Watching it Burn: Firewatch Liveblog

For the next few hours/days, I will be liveblogging my experience playing Firewatch, a first-person adventure/mystery style game revolving around Henry, who is fire lookout volunteer from Boulder, Colorado. After completing the opening sequence, it seems that Firewatch is similar to Gone Home and Dear Esther in the way that they are all games that revolve around family “dramas.” Each storyline revolves around occurrences that any family could relate to. Like how Gone Home was based on a 90’s family not accepting homosexuality, and Dear Esther revolving around a drunk driving accident, Firewatch also seems to be based on the fact that Henry’s wife Julia has┬ádementia, which could easily be another problem that millions of people around the world have to face. But, unlike the previous two, Firewatch doesn’t have a, literally, “scary” feel to it. There is no hint of horror, no rain, no thunder; rather, there is a sad tone to it. The music really sets up the stories emotional aspect. Even though it starts out happy at first, you can feel it progress to an unhappy climax and the slow music brings out the feeling of grief.

 

More to come!

 

Liveblogging Firewatch

5 comments for “Watching it Burn: Firewatch Liveblog

  1. September 18, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    I just finished playing. Curious about how you feel as you progress — so, opening’s not scary but sad? I think this “family drama” connection is interesting and want to see how you evolve around that point as you play further…

  2. admin
    September 20, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    A few days in, and we’ve met with Delilah – our supervisor who seems a little suspicious. Not only has she asked Henry to do a job that isn’t meant for him, randomly seemed to have left her radio on while talking about Henry to someone else, and under the influence, asked Henry “what was wrong with him” the first time they ever spoke, she also seems to be hiding something. There is a hint of hesitance in the tone of her voice that just shouts “I have a secret.” The fact that she says, “9/10 times folks here simply got dumped,” also hints at the fact that maybe she went through a bad breakup herself, which could again be tied around family drama and the problems everyone, at one point of another, goes through.

    The music, or lack thereof, is particularly striking. With the slow music creating that hint of sorrow in the first scene, the fact that there is no music playing, besides when he encounters the two ladies at the lake, really makes the Shoshone National Forest seem isolated. You can picture, and in some way experience yourself, how Henry must be feeling, in contract to the beginning when he has just met Julia. All he can hear is the wind and the sounds of the forest: no happiness, no music, no laughter. And then there’s Delilah, who may be making his life better, or perhaps (almost certainly) worse.

  3. admin
    September 20, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    So far, Henry has found a friend, and I chose to name him Mayhem Jr. We find the girl’s tent is shredded, and it seems as though Henry might be in trouble with the police if the girls aren’t found.

    But, a particularly curious relationship is emerging between Delilah and Henry. The two of them only have each other; just each other’s voices to be particular. It seems as though Delilah is flirting with Henry. She asks about his eyes, what he looks like, and drops some hints that she would like to be with him. I think this is rather interesting because it depicts how people who are isolated from everyone and everything they have ever loved tend to become attached to whoever they can talk to and make a significant connection with. Henry and Delilah share their personal feelings and their hardships with one another along with the emotional trouble that each one went through. This bonding could have led to the development of their relationship and how they may have ended up having feelings for one another.

  4. admin
    September 20, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    Henry, Delilah, Brian and Ned seem to be coping with reality before and during their time at the Shoshone National Forest. Henry is taking long walks at the park, and perhaps chose to work at the park, away from everyone, to get away from the pain he was feeling and get acquainted to the fact that his wife might not remember him anymore. In his dreams, he sees himself talking to Julia on the radio, which could signify that he does still loves and miss her even though he may be developing feelings for Delilah. But he seems apathetical when he is talking to her. He doesn’t seem excited or happy to hear her voice, or because of the fact that she remembered him.

    Delilah is coping with the fact that she wasn’t there for Javier when he needed her and he broke up with her. She wasn’t ready to face the cruel truth that she was the one at fault. Instead she insisted that he cheated on her, so she broke up with him. She lied to her family and, most importantly, to herself.

    Ned tried to cope with the death of his mother by coming to the lookout, and the death of his son by simply becoming a hermit. He hides away in the forest, stealing supplies and creating a safe space for himself where he can live without having to go through the pain that he would experience provided he came into contact with civilization. Not only would they condemn him for leaving his son to die, there could be a chance that he would be arrested and sent to prison.

    Brian copes with the fact that he’s with his father, away from civilization by creating his own forts and games. He befriends Delilah and crafts his own world; a world much more different from the one his father has brought him to.

  5. admin
    September 20, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    On completion of the game, I was a little disappointed by how the story ends. Up until the climax, the story is very easy to dive into and explore, but the ending seemed a little too uninteresting. It felt as though the buildup of tension led to a dissatisfying ending and it isn’t really obvious if the ending if “happy” or “sad.” We still don’t know what happens of Henry and Delilah and I would like to find out.

    Another thing I noticed in the game is that the two don’t seem to be particularly worried about the fire. Granted, this is probably not the first time Delilah is seeing a fire, Henry for one should be shocked, or worried, considering it is his job. But they seem to be uninterested in the fire that’s burning away.

    I did particularly enjoy the musical aspect of the game as I have previously mentioned. During the moments with less heat and tension, the music sometimes plays and it seems to be happy. It seems as though the makers are trying to tell a hopeful story, just like in Gone Home and Dear Esther. But, during the climax and at the end, the music seems very intense and in a way the music itself creates a very stressful atmosphere where the player can sense that something is wrong.

    Again, building on the family drama aspect of the story, like how Henry and Delilah, who were both going through troublesome times in their lives, seemed to develop feelings for one another, that could happen in any family. It is quite common for individuals who are going through stressful times together to end up being very attached to one another. Human connection is based on sharing and listening, and when you go through bad experiences together, you know precisely what the other person is feeling at any particular moment, and that is what creates a strong bond. You are there for the other person in their time of need.

    Overall, playing the game was a very enjoyable experience for me. I would like to see how another story could unfold for Henry and Delilah, and how they solve the problems they face after leaving the forest.

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