“My life is a joke, so here’s the punchline.”
-suicide note from one of the victims
I was one of the head programmers for the PC game G-Angel. You might have seen an ad or two for it, as it was scheduled to be released in 2008 and we put a few grand in marketing. However, as it might be apparent, it was not released. I want to be clear, first and foremost, this game is not haunted. It is not voodoo. I wrote most of the game myself, I can assure you this is not one of those stories or one of those games. No, this is not a story about a game. This is a story about human psychology.
G-Angel is best described as a Sims clone. You play as a guardian angel for a character you design and create, and you must provide them and protect them from bad luck. You don’t get to control your character, however, and you must provide resources for your characters in believable ways. So you could make food appear in the fridge, but it would freak out your character and make them paranoid and erratic. You need to find a balance between doing good things for your character, but if you don’t let bad things happen often enough, the game becomes more difficult, because your character would get more reckless without consequences for their risk-taking.
Most of the bad luck in the game was made to be light-hearted. In fact, most of the game was light-hearted, because we figured it would be a waste of our time to make a sim game where it took itself too seriously. Some of it was probably in poor taste, like a lot of puns after serious tragedies, or your character coming home with a gun after losing their job. But we were having fun with it. This wouldn’t be a problem, I think, except for the fact we indicate in the character creation to make a character based on the player. We felt like people would torture their character like in the Sims and laugh at their expense, especially with the ludicrous nature of the game, so to encourage normal gameplay we suggest modeling the character after the player the first go-round, and people usually did.
We didn’t know what would come next.
We had 22 people play the game in full, and it was diverse enough in each category to gauge what users would like G-Angel. At first, it seemed like most of the players enjoyed the game, but things started getting out of hand after a few days of gameplay. About half the users became very neurotic and fidgety, and would ask us strange questions about things at our studio, such as “Did you put that there?” or “Did you know about this?” The questions were frequent enough to cause concern, and we were ready to launch an investigation when the first of the suicides happened. The man had shot himself at home, alone, with no indication as to why. When the second one happened, another man diving off of a highway junction, we discontinued all beta testing and started interviewing the players.
For demographic building, we interviewed the players prior to playing with a brief 20 question survey on various subjects, like what field they worked in and their favorite kind of music. One of the questions was about religion. We asked the player to rate their religiousness on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being atheist and 10 being ISIS-tier devotion. A few of the questions had some correlation, but we noticed the two suicides were done by people who rated themselves a 5. The 50% of the users who became neurotic and paranoid were all above a 2 but below an 8. We didn’t know what to make of this, so we cancelled beta testing indefinitely.
After this move, our studio cut funding for G-Angel until further notice, citing this roadblock as a major health concern for our customers. Since that was almost a decade ago, I guess it’s been shelved for good, which absolutely destroys me because I know I worked so hard on making that game, and all the others I worked with too.
So do you want to hear my theory? Since I conducted these interviews, I can give you my two cents.
These people who became erratic and paranoid, they kept saying the game was entering their lives. They started noticing strange things happening without explanation, and bad things would happen to them with much more frequency, which is a hell of a thing to say after three days of playing a game. The others, the people who were either Bible-thumpers or a Dawkins fan, did not have such experiences.
I think that if a skeptic experiences something strange, they will chalk it up to the stochastic nature of the universe. Those who believe in order and a higher purpose will attribute strange things to that, as well. But those in the middle, those who don’t think about why things happen or who are just undecided, are probably more easily swayed and are more likely to associate random events without meaning with whatever new came into their lives, like this game.
As for me? I don’t believe G-Angel is special, as I’ve seen its guts and I know it inside and out. But I think there is something strange with simulation games. Why they experience bad luck. G-Angel is not unique. The Sims had that tragic fire that wiped most of the original game files. SimCity was sabotaged by Electronic Arts. Viva Pinata was the last game developed by Rare before their buyout.
I think when we try to make games to play God, we end up getting played. And I’m starting to buy Pascal’s Wager a bit more, now. I was never certain if I believed or not, but I believe now, just to be safe.
If this is real then are you sure a 2 would feel anything one it came to this id say someone who rates themselves as 2 would be more towards agnostic and usualy lack a belief in angels so id say what were the two suicide victims or were there more and why wernt the police involved gotta cover more of the plot holes only leave the thing you as the devolouper wouldnt know
The plot hole exists at this pause. It would have been impossible to know how the dead men scored because you implemented the test after the second death.
Sha-zamm-zo-oh-so-fake-and-waitforit-gay. Better luck next time!
>when we try to make games to play God, we end up getting played
There's always a stupid who deem himself superior...
OP, thank you. 9,7/10. You may wanna correct that plot hole that the fag above mentioned, though. Best content on /x/ in a fucking long time...
So you people into reading comprehension?
>we interviewed the players prior to playing
>prior to playing
That means it happened before anyone killed themselves or even had a chance to play the game at all. If someone killed themselves before they played the game, then that death has nothing to do with this story.
> What did they mean the game was entering their lives?
Most likely it was akin to cases where people start to notice a number appearing a lot and see patterns due to confirmation bias (like the Number 23 movie or many threads on /x/).
In the case of a sims game, they would have looked at the game and start noticing similarities to real life where some event looks just like something in their life, and then get spooked further by the dark jokes.
Yeah that's what I figured.
I think the story would be better if he talked about existential despair. Like they were changing things in a simulation about themself. Then started believing someone was changing things in their own life, like maybe their own life was just a simulation, and started feeling less valuable.
The result of the player interview was too vague. Adding a twist like this makes for a better story.
They dared "it" to influence their lives and maybe one of players eventually went so far as to play russian roulette and survive against all odds giving some indicium of what might have happened to the suiciders.
Also the ending is all over the place.
>this game is not haunted. It is not voodoo
>this is not a story about a game. This is a story about human psychology
>I don’t believe G-Angel is special
>I think when we try to make games to play God, we end up getting played
>I believe now, just to be safe
Rather leave it open ended and insist it was just chance and human psychology, but the interview part gives the Reader doubt and think the game might have made the players aware that they're puppets being played / guardian angels are real.