What Remains of Edith Finch
by: Mike Kerry
The last game I played that caused a plethora of emotion to swell inside me was 2010’s Heavy Rain. Quantic Dream creates a tale that hit home in several areas and kept me engaged from start to finish. Many games have provided great stories since then but nothing as engaging has come my way. Until that is, What Remains of Edith Finch. This tale is the reason why I absolutely love games in this day and age. We are beyond the moving from left to right, jumping on the heads of bad guys, and working our way to the end game. There are so many unique experiences to be had in games now and this is one of them.
Death is something that can really make things weird. Some of us can grieve with no problem while others, like myself, keep the pain inside and try to avoid discussing it at all costs. What Remains of Edith Finch made me feel very squeamish because death is at the center of the whole experience. Why does this family suffer from untimely death? This is a very uncomfortable game to play through but very poetic as well. What does someone think about at the moment of their demise? It remains a mystery ultimately but the game softens the tragedy of this family in a way that makes someone want to discuss death.
As you explore the fanciful Finch home you find yourself enjoying the cold lonely feel. The sense of exploration is stronger because there is a desire to know what this home was like when it was full of life. There are family members of all ages with their own personality, perspectives, and beliefs. While some of the story scenarios are very clear with cause of death, mystery clings to the home until the ending credits. We find that matters of morbidity sometimes seem very strange and enigmatic. A fitting feel for a game where lives a snuffed out at every journal entry.
Edith is a great character because she talks about death. She may not understand everything about it but she isn’t afraid to look death in the eyes. We feel her longing to know what happened to her family and wonder of her own young life. Life is a beautiful thing. But death is what defines all of us. Even if it comes well before it’s time.