There is one universal thing that everyone on Earth can relate to: death. To say that death in games is something that is often misrepresented would be an understatement. Death is usually treated as a mechanic or a means to an end to us as players. But in real life here are no respawns, you lose experience points and there is nobody waiting around the corner to shoot you down. This is how a Mortician’s Tale deals with the subject, representing it in a way that is true, sobering and most of all, unique.
While the game is nothing more than a point and click adventure, the simplicity doesn’t take away from the its core idea and experience. Everything takes place on a day-to-day basis; as in-game morticians, we go to work, check our emails and then prepare a body. That’s it. It’s simple and effective. Reading through the emails is the start of us building a relationship with the dead, eventually leading to us having respect for them as we exhume the body and make sure it looks nice for the families during the funeral.
The real impact of the experience is when we talk to those family members. We get to learn about the deceased’s life just through some minor interactions with characters. It’s a sweet and numbing experience because the writing and relationships feel so sincere.
A Mortician’s Tale is a rather short game,
about as long as an episode of a TV show or a children’s movie. The message the game preaches is one that I already personally follow so most of the impact falls on deaf ears. Sure, there was an emotional response when hearing stories about the deceased but overall I felt numb to most of it. But that’s just me. There are a lot of other people out there who could definitely benefit from hearing the message that A Mortician’s Tale preaches : we all die, we deserve to be taken care of after life, and everyone should be more open minded about the subject of death and how it decays us.
This Hot Take is based on a Steam code for the game sent to SideQuesting by the publisher.