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Have You Played… Sagebrush?

Written by on August 25, 2020

Sagebrush is a first-person game that I suppose we would say is a walking simulator, where you explore an abandoned cult compound. John Walker (RIP in peace) played it back in 2018 and found it fascinating.

Much like Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture, exploring a place where people once lived that is now abandoned is extremely creepy. The silence in Sagebrush is very heavy and loud, and I think the low-fi 90s feel accentuates that. You’re never quite sure if that flicker you see over there is a pixelated bush or the shadow of a person.
There are some light puzzle elements in a restart-this-generator or find-this-key kind of vein, but you are mostly reading notes and unscrambling what happened in the lead up to a final and devastating mass suicide event. Sagebrush does, as John points out, cover some upsetting topics, including sexual coercion, drug dependency, and the isolation and manipulation inherent in cults like the one depicted. But, as he also notes, it is handled quite deftly.
This won’t be for everyone, but the teasing apart of strange threads, and the knitting them back together so you can see the full picture, and the hot, oppressive atmosphere, will definitely be for many.

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