp, and I don’t have any sense of why I went where I did. I don’t know when I’ve exhausted a “search term” like “lamp.” In Her Story, I see how many clips connect to it and I know when I’ve plumbed each bucket of content. Immortality is just an ocean with currents that whorl me around and around, basically without my control, and I don’t really know how much progress I’m making.

I assume the idea is to just go with the flow and enjoy seeing more and more of the story (and finding the hidden clips within clips). But that’s asking a lot of players, when you’re not giving them any sense of their progress or aims.

Here’s a quick, non-spoilery primer for how to get from baffled to “Feeling lost-ish, but now I know what I’m supposed to be doing, sort of…”

  1. In the main menu, read the “About” section. This will not spoil you. It will give you necessary information about the background of what is going on. The game absolutely needs to highlight that more than it does.

  2. In the tutorial, the first clip you can watch is Marissa Marcel doing a “Tonight Show”/Joe Franklin show hybrid. Although the tutorial wants you to do some stuff (go ahead), come back ASAP to watch that clip all the way through. Again, no spoilers, but it sets your feet on a path into the forest at least.

  3. When you “Match-cut” from scene to scene to add clips to your clip library, realize that that you may be dropped into the beginning of the clip, the end of the clip, or somewhere inbetween. Do not forget to go to the beginning of each clip, especially new clips. I have nearly 20 hours into the game, and I still sometimes forget to go to the beginning of clips.

  4. If you can at all, try to play the game with a haptic controller, like a gamepad that does rumbles. No reason. Just mildly helpful.

Finally, when playing, know that this game – like Barlow’s other games – is directly influenced by British writer JG Ballard. I stumbled onto this passage from Ballard (and quoted by Barlow) on social media just about the time I had started playing this game. It actually helped settle my overly narrative-anxious, gamified mind, and made me feel like “Oh, I’m playing this correctly, even though I’m probably playing it differently than others, who are probably all playing it differently than one another.”

Oh, the JG Ballard connection is interesting. Though… I think I often feel as underwhelmed by Ballard’s work as Barlow’s! (To be fair, there is one Ballard story that has stuck with me for thirty years.)

For whatever it’s worth, I did all four of the things you recommend, and still consider Immortality an unsatisfying game, although I’m still mostly glad I played it, for its unique aspects. But I agree that’s all good advice for finding your way into the story. (Does make me wonder if I missed something in the talk show clip, though, because it seemed to me to be way too long and uncharacteristic of a clip to start with…)

The match cutting really is just a means to get more scenes discovered, some of which are important, many are not.

Figuring out exactly what to do and when to rewind/fast-forward clips to uncover things is the real game, and once I figured that out, I had so many other clips to go back to re-watch.

I thought it was great, but I was getting to the point of… what should I be doing just about when I figured it out. Having a controller helped a lot in figuring that out.

My first thought was, when things were getting loud/vibration-y, it was at that point I should pause and find something to click on to match cut, not “you should be reversing this part to pop in a new clip” The first time I did that, probably by accident, it was so cool, and it was the very creepy scene where the one walked up into the screen.

Into my second playthrough, this time to see EVERY little thing. No compromises. :)

This seems like a normal way to play (blurred for very, very mild spoilers):


I mean, who doesn’t keep a spreadsheet and notepad++ going at all times while playing a videogame? ;) (Sam Barlow has made a game for people who like to obsess over stuff like this – and he says that was a goal – then
I am happy to fully engage my obsess-o-meter.)

Also, now that I’m into my second playthrough and have about 30+ hours in this thing, I’m amused by definitive pronouncements in reviews and elsewhere on the internet about what the game is “about”. Because it is maybe a little about whatever that person says it’s about…but it’s also about lots of other things, somehow all at once.

You gotta share any big revelations with us!

What I did to build my “pre-play” spreadsheet was to use the tutorial. In that tutorial, they show you a fully-filled out (maybe) film grid, and you can scroll through all the clip thumbnails. And now I’ve got them catalogued so I can mark them off as I find them and can take notes on them by clip name and such.

And yeah, when I finish I plan to write many, many probably boring words about this. :D

Also a thing I somehow missed until now:

Amy, the character in the game-movie “Two Of Everything” is played by none other than Jocelin Donahue. Yeah, that Jocelin Donahue, from House of the Devil. I kept thinking she looked so familiar to me…

In case anyone else was waiting for the Netflix release (Android and iOS) it kind of happened under the radar in mid-November? Anyways, downloaded it on my phone, although note that when you first open it and log in there’s the usual additional download for assets. Not sure if it’ll displace Slice and Dice as my mobile go-to though…

The interface on the mobile netflix version took some getting used to for me when I tried it out. But it works well enough, after a fashion.

Any tips on getting out of the midgame here?I’ve enjoyed this and found a lot of interesting clips and hidden stuff, but it’s starting to devolve into aimless wheel spinning visiting the same clips over and over again trying to find something new to click on.

(Game structure spoiler) I don’t believe there is a specific clip you must see to trigger the ending, but rather a count of how many hidden clips you’ve seen, so random browsing is still okay.

(Hidden mechanic spoiler) Have you searched the hidden clips for hidden clips?

So, at least playing on controller there was some force feedback to help me notice when things were needing to be investigated, otherwise there is a sound cue of about when you should start looking around for clues.

There was a period where I was jumping around not knowing where to find something new, and then I noticed when the rumble was happening it was not telling me to find something to click on that scene, but to move the video back and forth during that moment until I found something.

But, if you are really stuck, to unlock secrets you need to find specific sections to run in reverse to get something to trigger, the sound cue/rumble guide you on this

Thanks guys. Yeah, I figured out that part already, and have seen 100+ clips and a couple dozen hidden clips accessed by rewinding, and at least one set where I went multiple layers deep within a hidden clip.

So it sounds like I’m on the right track and am hopefully close to stumbling on whatever triggers the end. Just gotta keep clicking around more, I guess.