By Jade Entien
From the creators of “Life is Strange” comes a new game by DONTNOD Entertainment. Featuring wholesome moments, multiple interactions, and well implemented transgender representation, “Tell Me Why” tells the story of twin siblings Alyson and Tyler Ronan who have recently reunited after a family tragedy pulls them apart. With the help from resources that focus on mental health and LGBTQ+ lives, DONTNOD Entertainment and Microsoft have created a wonderful narrative series that one can say could easily beat any teen drama on Netflix today. So what makes “Tell Me Why” one of the coolest narrative games available today? Well, from the amazing 3D graphics to the interactive storyline, “Tell Me Why” can indeed be described as one of the best narrative games for Xbox today.
When playing a new game, first impressions are important and “Tell Me Why” has an inspired way of introducing itself to players in the opening scene. We first see Tyler Ronan, one of the playable characters who is a transgender male, being questioned by an officer in an interrogation room for the murder of his mother. Those moments lead to a cutscene featuring Alyson and Tyler getting ready to meet again after Tyler was sent away. Later in the story, it’s known that the twins have a “voice” they used to telepathically communicate with each other when they were younger and so even after their reunion, they continue to use their voice to communicate in certain situations.
In “Tell Me Why,” we meet multiple different characters who have different feelings towards the actions of the twins who want to find out what genuinely happened to their mother on the day of her death. There’s deceit, twists, and multiple struggles as players attempt to find the truth. Plus, there’s the tricky challenge of maintaining the relationship between Alyson and Tyler since your decisions can make or break the twin’s relationship. So tread wisely!
I feel as if “Tell Me Why” does a good job highlighting “sensitive” topics like mental health and gender identity, topics that some players (such as myself) may find themselves relating to. From Tyler being comfortable with himself and his transition and to Alyson receiving needed help after a breakdown, this game does indeed show that there is support available and that people aren’t alone in the challenges they come across. I also think this game would also be interesting to play in schools for students. Mental health and gender identity are both subjects that have been pushed off by schools for a while now and due to this, many students struggle with who they are and what help is there for them when it comes to these issues.
But what exactly isn’t so enjoyable about “Tell Me Why”? Well the game holds an experience that cannot be felt during another playthrough. Unless you’re trying to make new discoveries and find all the remaining collectables, it’s a play-it-once type of game. So for players who like to replay games with multiple endings or more player choice, “Tell Me Why” may not be for them. However the graphics are clean and crisp, the voice acting fits the characters, and the character designs are just incredible. All of which makes for a kickass game! It feels like a bit more “realistic” story-wise compared to “Life Is Strange”.
The twins reunion and subsequent interactions bring forth the questions of what exactly went on the night of their mother’s death. As a non-binary person, I would highly recommend this game to anyone who may be struggling with themselves and who use video games to space themselves from the outside world. The majority of shows on TV can only wish to hold a candle to the story of “Tell Me Why” since it’s a steady-paced mystery and coming of age kind of story that I can see people enjoying for a long time. Now pick up your controller and try it out. You won’t regret it.
Jade is a non-binary high-schooler from the Bronx and our newest New York Videogame Critics Circle contributor.