I’d like to start this review off by apologizing to both The Fullbright Company and The Quinnspiracy for my reviews of their games. Gone Home and Depression Quest were the only games I reviewed to score a one out of ten before this one. While I stand by my opinion that both of them are terrible games, I honestly found The Interview so appalling that I do not feel that it deserves the same score as those two games. When I reviewed Gone Home, I made a statement about how there were likely plenty of games that were objectively worse than it despite the scathing nature of the review. I cannot say the same about The Interview. The Interview has got to be among one of the worst games released in this generation, and possibly of all time. The games accomplishes this not only in its lack of quality, but just in its offensiveness and how it represents nearly all of the worst aspects of modern indie gaming and even more.
I am going to start this review out by trying to sum up what few good qualities I can with this game, as tiny and insignificant they may be. To be honest though, the only good thing I can really come up with is that the title theme is pretty nice. Granted it sounds like something that may have been from the public domain, but I’m not going to dwell on that and will take what I can get. The rest of the possible positive aspects are ones that you really need to stretch in order to consider a good quality. You would literally need to MAKE the game entertaining in order to enjoy this. At best, you will end up spending 2 dollars for a twenty minute game with no real gameplay or storyline that just leaves you confused; and that is only if the game successfully tricks you into believing it went over your head.
Now that I got that out of the way, I will start with trying to describe exactly what The Interview is. The Interview can best be described at what is clearly an attempt at an experimental artistic game, in the same vein as something like The Stanley Parable. You take the role of Adam, someone who is heading for a job interview where he is asked strange questions to determine his emotional stability for the job. You are stuff like “would you die a hero or live on your knees as a slave” or “would you saw of your own leg to save your best friend’s life?” You are given no context to any of these questions nor are you even told about what job you are applying for.
For example, you are asked whether you would rather kill someone who murdered your best friend, or ignore them and suffer for the rest of your life. There is nothing provided about why you would suffer for the rest of your life if you choose not to kill your best friend’s murderer, nor why you wouldn’t suffer if you killed him or her. You are just given two options and need to pick one and move on. This completely defeats the point of these artistic types of games in the first place. These types of games are supposed to make you think about their inner meanings and possible symbolic nature. The Interview, however, just reduces your entire area of thought to just two choices. The Interview does not expect you to think, it just wants you to pick and conveniently move on.
Another example is when the game asks you “do you believe in god, or do you not believe in anything?” According to The Interview, you are either Christian or atheist; nothing in between. It completely ignores the idea that there are people of other religions out there who could believe in something else. Also there was the fact that it specifically says “or don’t you believe in anything?” The Interview may as well be saying that not believing in god means you must be a nihilist who does not believe in the concept of life having any real meaning. I suppose one could say that I am reading too deeply into a small word choice, but the problem with that argument is that these surreal experimental games are supposed to be about interpreting hidden meanings. By punishing the player for thinking about the game’s meaning, this pretty much defeats the point of playing it at all and leaves nothing left to stand on. There is no real plot to keep you invested, and there certainly isn’t any gameplay. The only objective that The Interview even attempts is to make itself look artistic without actually being artistic, and it does so by trying its hardest to keep the player from thinking.
This is supported even more so by how the plot advances. The game’s own intro basically has Microsoft Sam narrating the story by telling you how Adam feels going into the interview. This already is a red flag seeing as how it just shows that there was not enough writing talent involved to properly express these feelings through the game itself, and that they need to tell the player how to react. The Interview questions are set up where, not matter what response you give, the rest of the game will not be affected in any way. The entire game is basically the equivalent to a jrpg segment where you are given the choice between two dialogue options, but you cannot actually continue unless you pick the one the game wants you to. This is not even my own interpretation of it; the game’s plot is literally set up with this motif.
The main plot of the game actually ends up revealing that the apparent interview is actually an interrogation and that Adam was an accused murderer. The problem with this revelation is that the only way we know Adam was a murderer is because the game outright tells us he did. At the end of the game, Microsoft Sam (and I’m not even being snarky, the game literally is narrated by Microsoft Sam instead of having any voice actors) tells you the entire meaning of the game and everything that happened, and that this interview was just an attempt to get Adam to confess. The problem with this approach is that, not only does it never explain why Adam thinks this is an interview in the first place, but also that Adam is pretty much given no choice other than to confess. You are pretty much bludgeoned over the head that Adam is a murderer even if it wasn’t spelled out, yet you never see what he did with your own eyes. This game’s message basically comes down to “guilty before proven innocent,” and that pressuring someone into a potential false confession is a valid way to actually determine if he did it. This is a terrible message seeing as how it completely ignores that people are falsely accused and basically tells players to believe whatever they are told.
