Gamer Mom


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Rating: 4.4/5 (140 votes)
| Comments (22) | Views (150)

JeremyGamer MomMany great browser games lack a thought-provoking or even coherent story, and you sort of shrug your shoulders and overlook it because everything else works so well. But then an interactive fiction game like Gamer Mom, by Mordechai Buckman and Kyler Kelly, comes along and you see what you've been missing all this time.

The goal of the game is to bring your family closer together by convincing them to play World of Warcraft with you. But it won't be easy; your daughter hates you and only wants to text on her cellphone all day and your husband is a workaholic who doesn't want to spend anytime as a family. Each scene gives you a few dialog options to try and every choice takes you down different avenues that will surprise you with each replay. The most interesting aspect of Gamer Mom is the way the Mom character reflects back on you. You can't help but think of yourself when you're making choices. Your first reaction will likely fit your personality type, whether it's a cautious "wait and see" or a go-in-with-all-guns-blazing approach, and the realization can be startling or even uncomfortable at first. Buckman is clearly a close observer of people's personalities and, while many similar games give you interesting choices to pursue, few are so perceptive and well thought out as this one.

Gamer Mom is also quite hard and it will seem that it's some kind of postmodern, everything-is-relative game at first, but it isn't. There is a clear path to get your family to spend time together, but the game doesn't end there and you might be surprised at what happens next. Gamer Mom is a short, but lasting, experience that manages to be sad, poignant, and even funny... just like real life.

Play Gamer Mom

Walkthrough Guide


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Gamer Mom walthrough

  1. Choose "I think it might be safe to ask".

  2. Go all in.

  3. Present the vision.

  4. Don't slow down!

  5. Click on any descriptive word.

  6. We'll start on Thursday.

  7. And then get the hell out of there.

No matter what you do to keep your husband from answering his phone and leaving the game, it won't work...it's supposed to end this way, as far as I can tell.

22 Comments

trepiechick Author Profile Page May 29, 2012 5:24 PM

This hits pretty close to home since this is essentially my family; everyone does their own thing. If we didn't have some of the same interests I don't think we'd even speak to each other lol.

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Since I don't play WoW, I related more to the others and lost interest.

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Here's my two cents (text heavy)

I think that one message of the game lies in exploring the idea of the mother's delusion of the ability of a game to bring her family back together. The delusion serves, in terms of narrative, to highlight a person's overwhelming desire to grasp at unattainable ideals.

Each scenario, bar one, ends in either her staying and feeling dejected, or leaving to play. It's important to note that even after a dozen failures, the player is left with the thought that "there must be a winning path," because games usually narrate in such a way that this path is the one that leads to the ending in which the character achieves their goals, and as a result everything ends happily ever after. The player chases that path, trying to find a solution to the problem, when in reality, there isn't one. The "Good" end proves this when, even after the mom manages to get her family together to play the game, they still aren't family. "Win" or lose, The father is still alienated by mom's overbearing eagerness for the game, and altogether too distracted by work. The daughter never cares in any case, wrapped up in her own little world. This is further underlined by the father never gaining interest in the game, and the daughter maintaining her detached attitude, waiting by the door for it to be over. The only thing that the mother gains from achieving her goals is perhaps realizing that her favorite activity simply will not bring the drifting members of the family back together. What makes this narrative so special is not that there is no winning solution; that much has been done before. What sets this apart is the fact that the "best" solution is obscure enough that the player will likely exhaust many paths before coming across it, as I did, and it just makes the realization that much more powerful. It tells both the character and the player, in direct contrast to the opening button, "...it might just fix everything!" that, in fact, it fixes nothing, and that you will fix nothing no matter which path you take. The game even seems to take this one step further by inferring that some problems will arise in which there is no correct answer, and that no matter how hard you try, some degree of failure is inevitable, that the ideals presented or suggested by any piece of fiction cannot and do not exist in real life, and trying to attain them is futile.

Man, now I'm all depressed. Curse you, Analysis!

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There is one more ending that is kind of 'good'.

  1. As soon as that button appears click Engage them in chitchat.

  2. Keep clicking School until it disappears.

  3. Click Engage them in chitchat again. This time keep clicking Work until that button disappears too.

  4. Click I think it might be safe to ask and then I'll just ask.

  5. Choose to Be subtle and click They need more fun.

  6. Choose to Give up.

  7. Click He's interested twice. Then Set up the game just once.

  8. Click the Heart twice (until it disappears). Click Set up the game once more and click the Heart to end the game.

Also of interest is the fact that the game's source code is public. The code itself is of course full of spoilers, so don't read it before playing the game.

However, it also has large comment texts on the author's views of the game and how it fits with his personal life. Some people might be interested to read that.

