Essays on Iji: It's All Your Fault (Spoilers)
Throughout Iji, the titular character is one of two known remaining humans who survived the alien Tasen attack. From the first level, she is already having difficulty coping with the immediate stress and horror of the situation and is hallucinating evidence of her little sister’s survival. The only crutch she has is the other known survivor, her brother Dan.
I’ll touch upon the important contrast the game places between the character of Dan and Iji, but for now let’s just focus on the siblings and what brings them together rather than what sets them apart. Throughout most of the game Dan is nothing more than a voice speaking through an intercom system as he guides you. As Iji progresses throughout the game, Dan remains her only ally as she finds her life in constant danger. At one point, it is suggested to Iji that Dan may be working against her, but Iji quickly declares it to be impossible. Dan is nothing less than a pillar that supports the remaining sanity instilled within Iji.
Near the end of the game Dan is captured and held hostage by an assassin. The assassin has had a bone to pick with Iji throughout the second half of the game and after a failed direct confrontation he tries a different approach and targets the vulnerable Dan knowing full well Iji will come to the rescue. Of course, Iji takes the bait and finds herself in the above predicament. An alien Komato has their gun on her ready to finish her off while Dan rests at the mercy of the assassin. With no other choice, Iji turns her gun on her assailant and takes him out, prompting the assassin to kill Dan.
The assassin flees and Iji is left with the dying body of her brother as he pleads for help. With the impact of watching the last person she knows die in front of her, the last shred of mental stability Iji has is broken as she falls into insanity. With no one else around, Iji begins speaking to herself as Dan, fooling herself to claim a reality that no longer exists.
This is a horrendously heartbreaking and devastating outcome for both Iji and Dan. In any other medium this would be the limit to which the emotion could reach. However here, this particular medium can accomplish more.
What if the player found out that this outcome could have been avoided? What if the player had the ability to create an alternate path through use of a non-linear storyline? In this case the player now holds themselves responsible for the tragic event. They now relate much more strongly to the pain that Iji is going through and know the weight of her actions. However, the inverse is true as well. If the possibility of avoiding the aforementioned tragedy is possible, then witnessing an aversion of the events is truly heartwarming and relieving. This second outcome is achievable.
Iji is a freeware game that can be downloaded here. http://www.remar.se/daniel/iji.php