'These Four Walls Called Reality' is a rare game set in an apocalypse that rejects the idea that the social world was hunky-dory before.
All images courtesy TFWCR
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The average zombie apocalypse narrative goes something like this: People are living life, then the zombies come, and then those people realize that it’s a war of all against all out there in the wastes. You can’t trust anyone. The walls come crumbling down, and the world is forever changed. these four walls called reality is a refreshing take on the zombie apocalypse because it argues that those traditional narratives are completely false.
Maxwell knows they aren’t like other people, and they’re thrown out of society for it. Tabbris watched his both of his moms perish in an attack on a Pride parade. None of those things have anything to do with the zombie apocalypse that they’re currently in, and each of those narratives is revealed in a long conversation between two people attempting to hide in a giant metal container.
Normal apocalyptic stories come from a place that assumes now is worse than then, but these four walls called reality puts pressure on the idea that the social world was hunky-dory before. These characters work through their real traumas, each enumerating the ways that they were excluded from living full lives before the dead started rising. While the apocalypse is undeniably worse, it’s a continuation for these characters, not a brave new world of abject terror. It’s more terror, in different ways.
The writing in these four walls called reality gets a little graphic at times, and the writing is pretty frank when it comes to domestic violence, violent actions against LGBTQ people, and just the general systems of oppression that exist in our world. There’s also some graphic violence against animals.
Ultimately, this is a game that’s about exploring the connections between our world and one that is supposedly unlivable, and it asks us to consider how our current world is made unlivable for many people who don’t fit into a normative framework. Sometimes it’s hokey, but just as often it hits serious emotional moments.