There is also the game’s half assed attempt at being scary to add to this. First the game starts out by throwing in weak jump scares without any context after each question. The game does so just by showing a weird environment that looks like it was ripped from the Username 666 creepypasta. However, the only thing creepy about these environments are how poorly rendered they are. The graphics in this game would not pass for a low budget Playstation One title. There are quite literally no textures to any of the graphics and the whole thing just looks horrible. The only other game I can think of that looked like this was LSD Dream Emulator on the Playstation One, and it worked in that game’s favor due to how surreal and disturbing they tried to get it to look. I can assume that they may have been going for the same effect with The Interview, but this game does not have one fraction of the depth or personality of LSD Dream Emulator. Also as you go on, the screen starts to get more and more staticky to the point where I thought my computer was glitching up the first time through. Our opening text and ending credits also look like they were made in Microsoft PowerPoint and have the most bland and unappealing look possible. The sound effects are also all stock and are very out of place.
The interface is also incredibly screwed up. The first problem is that you can almost never tell what you need to click on to advance the game further. Sometimes you are given a few cue cards that you need to select for your answer while other times you need to press one of the number keys on your keyboard. There are also some points where, due to the aforementioned static, you are unable to see your mouse pointer and it becomes hard to actually select an option.
However, there is one aspect of the game that pretty much serves as the final nail in The Interview’s coffin and what really makes this one of the worst games of all time. That being a moment in the game where, without any warning or any real reason, the game shows real life footage of people being killed, or at least very badly injured, by car accidents and various other things. Everything else in this game, so far, has just been poor writing and poor design, but this here is outright morally offensive. The fact that they needed to resort to showing real life gore in their game for nothing other than shock value is downright pathetic and morally bankrupt. The creator of this game is basically profiting off of what is likely another person’s death, and is using it to promote his or her game. I can only imagine how the families of the individuals in this footage would react to this game; I imagine they would not be too happy.
Hell I’m not sure if this game was even legal to be released. As a result, I don’t know if it will even remain on Steam for too long once they become aware of this. It is reasons like this why games have quality standards in the first place, and it really shows that Valve needs to be more careful with what they allow through their system. Yet what is really unforgivable about the inclusion of this footage is that there isn’t even an in game explanation for this to occur. It is just shown randomly and without any type of context to it. All you get is a Microsoft Sam saying “I know that was hard to watch, but how does that make you feel?” You are just given the generic answers of “sad, angry, or bored.” There is no option of offended or disgusted in there. If I showed up at a real life job interview and they showed footage like that unprompted, I’d be pretty pissed off, and chances are I wouldn’t take the job.
Some may say that I am dwelling too much on what is morally correct or incorrect rather than the “objective” aspects of it. Normally, when it comes to reviewing games, I tend to keep moral implications and overall quality separate from each other. Normally I consider the former to only be a bad thing if it comes as a result of poor writing and I choose not to go after things based on an intentional style. Even I have my limits with how much I am willing to tolerate though. If I otherwise loved this game I would not accept something like this would not even bother to review it to begin with. In the case of the Interview however, the rest of the game was so poorly made and written that this probably would have received a similarly scathing review.
As for The Interview overall, it is without a doubt the worst game I have ever played. Nothing of any remote substance was even attempted with this game; and if there was then it certainly fooled me. I will honestly need to revise my reviews of Gone Home and Depression Quest, because quite simply put, neither of them deserve to be associated with this thing. Hell even some of the most infamously bad games ever made such as Superman 64, Action 52, and Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties have had at least a minimal amount of creativity involved.
Even in the case of morbid curiosity I cannot recommend this game. I don’t even mean this in the sense that “it’s just that bad.” I mean this because the game has so little depth that looking up a reaction video on Youtube will give you the same experience. In fact, staring at a blank screen would probably yield more entertainment seeing as how the random thoughts that come to mind will likely be deeper than what The Interview will provide you with, and it also doesn’t cost any money. I don’t know what else to say other than that I am shocked. $2.00 may not be a lot of money, and it may not seem like a huge price at first glance, but when you consider just how many games out there have had legitimate effort put into them yet did not charge you a penny for them it just goes to show how worthless this game is. This game had to be obvious cash in attempt; I refuse to believe any legitimate effort was put into this. Just don’t bother with this game, if you are curious, just look it up on Youtube. Otherwise you will probably get more enjoyment out of playing with a stick in the mud.
I feel as though I should post a reminder that this was originally posted in March of 2015 just for context. It shows just how little I was exposed to that I thought Depression Quest and Gone Home were 1 out of 10 material. I still don’t like either game but I will admit that they at least tried. I don’t even really dislike Depression Quest either and I tend to cringe whenever I read over my older review. I still think a lot of the criticism is fair but I feel I may have been overly harsh, and I’ve been hesitant to put my review up on this blog for that reason.
As for The Interview, we all know it is bad but is it still the worst game I ever played? It depends, as there are a lot of different ways of measuring how bad a game is. There are games that I enjoyed playing less than The Interview such as Starless, and there are also games that are more poorly designed such as Vickinachi. However, I do think that The Interview has the least substance out of any game I reviewed. IE it isn’t the most bad, but it is the least good.
To be honest it’s probably that gore clip that makes me say it’s possibly the worst of all time, and if it weren’t for that then it would likely just be another shitty game. But The Interview is beyond mere shovelware status, it’s perhaps the lowest form of “art” that the industry has created and I will be shocked if anyone could find something worse than this.
This review was originally posted to GameFAQs on March 24th of 2015 and has since been re-edited with enhanced presentation.
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