We Know The Devil

Posted on November 5, 2015 by Broken Joysticks

We Know the Devil?

Well, let’s start off with some warnings. This game hurts. It might not for you, but it hurt for me. You’ll probably look at one of the characters and before they even talk about themselves, think something about them. It’s very short, and plays in your browser. It’s a VN, more than anything else. I finished all three endings in a day, and it tore me apart.

This game is gonna make you feel things, if you let any of those characters be something you look at, and think “that’s me.” There are three “main characters” and your choices dictate the ending. As such, I had to play it through multiple times to be satisfied. On to agency, the game has a notably small amount of player agency; the only choices you make are which two characters are going to interact at each point in the game. You learn a lot about the characters that you choose to make interact, and it can be very heartwarming. It has queer characters.

I’m trying very hard to be vague, to avoid spoilers, because there’s a lot to be spoiled. This game hits hard, and then leaves you be to decide if you want another round. It has multiple endings, is fairly short, and immensely satisfying to finish. I’m at a loss as to what else can really be said about this game. It’s amazing. It’s got an engaging story, lovable characters, which are simultaneously hate-able. They’re real. They feel human. I wouldn’t be surprised if the creators sat down and wrote characters based on each other, because they feel so incredibly real.

Not going to play? Time to spoil it for you.

This game has a strong message about social culture and people not meaning harm but inadvertently harming through ignorance. However, the choices in game reflect the ones you might make in real life. It’s very much about “who do you want to hang out with”.

In that sense It reminds me of high school. It reminds me of situations where you have choices like two friends with one space at each table, and you can only sit with one.

Have you figured it out yet? Whoever gets left out is the devil.

We Know the Devil. Feeling anything yet?

“The Devil is weak, and humans are strong, and that is the way it always has been. Even a kid can kill the devil. All she has to do is try.”

The devil in this game is like a parasitic spirit. It preys on whichever one of the three is loneliest. Whichever was left alone the most. Ever felt lonely? Except, That’s not it. Super Spoilers time, there’s FOUR endings. I thought there were three. There are three characters, after all, but a friend clued me in.  There’s a fourth ending, and I don’t like it. Whoops, the math works out that you can never keep them even, someone always gets left out. And I really thought that was cool. But after you get “all three” endings, a fourth unlocks. One of the decisions changes so that you can leave nobody out.

There are seven choices in the game, and one of them changes to have a fourth option to leave nobody out. This plus three on either side allow you to keep everyone involved. There’s something wonderful to say here, which is what I liked so much about the first three endings. That it takes so much time to really know someone, and you can only really know a few people. It’s also really hard to involve everyone, when everyone only has so much time to spare. The game emphasizes that there is only so much energy with which to socialize.

This isn’t what the game’s trying to say, though. The writers are trying to make a different point. Which I’ve kind of been dancing around, because I’m aromantic. That’s right; you can pair up any two of the three characters in a kind of relationship. It doesn’t feel like one to me, but since I don’t do relationships anyway, I’m not sure what this would feel like. The trick is, they’re trying to point out that three people can have a relationship just as well as two. But you know what? I didn’t care. I didn’t want any of them to be together. They were such good friends. They didn’t have to be more.

I bet many will call the final ending the “true ending” and that’s probably fair. The characters were probably designed to be together. But the individual endings were much more meaningful to me. I felt so much more emotion in the first three. Maybe it’s because I replayed it three times, but that seems a rather empty justification. The final ending is entirely disparate from the rest of the game. It has a lot of fantastical stuff. The Devil setting you free because he’s the one who actually cares about including people felt wrong. But the character’s felt much more distant from each other in the final ending, the three sides of the triangle were much less strong than the two way connection when a third was excluded.

They imply the ending is about creating a safe haven from this exclusion thing, and it implies a lot of getting rid of social pressures, hinting at peer pressure, bullying, and the rest being abolished in this pseudo-heaven they imply the devil bringing to these three people. There’s symbolism about not hating their bodies anymore, plying towards trans narratives. But it just felt really empty to me. Maybe because I couldn’t get behind the ending where they’re suddenly in a three way relationship, but mostly because it felt like they didn’t really know each other.

Queer Story The Devil VN We Know The Devil WKTD



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