Fragments of Him by Sassybot Studio is the perfect picture of melancholy encapsulated. It is loss and mourning with a side of loneliness. The game hits on multiple aspects of the experience of grieving a loved one in a way that is deep, meaningful, and relatable to anyone who has lost someone near and dear to them.  

Bringing to light how everyone grieves in their own way, the game gives voice to three different characters, all close family and friends of the young man, Will, who passed away due to an untimely car accident. Although three people have lost the same loved one, each have their own way of coping. Each is haunted by their own specific memories of Will after he dies. As Will’s grandmother says in-game, “I have so many little memories making up our lives together. It’s odd which sticks with you though.” Will’s ex-girlfriend recalls nervously moving decor back and forth in her room before he came over to visit for the first time. Will’s current boyfriend, Harry, fondly thinks on all the walks he and Will took to feed the ducks. The three characters treasure these small moments and use these recollections as stepping stones towards a better day.

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Fragments of Him addresses the common struggle to continue on with a slight tinge of guilt for remaining amongst the living and highlights the fragility of what remains after a tragedy. The three characters; Will’s grandmother, Will’s ex-girlfriend – Sarah, and Will’s boyfriend – Harry, have to interact with the simplest of things as you progress throughout the narrative. Moving furniture around an apartment with one less inhabitant, the slow and labored movement of walking down a path alone for the first time, putting together a life without the other person. Each interaction feels heavy and laden with grief, but life goes on in the most mundane of ways because it has to. As each flashback occurs, the game encourages interaction with an assortment of personal effects to progress the story, adding to the feeling that any little thing can bring up memories of the ones you love.

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The game also shows that in grief, one can feel terribly alone and isolated. We see the characters standing in places where everyone around them is faceless and anonymous, heightening that sense of solitude and withdrawal. By the end of the game, we see that this shared emotion and experience with grief is what brought three people together. All three of the most important people in Will’s life came together to discuss what they have in common: Will. In that, they find solace and compassion. They connect with the only other people in the world who understand precisely how they feel. The game gives life and a voice to the long and arduous process of grieving, and illustrates that there isn’t necessarily a right way to grieve. It encourages connecting with those around you and to talk not about what you could’ve or should’ve done, but about what you enjoyed.

About The Author

Besides loving games and talking about them to anyone who will listen, Kate enjoys playing the drums, consuming large amounts of caffeine, and hanging out with her six pet chickens. She is easily jump-scared, but passionate about games and the people who play them.

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