Link to the source code:

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hikari no sakura Author Profile Page May 30, 2012 8:58 AM

I once thought of getting my parents to understand games, but stopped at... around "Chapter 2".

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Carny Asada Author Profile Page May 30, 2012 2:09 PM

Wow, the creator's comments in the source code are sort of ... depressing. I suppose these could be MILDLY spoilery comments, even though they do not address game strategy, only content:

It's hard to tell, at first, whether his obsession with Zelda and inability to connect with his classmates who are interested in real life is metacommentary on the game or completely unironic. Some of his observations could be the result of extreme geekiness or a parody of it.

Then the description of his disastrous attempt at dating so exactly follows the "Crap Email from a Dude" scenario that is often presented on Jezebel that I start leaning toward the idea that these source code comments are an extension of the game itself, further drawing out the idea of how constant Internet access shapes and warps our relationships with other people.

In any case, it's made me decide to turn off my computer and go outside for a while.

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Aww the game is so hard. i can convince only the girl but the father is too evil. if i was the woman, i will leave him and live on the street until he feels guilty. For real, best way to deal with problems is the extreme one.

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beatricekiddo Author Profile Page May 30, 2012 3:12 PM

I can't get this game to load on my comp!! I have XP so if I use IE it tells me I need IE8 or higher. And with Firefox (version 12) I'm just stuck at this white and brown screen and it doesn't seem to move beyond that. Any idea why this is happening?

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The game requires Javascript. Make sure you don't have anything configured on your browser that would prevent or disable Javascript. The game loads and runs perfectly for me in Firefox 12.

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I love how intense these IF games can be, but this one is especially hard for me, simply because this scenario literally played out in my family, WoW and all. I'm a gamer who had previously avoided WoW, but otherwise I'm a good mix of the daughter and the husband. Our story ended a bit differently - I played, and I enjoyed it while it lasted, but it didn't fix anything. When I quit (and even while I played), everything was just as bad as before.

The thing is, this game takes a snapshot of a problem that has been developing in its characters' lives for years. And that problem has a lot to do with who the mother is, as well as her expectations and resistance to change. It's impossible not to empathize with the lonely mother. But it's almost certainly too late to fix what's been broken, and I'm afraid it's only going to get worse.

Either way, thanks for the replay. It's nice to know someone ruminates on these emotions and ideas thoroughly enough to encapsulate them in a game.

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Ohh Mantus

So many truths

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I kept waiting for the mom to drop the shenanigans and discuss the real issue: the obvious lack of meaningful family relationships.

But nope, as far as I could tell the game was only focused on playing WoW.

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beatricekiddo Author Profile Page May 31, 2012 2:55 AM

Thanks Jay! I installed the latest Java version and that got the game running!

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You're welcome, but I'm not sure why installing Java would have had any impact on running this game. Don't confuse Java with Javascript, two entirely different technologies. The only thing they share is the first 4 characters of their names.

Oh well, as long as you've got it working now.

*scratches head, shrugs shoulders*

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Oh, I had the same problem of the game not loading. For me, simply refreshing the screen did the trick.

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I'm using Firefox 10.0.2 on Windows 7, and I had the same problem as beatricekiddo. Reloading did nothing, but playing it on the developer's site worked first time.

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You need to disable browser extensions when playing games here. The game is exactly the same as what's on the developer's site, so it must be a configuration setting or script blocker you have in place that's preventing it from loading.

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wolfgangmcdohl Author Profile Page June 29, 2012 1:22 AM

I've seen many endings, it's a really fun little game.

Some of the Endings and things noticed below...

Have you managed to get a kiss in? Try just socializing, then say they need more fun. Click He's Interested! and the heart twice, enjoy!

Have you sneakily played a hit and run play, and managed to get a session of the game only to be interrupted by the phone? This one's been explained already in the walk-through.

Have you tried the guilt options, and trying the what about me conversations, or the family branches?

I haven't gotten the daughter to play with mom. I've tried a lot of different playthroughs focusing on this, is it possible, and how?

Also is there a another close or kinda good ending like the interrupting phone ending?

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This game has to have a best ending, it promises as much, and I want to see it. But it seems buried under 6 feet of choices. Sigh...

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CandyCorn Author Profile Page October 8, 2012 1:55 AM

This is so hard. I've been playing for almost an hour and I can't get (what I consider) a good ending, which bothers me as I don't feel like I have completely "finished it". I feel that I have come close a couple of times but when I play again, I can't seem to find the place where I might have gone wrong... But overall, I do really like this game. I hope someone can find the "best" ending, and share it with us to help provide some peace of mind and sense of completion.

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CatzCradle Author Profile Page June 25, 2013 3:29 AM

I think Anti's walkthrough should be considered the official one instead of the one currently linked since at least it's happier and you're somewhat more successful.

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