Before Your Eyes Forced me to Look at the Present Rather Than the Future
Back in April, I asked a prominent games journalist what indie title they would recommend for me. That title ended up being, “Before Your Eyes,” by GoodbyeWorld Games and I still think about it. What makes “Before Your Eyes” unique is because of its control method — the player’s eyes.
In “Before Your Eyes” the player finds themself playing as a recently deceased soul on a boat in the afterlife, unable to speak or make simple gestures. The only way you are able to communicate with the foreman helming the boat is by blinking. The player is then told they are being brought to the Gatekeeper for judgment and they will need to reexperience their life before their death. However, there is a catch, the player will only be experiencing short specific moments of their life. When the player blinks, they will be moved forward into another moment of their life, that next moment they could find themselves in could be 10 seconds or 10 years from the previous one.
The game’s core mechanic seems simple. But the developers and writers behind this game utilize it so well that, by the end of the game, I found myself straining to keep my eyes open while a waterfall of tears was streaming from my eyes. GoodbyeWorld Games took the trope of “life flashing before your eyes,” and asked how they could make a game out of it.
The player finds themselves whisked into the life of Benjamin Brynn and will experience his life from childhood to old age. As the player blinks, Benjamin’s highest points in life, as well as his lows, will come flashing on the screen at a rapid pace. One moment the player could be experiencing a lovely date with the love of Benjamin’s life, before being flung into a heart-rending moment: the death of Benjamin’s mother. Sometimes, that’s just how things work in life.
For me, this game came at a perfect time. With the COVID-19 pandemic running rampant, I was constantly hitting some of the lowest points of my life. I hated the life I was living. I lost a lot of the momentum I gained after my study abroad experience, and I wanted to escape to the future, away from the present. I know it sounds cliche, but before playing “Before Your Eyes,” I was in a rush to move on, but I never took time to slow down and think about the present. Don’t get me wrong, this past year has been filled with disappointment, dread, loneliness, and countless lost opportunities, but I learned that I need to enjoy these moments I have right now.
I don’t want to spoil too much, but the way this game concludes will probably change how you view the time you spend. I know it did for me. If I had a tip to players looking to dive into this game, get a bottle of tissues and water for hydration. You are going to need it.
Below you can find the game’s trailer. Here is the link to the game’s steam page.