Back in April Before Your Eyes was brought to my attention and immediately piqued my curiosity. Upon looking into the game, I found that it was developed by Goodbye World Games, a small team of about nine people that started life as a student project called Close Your. This very unique game may have gone under your radar, but it is worth looking at.
The highly unique feature of Before Your Eyes is that you play the game with your eyes. The game, only available on PC, uses your webcam to track your face, and more specifically, your eyes. This tracking technology allows the game to see when you blink and have your eyes open and closed. You literally play the game with your eyes and control the story’s progression by looking and interacting with various objects. To engage with the items, you use your mouse to control where your character is looking, but then you blink on the items to interact. There are moments in the game where you are tasked with keeping your eyes open to see what is happening, but when you blink, the game jumps to the next scene. Time usually jumps forward every time you blink, sometimes months, or sometimes years, which adds a whole new meaning to the expression blink, and you will miss it. Inversely some moments have you close your eyes and listen, and if you open your eyes, the scene restarts or ends. This mechanic makes you really focus on what is being presented to you. See it for yourself with the trailer.
Beyond using your eyes to play, the game is a rich narrative-driven story. Without giving too much, you start on the boat of a “ferryman dog” who wants to know who you were in life. You then proceed to live through the life of Benny, starting on his first birthday. You learn about your parents, their passions, worries, and ambitions. You see Benny choose what kind of person he will grow into, who and what he loves. You make life decisions to determine where your character spends time and focus as you grow up. Sometimes there are some dark spots in your memory that are difficult to see and pass quickly. All of this is done with your eyes and focusing on people, objects, and observations. You can learn how to play piano, draw in different styles, or play video games; you decide how Benny grows up.
As of now, Before Your Eyes is only available on Steam for a reasonable price of $10. As of this writing, I had spent roughly 5 hours in the game on my first playthrough and started a second playthrough to experience some of the different outcomes. There is a lot to appreciate in this small package, from the voice acting to the music. The audio experience is exceptionally well done and crucial to the game’s overall tone (definitely wear headphones for the best experience). Throughout the game, a very emotional story presents some challenging moments that for some, could hit home with a lot of life’s nuances and struggles. The feelings and emotions that go along with growing up, first love, and dealing with loss, are all presented in a very interesting and unique way and played in a way never done before.
Before Your Eyes is a heartwarming, emotional, and wholly unique gameplay experience. If you are a fan of story-centric games that focus more on the experience and less on gameplay, you might want to check this one out.
An aspect of this game I had not considered until after playing was the accessibility options that this game presents. Many gamers struggle with a disability in one form or another, and accessibility in games has become a major push by many studios and platforms. Check out Xbox’s Adaptive Controller, which allows the use of a vast assortment of peripherals to give disabled gamers the best experience possible. Before Your Eyes may be presenting yet another new technology to help expand the roster of options for those that need it.
This one may have gone under your radar and it may not be a game for you. However, it could change the way people experience video games in the future.
Have you played Before Your Eyes? How do you feel about a game you play with your eyes?