Let’s talk about Virginia. Boy oh boy let’s talk about Virginia. The premiere game by Variable State, a cinematic mystery adventure game with heavy X-Files influences. Virginia does a lot of things I like. Impressive art style, narrative without dialogue, an incredible score performed by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. Everything I saw about Virginia made me think I was gonna love it. Unfortunately, I very much didn’t love it.
Virginia is a game that wears its mystique with pride. It builds the player up with its strange symbolism and and unanswered questions, and then it doesn’t deliver on any of it. The movie style hard cuts between scenes are interesting to begin with, but become tiresome quickly as you come to realise that they’re being used to hide the lack of a legible plot thread. Virginia is a game that’s so preoccupied showing you how clever it is, that it fails to do anything with that cleverness. It’s a game that thinks it’s smarter than you and then makes fun of you for not “getting it”. Analysing a story in order to understand depth or symbolism is fine, I would consider it one of the most important parts of media. Virginia isn’t a story that is enriched by analysis. It’s a story that can only even be understood through analysis. That lack of anything interesting without analysis actively dissuades people from bothering to analyse. Virginia sets itself up with so much potential and then just does nothing with it.