By Annie Gallagher / November 5th, 2014
Warning: The content present in this game, and some of what is shown in this review may disturb some readers. Needless to say, this may be NSFW.
|Title||My Name Is Addiction|
|Developer||Cleril Calamity Studios|
|Publisher||Cleril Calamity Studios|
|Release Date||August 6th 2014|
|Genre||Visual Novel, Horror|
|Age Rating||N/A (Would likely be AO if rated).|
To say that My Name Is Addiction is a weird game would be a severe understatement. Its premise alone should already give that away. It is a psychological horror visual novel with pornography addiction as its central theme. It is quite possibly one of the most disturbing video games ever made as well. Despite its premise, there is no pornographic content in the game, and there is very little blood. The game is simply disturbing based on its presentation and atmosphere alone. The only remaining question is whether or not there is any substance to this game’s disturbing content.
Seeing as how My Name Is Addiction is a visual novel, it should be expected that there will not be much interaction. The gameplay basically comes down to reading and occasionally making a choice that will affect the story. You can save your game at any point and can resume at exactly the same spot you saved at. You also have the option to skip text between your current position and the next decision, a feature that makes subsequent playthroughs more convenient. You also have the option to rewind text, but you have a limit on how much you can rewind for some odd reason.
One thing that I picked up quickly while playing My Name Is Addiction is that it has a very dreamlike and abstract atmosphere to it. One aspect that exemplifies said abstraction is the fact that your main character does not even know his name. As you go through the game, your character’s name will be different depending on the scene and there are never any hints given towards his actual name. Rather than being a result of an amnesia plot device, the naming scheme seems like an attempt to be symbolic. My personal interpretation may be that it is a result of the main character becoming so critical of himself that he does not know who or what he is anymore. While I cannot confirm a definite meaning, it does show that My Name Is Addiction relies a lot on subtlety, something that is missing in a lot of modern games.
The art style is done in a very surreal and often frightening looking watercolor format. This is a nice change of pace from the usual anime art style of most visual novels and it lends itself to the game very well. Another rather unique aspect of My Name Is Addiction is that there are no character portraits and very few images of actual in-game locations. Instead of that, there are still images that seem to be symbolic representations of the game’s current situation. While these images do not tell much of a story on their own, they work very well when mixed with the game’s writing and atmosphere.
While there is a rather small amount of blood or sexual content in My Name Is Addiction, what little is shown is outright horrifying. For example, the psychological manifestation of the main character’s addiction is actually given a physical form, and it looks incredibly creepy. I would go into the artwork more, but I honestly feel as though doing so would spoil the experience. I will just say that the visuals are artistically brilliant and are a large part of what make My Name Is Addiction as disturbing as it is.
The audio is absolutely superb as well. The music plays a great role in creating a very uncomfortable and unnerving atmosphere. Songs tend to range from the typical creepy ambient tracks, to those that become uncomfortable through other means such as jarring and out of place vocals. The music in My Name Is Addiction manages to make itself disconcerting to hear yet not annoying, which is certainly a difficult balance to achieve.
The general theme of this game is pornography addiction, a subject that is not often touched upon in a lot of media, let alone games. As a result, My Name Is Addiction already has quite a bit going for it due to its premise alone. While there may be a few that would question how something like pornography could be played for horror, those people would likely change their minds after witnessing enough of what rule 34 has to offer. That may have sounded like a joke but there is quite a bit of truth to it. In fact, My Name Is Addiction does make it clear that there is nothing normal about searching for increasingly more depraved things and seeing them… well, I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.
While this content is (thankfully) not shown in game, it is still effective in painting a vivid picture of just what it is like having an irresistible impulse to look up increasingly more disgusting material. My Name Is Addiction shows us how our own sexuality can be one of our most disturbing features. This is made even more effective considering how jarring it is to have extreme sexual material in something that tries to be realistic. Despite this, the game never really takes a stance against the porn industry in general. The only real antagonist of the game is the addiction itself, and the game does a great job at representing how powerful said addiction really is.
That is not to say that addiction is the only theme that is touched upon though. In fact, My Name Is Addiction ends up with a whole host of controversial themes that one can almost never expect to see in a mainstream title. One particular recurring aspect is the role that gender and sexuality serve in both nature and society. The conclusion that our main character reaches can be widely different based on what choices are made. In some endings, the main character may be helped through his addiction by finding true love. In other, more cynical endings, the main character may end up losing his ability to view women as anything other than sex objects. It is also worth mentioning that there is a bit of an anti-feminist slant to this game at some points. Given the context of the story, it makes sense as to why these themes are present, but I am just bringing this up seeing as how it may influence one’s opinion on the game.
If there was one complaint I had to make about My Name Is Addiction, it would be that it sometimes feels like it is trying too hard to disturb you. One can easily get this impression given the game’s surreal imagery and bizarre sexual tone. However, My Name Is Addiction is so aggressive in its approach that it feels disturbing even in scenes that are not intended to be so. Also the subject matter itself could potentially result in a game that ends up unintentionally funny if one is desensitized enough.
Despite the fact that I was not a fan of Depression Quest or Gone Home, I was never in the same camp that dismissed those two on the basis of not being games. I bring this up because My Name Is Addiction and Depression Quest are similar in a lot of ways. Both games are short, minimalistic visual novels meant to show what it is like dealing with a mental illness. The key thing that My Name Is Addiction does differently (aside from having much better presentation) is that it pulls no punches when trying to portray a pornography addiction. Depression Quest simply presented clinical depression as it appears on the surface level, while My Name Is Addiction focused on how addiction is on a psychological level. The key point is that My Name Is Addiction takes creative liberties and does not try to be too literal. It is basically because of games like My Name Is Addiction and Broken Hearted: a 9/11 Story that I feel this approach can have good results. Yes it is true that neither of these had to have been done as games, but art is art regardless of what form it takes. Both of those games are ones I can recommend even if you did not like Depression Quest or Gone Home, and if you did like those games then these are practically must plays.
My Name Is Addiction is a game that I can easily recommend to anyone who is fascinated by disturbing or depressing games. The surreal atmosphere, disturbing subject matter, and the dark and controversial themes all create an experience that is unlike any game you will find from most AAA developers. I should mention that this game is still on Steam Greenlight and has not been greenlit yet. The version that will be available on Steam will supposedly have added content and will have fixed the typos in the current version, with the catch that it will cost $5.00. My Name Is Addiction is about 1 hour long the first time through, and I would estimate that it would take only a few more to find all 7 endings. Given that the game is available for free, there is not much of a reason to ignore My Name Is Addiction unless its content is just too much for you.
Review is based on the free to play version available on Gamejolt.com.
addiction.Cleril Calamity Studioshorror visual novelMy Name Is Addictionpornagraphy addictionpsychological horrorRen'PySteamSteam Greenlightvisual novel