When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time alone. Being an only child, sometimes, life got lonely. Fortunately, video games, action figures, and my imagination kept me company. I’d often play with my toys and create ambitious crossovers that would never happen in a million years. Dragon Ball Z characters interacted with Pokémon while Transformers fought alongside the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Playing with these toys brought hours of enjoyment. I found solace in the presence of the toys that I assumed loved to be played with.
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit made me think about my childhood. While Chris’s family situation doesn’t mirror my life, his attitude, and outlook on life is something that I connected with. From the opening scene, we see Chris playing with action figures as they interact with his superhero persona, Captain Spirit. He’s created voices and backstories for each of the toys in his room. In fact, Chris uses everyday things as inspiration for his playtime. The water heater in the basement is actually a villain called Water Eater, and a snowman he built in the backyard is another threat to Captain Spirit and his crew of heroes.
Chris looks at everything like a child would. He aims to have fun and makes his surroundings an adventure. After eating breakfast, Chris can roam the house and backyard as he sees fit. He has a checklist of things to do which includes tasks like making Captain Spirit’s costume, finding hidden treasure, playing a phone game, defeating Water Eater, etc. He uses his Saturday for fun, as any kid would do.
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit highlights a child’s innocence. The world is often full of darkness, and this is evident in Chris’s home life. His father is an alcoholic who drinks beer for breakfast, gambles and then watches games all day, often passing out. It’s also implied that he abuses Chris, which is basically confirmed in a scene where the father yells at him after an interaction with a neighbor. Despite these tough situations, he looks at the world with a positive outlook. Creating adventures gives Chris a place of peace, and a reason to enjoy life.
One thing I’ve learned during my 28 years on this Earth is that life is not all fun and games. We go through tragedy, experience sadness, and sometimes isolation. When you’re a child, a lot of those issues don’t really exist. We wear rose-colored glasses at times and try to block out the negativity. Being a kid should be about having a great time, and enjoying your life. As you get older, work, relationships, and responsibilities get in the way. Adults often forget to unwind and spend time relaxing after a hard day’s work. Sometimes, I wish I could be a kid again, and not have a worry in the world.
Playing as Chris felt like I entered a time-capsule to a simpler time. I think of the hours spent in my room, making memories with inanimate objects that meant more to me than they’ll ever know. I loved creating worlds and characters that only mattered to me. My parents never understood why I acted the way I did as a kid, but everything I did felt important. Chris is a character I instantly connected with. From the way he acts to his outlook on life, it was a breath of fresh air to see that type of character represented in a video game.
Life Is Strange is one of my favorite video games. Max and Chloe mean a lot to me, and they helped me grow as a person. When Dontnod Entertainment said that The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit would be a prequel to Life Is Strange 2, I grew concerned. How could the series continue with a new protagonist after players became close to Max and Chloe after the first season? Fortunately, after playing through the prologue to Chris’s story, I’m confident that we’re in for something special with Life Is Strange 2.