The Short But Chilling 'Captain Spirit' Weaponizes Empathy Against You


#1

Warning: Spoilers for The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. If you’re looking for a recommendation on whether it’s worth playing, don’t hesitate. It’s a touching, agonizing story about a father and son. We should get excited for Life Is Strange 2.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/7xmnbq/the-short-but-chilling-captain-spirit-weaponizes-empathy-against-you

#2

Great write-up Patrick, and thanks for pointing me to the excellent piece by Holly Green. Captain Spirit was a real motherfucker of a game, and I was definitely not ready for what it wished to present. When the neighbor came by I just wanted to push Chris into her arms and have her take him to a better place, and then to be confronted with the terror of having his dad overhear the conversation. Simply devastating. And then to have Chris be blamed for his mom’s death. Holy shit LiS is going places. I equally dread and desire the new season.


#3

I wasn’t planning on playing this, there’s too many one dimensional representations of single parents in media already. But the way that Patrick and Holly Green write about this game, I want to have my heart broken into a hundred pieces over the game.


#4

Thanks for writing the article. I was interested in LiS 2, enjoyed the first one, BTS didn’t really keep my interest, however I think I’m going to have to pass on it, for my own mental health.

As a father to a six year old son, I share some of the same fears that Patrick describes. However, when combined with the abuse theme, that hits too close to home as I’ve experienced significant abuse from my parents for most of my life. Those themes are certainly worthy to be explored in a game, I just don’t know if I’m ready to explore them in this manner.


#5

Haven’t played it yet and haven’t read the article either. Is anyone else planning to (try to) avoid spoilers for this game so we can play it closer to LIS2’s release date?


#6

Thankfully I’ve never experienced this and it probably is why I couldn’t see it for what it clearly was (I’m also not a parent). Chris’ father is dealing badly with his loss and needs help, but I just wanted that lady to get the hell out of my face and stop being so incredibly nosy.

Definitely let out an audible gasp when the board broke. Another compelling start.


#7

I don’t know if enough people have gone off to find Chris’ buried treasure. This whole game was already super sad and I could see immediately how bad this situation was. Even while Chris is happily playing superheroes I couldn’t get over how utterly alone this kid is. I didn’t feel that experience of wasting away a Saturday with toys, more like I was desperately making up stories to avoid facing my father. (I was too scared to bother him or play around him since I know where the bruises came from.)

Then I found Chris’ treasure and I broke. It’s so fucking sad… Goddamnit. Then you realize why his villain is called “Mantroid” and all the guilt and anger Chris is hiding inside him.


#8

Had the same reaction as Patrick described but for a different reason. This game hit home HARD. Haven’t lived with my emotionally abusive alcoholic dad in 8 years, haven’t talked to him in a year and a half, but fifteen minutes into this game and I’m a kid again. Gave one word answers when given a chance, hoped he’d forget about asking the kid for another beer if I kept delaying it long enough. Oof.

I sorta triggered the ending by accident, and I feel like I’ve only explored about a quarter of the game, so I want to go back. But I’ll probably wait a bit before I do.


#9

This game got so under my skin, I was engaging in my instinctual behavior of defending my abusers.

It was a lot folks.


#10

Man, this response is too real, [CW alcoholism] having been in those situations in real life, when games like this and Three Fourths Home present the notion of addressing a parent’s alcoholism my brain instinctually wants to select the option that dances around it and I literally can’t fathom taking the other route, even in a video game.

This game really got me and it seemed to show some growth in certain areas from the original LiS. I’d be curious to see DONTNOD do a game that was just a series of vignettes like this in small locations that maybe tied together in some kind of larger plot.

Also I really appreciated this critique from Patrick. It’s interesting to get the perspective of a father from a writer I respect, especially in games that I resonate with so much as a son.