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Pregnancy (PC) artwork

Pregnancy (PC) review

"Overly-condensed and unfocused."

I'm not sure what Pregnancy is trying to advance. That rape is bad and innocent people are the victims? Does anyone need to be taught that lesson? The main thrust of the narrative -- as much as a fifteen minute game can have a main thrust -- is dealing with the pregnancy of a 14-year old girl. But this stops being the sole focus when the game drops the bomb very early on that the pregnancy is the product of rape.

The game tries to play the choice being shallowly debated as "should this girl keep the baby?" and only scratches at the much larger issue about what to do with a pregnancy that's the result of rape. I can’t bring myself to believe they're not two very different things. The issue of rape is ever-present, but no one seems to know how to pigeonhole it into the game’s narrative smoothly. Perhaps it became a victim of Pregnancy’s brevity but the whole issue is almost whitewashed over once the graphic description describing the event has finished coming out of nowhere. People just tell the girl she'll be over it one day and the rapist is written off as some roguish rapscallion at large.

Perhaps, considering the length of the game, it should have just been about an underage girl having unsafe sex and dealing with it. It's a thing. It happens. The rape aspect seems to have been shoved on top of this to give the story a grittier, nastier vibe and stir up emotion. I’m not against this medium invoking negative feelings in its players; when done right, it can be a very powerful tool, but when your project is only fifteen minutes long, you really need to focus right in on whatever it's about.

To the contrary, the entire affair feels unfocused. The idea is you play a voice inside the girl's head that is supposed to guide her to make the eventual choice between aborting the unborn child and keeping it. A lot of it seems out of place though. For example, you can make fun of her musical tastes but can't get her to confess to her guardian right off the bat that she's pregnant. Which is even more bizarre because they know she was raped. It's not like she's feeling guilty about going too far with her boyfriend.

In fact, why has it been left for her to check this on her own? Should this not have been more or less the first thing to check for a rape victim? The writing that makes up the game isn't awful; I was expecting a lot of stupid errors, but a lot of the scenes made sense. It’s all written out as stream of conscious writing, which fits. Some scenes stood out more, like being ashamed to go to the drug store and buy a pregnancy kit. That would seem like a shitty thing to do for a 14 year old girl. But, coming back around, why would a victim of rape be left to find out that she’s pregnant on her own?

As she couldn't rely on her local authorities for anything and, because I'm obviously a great guy, I used my unexplained presence in her head to be supportive and nurturing, but to push her into talking to people about her pregnancy once confirmed. In turn, she told three people before she told her guardian and only right at the death do they start seriously discussing either aborting or keeping it. She chose to keep the child in my playthrough. Which was fine. I went out of my way not to push that choice either way, and purposefully left it completely open and up to the girl. But then end-game tells me not to be mad. Even though I pushed her towards aborting -- which is something I didn't do at any point ever -- the game will always make the contrary choice to the player’s wishes. Because.... nope. I'm lost at this point. Then it links to several helpful websites, some of which are Wikipedia. Um… yeah.

It’s not like Pregnancy doesn't have some interesting ideas, like how it wants to introduce the player as some mind hitchhiker rather than just a disembodied voice dishing out advise. It wants to establish you as an outside personality -- you have to supply a name, and are questioned on possible shared interests and the state of your life outside the confines of the girl’s head. Again, though, it’s an idea that never reaches fruition due to the title’s brevity, and all the interesting quirks about being your own person talking to a girl in crisis seems like it could have been better spent, you know, learning about the girl in crisis. Everything is condensed down into a tale far too rapid fire to deal with the complexities of the ordeals it seeks to talk about.


EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (March 05, 2015)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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