Patrick

by Michael Lutz (Twine; IFDB; play here)

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(Cover art: close-up of a person’s smile, with game title underneath)

Patrick is a short, mostly linear game about being mistaken for someone else. It’s not just about people calling you by the wrong name. It’s about strangers clapping you on the back and saying how glad they are to find someone from their frat; about waiters giving you ‘your usual’; about lovers whispering a familiar yet strange name in your ear.

While not as dark as my father’s long, long legs, Patrick once again showcases Lutz’s gift of making every day events subtly disturbing, bringing out the way in which a mistaken identity can be a violation of something intimate. Your alter ego seems to more a parasitic twin than a person. He is forever disrupting your life, even in your most private moments, and your life and his are pressed up against each other skin-close.

The events are uncanny, yet the narrator treats them as everyday (which, for him, probably is). In the end, it is the narrator’s tone which moves the story from surreal horror to the benignly surreal: it is matter of fact, self-aware, even joking.

Lutz does a great job of sketching vignettes of these scenes of mistaken identity, using a few details here and there to instil a sense of unease.

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