The twins Tyler and Alyson are chasing each other down the creaky stairs, throwing sofa cushions and their laughter is filling the room. A wooden giraffe with size markings symbolizes the progression of their childhood.
This scene presents their childhood home as a playground – but behind the wooden walls is also a tragic family history. For it is the place where Tyler was threatened by his mother with a shotgun and Alyson saved her brother by stabbing her mother. It is the turning point in her life.
10 years later the twins enter their childhood home for the first time since their mother’s death. As they prepare the house for sale to close the painful chapter in their lives, they look at family photos.
Tyler used to be a girl and the photos show his past self. A “self” that never really felt right to him. In the picture we see a girl in a dress, now a man with a beard, jeans and boots. Old wounds are tearing open and guilty feelings are rising to the surface.
The twins stand in the museum of their own lives. They become observers of their own history, digging through their old stuff like archaeologists. Tyler and Alyson discover their secret passages under the house and toys that remind them of the great adventures of their childhood. Some of their findings raise new questions. There are clues that may shed a different light on their mother’s death.
As I play, I think about my visits back home and how my father painstakingly refurbishes my childhood toys. “Maybe it will be needed again,” he says. Inevitably, I compare myself to the Ingo of 20 years ago and wonder what’s left of that little rascal. Will I perhaps find clues that could put my life in a different light?
I turn to the museum directors and let my parents guide me through the ages. This is sometimes painful, sometimes cheerful and sometimes surprising. My museum consists mainly of beautiful memories. I recognize parts of my current self, manifested in letters, photos, drawings, and toys.
But like with Alyson and Tyler, these are memories of another time, and after all these years, I am no longer the person on display.
Tell Me Why is a narrative mystery adventure game from DONTNOD Entertainment in which Tyler and Alyson Ronan use special abilities to uncover their family history. In order for players to follow the protagonists’ footsteps in a realistic way, the creators of the popular Life is Strange game series consulted with representatives from Alaska’s indigenous culture, mental health fields and the LGBTQIA+ community. As a result, players are immersed in an intimate and compelling story that once again demonstrates the importance of representing diverse characters in a serious way. In fact, Tell Me Why won the “Authentic Representation Award” and “Best LGBTQ Character” categories at the 2021 Gayming Awards.
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