This year’s video games have gifted us with an array of stunning moments, like punching Nazis or scaling Hyrule’s highest mountains or spinning frantically in battle, unsure whether to trust the voices in our heads. The GamesBeat team talked over a few of our favorite gaming memories, and though it was a difficult decision, we’ve picked just one as our Standout Gaming Moment of the year for our GamesBeat Rewind year-end event.
The Standout Gaming Moment of 2017 is…
Lewis Finch’s level in What Remains of Edith Finch
Other finalists: The New Donk City finale (Super Mario Odyssey); Getting your first chicken dinner (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds)
Listen to us discuss this category in the audio version of the podcast right here:
Giant Sparrow’s What Remains of Edith Finch doesn’t punch you in the gut with its emotional story. Instead, it slowly peels off the bandage and then stands quietly over you as you bleed out on the floor.
You explore Edith’s childhood home and play as each of her family members in their last moments, and none of the stories resemble on another. Some capture the innocent hubris of youth, like Calvin’s tale and his determination to swing as high as he can. Others are joyful, colorful experiences, even though the underlying narrative is horrifying.
Lewis Finch’s story transcends all the others.
When you play as Lewis, you control him in real life at his dull cannery job. With the right stick, you reach up, grab fish, and behead them with a rusty blade. With the left stick, though, you roam his imagination, maneuvering a tiny figure through a magical dungeon with strange and wondrous things.
Lewis’s job is menial, thankless work. But in his imagination, he begins amassing followers, friends, and worshippers. He sails from city to city, conquering everything in sight. He’s a musician, a ruler, a hero. At first, his daydreams take up just part of the screen, and you can still see the mundane cannery around him. Then, as you continue playing, his land of wonder overtakes reality.
What Remains of Edith Finch follows Lewis’s story to its brutal end. It’s beautiful and tragic, a death that occurs even though people around him are trying to help him. And it all starts from what appears to be harmless, everyday escapism.
Lewis’s story isn’t the only thing that makes this a standout moment, though. The ingenious mechanics echo what’s going on in his head, forcing you to multitask. And very quickly, you fall into a rhythm of reaching up and grabbing the fish, all while devoting most of your attention to navigating his imagination. Real life isn’t very interesting and you’d much rather discover new lands in his fantasy world.