I didn’t want to make a habit of using song lyrics as my titles but it felt fitting as it feautres on the Life is Strange soundtrack, I am discussing the role of music in the game, and also it is my last blog post to everyone!
I found one of the most enjoyable elements of Life is Strange is how perfectly the soundtrack complements the game. It plays an integral role in helping us form attachments to the characters, world, and story of LiS despite a relatively short playtime. I sometimes have an issue with game soundtracks with as intense a plot as LiS when it overwhelms or detracts from a story rather than moving along and supporting the gameplay. In LiS the music is often combined with prolonged cinematic cutscenes or in places where Max can sit or lay about in an area for as long as the player wishes to. In doing so I found the emotional involvement of the scenes increase. It creates a immersive or reflective moment, providing time to pause in Max’s life, particularly when the game becomes overwhleming. I think this is most pertinent in Max’s interactions with Chloe where extended cut scenes, day-to-day scenes of life, and the soundtrack work together to strengthen the connection between Max and Chloe. The pair have a pre-existing connection (albeit one that needs repairing) but the player does not instantly feel this connection so somehow the game needs to make us feel emotionally invested in them as individuals and as a duo (and quickly) which it does so using the soundtrack.
The question of whether their friendship is a healthy or toxic representation of female friendship is a difficult one to answer. The context of their friendship is fractious due to the prolonged absence of Max, but their genuine support and dedication to eachother in the end shows real growth and portrays both as emotionally complex characters. Roxane Gay was mentioned in class in relation to this topic so I thought I would add in one of her quotes on female frienships:
“Abandon the cultural myth that all female friendships must be bitchy, toxic or competitive. This myth is like heels and purses – pretty, but designed to SLOW women down.”
When thinking about LiS in the context of this quote I believe Max and Chloe’s relationship is an OK representation of a female friendship. The basis of their friendship is neither competition nor toxicity. To have a healthy female friendship it doesn’t need to be smooth sailing the whole time. At points it is necessary for there to be friction between Chloe and Max as they have an extensive history and need to learn what form their relationship is going to take in light of how eachother has changed. Where I do take issue in their relationship is how codependent the pair become so quickly, something that feels a little overdone or dramatized in teen/young adult friendships portrayed in wider media in general. Additionally, having Victoria play the stereotypical mean girl felt a little Regina George-esque but I understand they needed a foil for Max that was easily identifiable and relatable within a school context.
Mental Health Discussion
I just wanted to add that I really appreciated the constructive and open discussion we had in class surrounding mental health. I think the game, and again this was picked up on in class, really emphasized the importance of checking in on people and how small actions can influence those around us in both negative and positive ways. The game was definitely a change to the style I am used to playing and it was a very heavy/emotional plot at times but I will always be on board with a game that encourages empathy and practising kindness.
~I have really enjoyed reading all the blog posts everyone has written throughout the term, I am going to miss having weekly comic-related discussions! I hope the end of the term goes smoothly for all 🙂 ~