Pregnancy, an interactive drama by developer Locomotivah, puts the player in a position of power and trust. You play as a young girl’s conscience and guide her through the myriad of emotions she is feeling. The “game’s” protagonist, Lilla, is only 14, she likes make-up, music and boys, but she’s hiding a secret.
Lilla was raped by an older, drunken man and has fallen pregnant. This realisation has triggered something within her; a voice inside her head that can help her make sense of the situation. You’ll play as Lilla’s conscience and be a voice of reason amidst the uncertainty. Whenever she has a choice to make you can help point her in the direction of your choosing. She needs to decide whether or not to tell her family, friends and psychologist that she is pregnant, and you will be instrumental in shaping those decisions.
Dialogue switches between Lilla’s conversations with her conscience, her family, and herself. At various points the player will get to chime in and give their opinions by choosing from a number of pre-selected options. Whether it’s making fun of Lilla’s taste in music, or helping her choose between life or abortion for her potential child, you will be there with her
Pregnancy‘s dialogue can, at times, be touching, and portrays strongly the uncertainty and pain that a young girl in such a horrible situation may feel. Locomotivah clearly have a knack for creating believable and likable characters. No matter which path you choose to guide Lilla down, it will be because you think it is best for her and her family.
The dialogue isn’t perfect though. It is quite clear that Pregnancy wasn’t scripted by a native English speaker, and we often found ourselves re-reading certain slides to gain clarity on what the writer actually meant. The writing can also come off as a little trite, and perhaps childish, even for a 14-year-old. Although these issues are a little jarring they don’t detract too much from what is otherwise an immersive interactive drama.
Pregnancy is brief, at around 20 minutes long, but it asks some very difficult questions in that short runtime, and as a (reasonably) young man I have never had to think about some of the issues posed by it. Giving birth to a baby conceived through rape or having an abortion could both be life-altering events, that could not only damage the physical but the psychological as well. So it’s worth taking pause for a moment to think how it would feel to be in such a situation.
After the closing credits have rolled you are given a run-down of the various paths you guided Lilla down, as well as a percentage split that portrays the decisions made by other people. If you weren’t already sure of which side of the fence you fell on, Pregnancy shows whether you made more pro-life or pro-choice decisions. Somewhat confusingly, Lilla’s ultimate decision will be the direct opposite of the options you have chosen though, making your interaction feel like it didn’t have much of an impact.
Pregnancy is uncomfortable to “play”, but that’s a good thing. As gamers we are, more often than not, taking part in a fantasy, rather than being grounded in reality. Despite some dialogue issues and a seeming lack of impact from your choices, we must applaud Locomotivah’s efforts. Lilla’s story is approached with respect and sensitivity, and while it certainly isn’t going to change any preconceived ideas you may have about abortion it might prompt you to explore why you feel the way that you do.
Pregnancy is available to purchase from Desura.