This video game is a startling, brilliant approach to personal narrative

In the online video game “Freshman Year,” users take on the role of the game’s creator, Nina Freeman. They read texts from her friend Jen as they arrive, and they decide when to go to the bar, how long to dance, and when to worry about where Jen is. It’s a game that’s instantly relatable in its realism, but also in the feelings of fear and anxiety it creates.

“I like to tell stories I have complicated feelings about,” Freeman, an artist and game designer, told me. “This is a story that felt complicated and weird to me. How do I express it in a distilled way?”

Freeman’s “Freshman Year” is worth playing not only because it’s an entertaining and interesting path through one woman’s night, but because it forces the player to feel empathy.

The premise of the game is a night out with Nina’s friend Jen. Playing as Nina, you have many choices

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