Parents' Guide to

SEASON: A Letter to the Future

By Angelica Guarino, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Apocalypse tale asks complex questions about memory, death.

In the product image of SEASON: a letter to the future, the game's protagonist - Estelle - is seen riding a bike through a meadow.

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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Is It Any Good?

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On the surface, this is a well-designed piece of interactive fiction. SEASON: A Letter to the Future has pretty environments, simple controls, and a pretty linear storyline. Players looking for a meditative adventure with compelling music and entertaining writing will find what they want from this game. But many may play through it and have an enjoyable time while completely missing what makes SEASON a unique and memorable experience. The key to what makes it work so well is its narrative ambiguity. Estelle has taken on the mission of documenting the world, not making judgments about it. SEASON manages to make that work not only within the story, but also to help define Estelle's relationship with the player. Estelle doesn't describe anyone as "good" or "evil," and she doesn't believe she has the authority to label anyone else's actions as right or wrong. As a result, there are many different interpretations of what players could decide is the answer to one or all of the game's questions about memory, identity, death, or war.

In some stories, this lack of clarity could be seen as careless or incomplete, but SEASON makes it feel intentional and rewarding by giving players the time and space to consider all of the options. Though Estelle is supposed to take only twelve hours to explore the Tieng Valley, the game doesn't actually have a time limit. That, mixed with the transitions between locations where Estelle rides her bike to the next documentable area, makes an effective space where players can mull over what they've just seen and heard. Overall, though it could take some guidance from an adult, SEASON may be a fantastic title for teens starting to form their own opinions about morality and politics. Because it gives players a chance to develop or exercise critical thinking skills, this game invites them into a safe space to make their own decisions about what's happening and what it all means. That's freeing and empowering not just for teenagers, but for adults too.

Game Details

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