An old man in Northern Spain claims to have a direct line to the divine, and you’re off to see if he’s legit., a free short story from the creators of and , is a wonderfully intimate conversation with a distracted old man and – if you’re lucky – the cosmic supernatural entity on the other side of his short-wave radio.
Framed as an interview with this distracted messenger, The Whisperer uses a kind of Chatbot interface to let you ask the old man anything you want about his machine, his life, and the divine on the other end of the phone. At the side are your notes, occasionally prompting you to dig deeper into various topics.
What’s the deal with these recurring dreams, for instance. Who’s this Dolores lass he’s always on about, and what, exactly, can he tell you about God?
To be a bit navel-gazey, The Whisperer had me thinking a lot about my own 2019 game Can Androids Pray. An unintentional response to a line (occasional RPS contributor) Xalavier Nelson Jr penned for it that asks whether God hears circuits or simply “drowns out the buzzing”. Deconstructeam posit that not only can they hear them, but that these cobbled-together wavelengths are the only way for us to communicate with the divine – and that God may be somewhat underwhelming, all things considered.
It’s just a shame, really, that the whole chatbot angle falls apart faster than I’d like. There’s a shocking wealth of conversation to be had with the old man – and for a time, I felt like even the misunderstandings played off well as odd diversions from a strange man. It’s a limitation the game even recognises, with a third character stating at the outset that poor Manuel isn’t too great at holding a conversation. But after a while, the same stubs came back over and over, and I found myself wishing for the predictable simplicity of a conversation tree.
Pick the right words, though, and you can untangle a loving, quiet conversation with a doting old man who happened to pick up God’s phone number. Interview With The Whisperer is free to download over on.