Skip to content

Smokescreen Day#8: Memory Lanes

Today was the penultimate mission of Smokescreen. It’s a dive into the memory of the person behind all of the chaos of Smokescreen, and the reveal itself is decent but not too surprising. The narrative bit of it is good, but pales in comparison to Mission 8. There’s also a totally incidental game mechanic that was pretty solidly eh. Spoilers within.

The mission starts with chat between LOL-kitty and Jamie. They are clearly having an affair, and so Jamie is cheating on his girlfriend Emma. LOL reveals that she got an invite to Whitesmoke, and then tells Jamie that she’s going to set up a fake identity and invite Jamie to the site so that they can continue to talk without being discovered.

At this point, we somewhat suddenly transition to the game part. There are five meters on the screen corresponding to different emotions of  “Billy.” The exact emotions are totally irrelevant to play, so I didn’t even keep track of them. There are brackets around certain parts of each meter. The goal is to click on each meter to slowly fill up a bar in it until the bar ends within the space defined by the brackets. Of course, the bars go down over time, so there’s a bit of plate spinning to get all of the meters in place at the same time. It’s an okay but not great game. The movement is a bit clunky, but I figure it out and get through it with some frustration but not much real difficulty. When you finish the game, you go back to the narrative.

After the first game, we are taken to Billy’s page, and this starts a narrative method that continues throughout the mission. There’s a non-narrativized text conversation over whatever page I’m looking at between “Me” (I am never defined, so I have no idea who I am) and the girl masquerading as Billy. I usually have a dialogue choice of two options, but they rarely seem to be different enough to be relevant. I begin by asking what identity she’s picked, and she explains that Billy is drawn from a boy in the book Billy Liar. She explains that she using this identity to have a way to talk to Jamie, so we’re clearly flashing back to the past.

I’m interrupted by a second game, which is easier now that I get the game, but still only okay to play at best. We return to a  quick conversation between Jamie and phone interlocutor, while Jamie is driving. This scene  is 5 days before his  death. Then we cut back to Billy’s page.  “Billy” reveals that was last conversation she had with Jaime before he died. Billy then blames Max for Jamie’s death because Jamie was supposed to break up with Emma that night but got called by Max instead. He was thus driving too fast because he was distracted trying to get back in time for the break-up, and that caused the accident.  Billy then changes “his” profile in front of me, with the intent of befriending Max now that Cal’s in a coma in order to get closer to Max and hurt him.

Here’s the third game. The bars are now moving a little, but I’ve figured this out and it’s easy. I have to say that this game seems totally extraneous. This type of play doesn’t add to the narrative, and I feel like it’s just an interruption from the story.

Anyway, after the third game, Billy reveals how she used the proxy site she found on Cal’s webpage to hurt Max. She didn’t start the Daily Hate, but she posted the nastiest true stuff she knew there. She found out those secrets from Max’s mother on a bereavement site the mom was posting to after her husband’s (Max’s father’s) death. The moral here is clear: It isn’t easy to hide anything on the internet. Anything that’s posted can be found, and is very hard to remove. It’s a lesson Smokescreen keeps repeating.

There’s a fourth game that’s a little harder and still not terribly fun, and then back to the story. Billy goes on to explain more of the ways she screwed with Max’s life, pointing to the party in particular. She also learns  from “me” that Max lost the bid of advertising investment. It turns out that it was actually Jamie’s father that was thinking of setting up the advertising, but Billy had little to do with that deal falling apart; Keira ruined that chance with her ID scam, and Billy only exploited that with the party.

Fifth game – easy, not fun. We return to see Billy buying bomb materials in Max’s name. She reveals that she used the party prank as an opportunity to break into Max’s house and steal his credit card information.  She also knows that the police are constantly scanning for people buying potential bomb materials. Again, the moral is you can’t hide very easily on the internet.

There’s a final easy game. This last one seals it — the game is simply not that fun. It’s bearable, but it’s just too finicky and the interaction is too crude to be fun. We return back to the call in the car. “Billy” is pushing Jamie to break up with Emma, and accuses Jamie of picking up Max and Cal to get out talking to Emma and ending it. He denies this, but asks to get off the phone so that he can drive. She demands that he say he loves her, and in that we learn who Billy really is: Melissa, the hanger-on in previous missions. That explains why she has always been hanging around. It’s not really a shock, as she’s the only character left, but having Billy and Melissa be the same person is a neat twist, and it reinforces another moral: you don’t know who anyone is on the internet.

The revelation of Melissa’s plot is the end of the mission. I get all of the achievements because none of them required me to do anything but get through the mission. These last two missions have been only okay at best. Let’s hope Smokescreen wraps on a higher note.

Posted in Core.

Tagged with .

0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.