I almost escaped Three Fourths Home without crying. I played through the main story and enjoyed it well enough and thought, “yeah, I think I got my money’s worth.” Then I played the epilogue. And then it destroyed me.
Three Fourths Home is a simple game – the Walking Simulator of all walking simulators. You’re a girl named Kelly who is driving home when a storm hits, and your mom calls you. You push the drive button and move through the dialogue options. If you stop driving, the whole world pauses, and you can’t continue the conversation until you start again. That’s it. That’s the game.
At least, that’s the main game. You spend your time speaking with the different members of your family, shaping your relationships with them in ways so subtle that you don’t even realize it until it’s too late. Usually when games change direction based on your dialogue choices, a handy image pops up that informs you that the character you are speaking to Will Remember That. In an environment where you think you know just what to say, it’s a little frightening to not know the consequences of the words you speak until you see someone else’s playthrough go so differently from yours.
But as a fan of story-based games, I was happy with my experience and was looking forward to wrapping it up during the epilogue, which follows the same idea as the main game, except instead of driving, you are now waiting for the bus. You can stand still or walk in either direction, but the gameplay still lies in the conversation you have with your mother, should you decide to call her. From here, I cannot pretend to be objective.
Three Fourths Home’s epilogue is brutal. The meta-conversation that occurs between you and your mother was bewilderingly personal. They fight about about not just the words that made your relationship fail, but the blatant resentment and pain that has sat stagnant ever since. As Kelly, I spent so much time assuming I knew just what to say. I swore I could predict exactly what my in-game mother would reply back to me. I thought I was in control.
It’s probably just me and where I’m at in my life, but this shook me deeper than I thought it would. Why do we hold back when we need help? When do our parents become people to us, and at what point do we become pillars for them to lean on? I’m only 22 years old and have no idea what I’m doing. I hope to know the answers to Three Fourths Home’s questions someday but it won’t be soon. Until then, I will ugly cry and call my mom. She always knows just what to say.