August 25th 2017 is a remarkable and novel little live narrative experience that explores the passage of time and the feelings of loss when someone dies – with a character getting killed off once every five days in real time and you never able to see them again once they’re gone.
In August 25th 2017 you play a little owl who works in a nursing home/hospital and visits five different rooms to give the patients their medicine. A lot of the time the patients are a little obnoxious, but they seem to have lived full, rich lives and will chat with you a little while you hand out their pills. Don’t get too attached to them though, as each one will be bumped off one at a time every five days in real time, with you never able to see them again.
There’s also another curious element to the game, with you physically ageing after visiting each patient, getting slower and greyer with each one, until you eventually reach a sixth room which is yours and contains a few little nick nacks that belonged to the patients. These are most likely mementos of people who played some role in your life and are no longer there (or maybe they’re trophies you’ve stolen to celebrate the fact that you’ve deliberately killed them by giving them the wrong medicine).
Video games often tackle the issue of death, but even if it’s a beautifully acted Naughty Dog-style adventure, the death of a character in them is still pretty false as you can always reload a past save or start a new game to see that character again. August 25th 2017 takes that ability away from you – when a character dies in this beautifully animated anthropomorphic adventure you’ll never see them again and if you come to the game late then you’ll never know they existed!
It’s a thought provoking game that explores the temporary nature of life and the permanence of death. Only the dev knows what will happen on August 25th when all the patients are dead, but we’re certainly intrigued to find out!
Note: The dev also recommends checking out this website after playing the game. Be warned, it’ll make you REALLY depressed!
Play August 25th 2017 Here (And Be Sure To Go Back Every Five Days!)