GRIFFITH PARK— The mobile video game “Linda & Joan Prologue: Four Months Earlier” allows players to take a virtual hike up to the Griffith Observatory. It is a free, standalone experience that lasts approximately 15-20 minutes. Part two, which is the main game, is expected in 2022.
The developer, Russell Quinn, is an artist, designer, and programmer. He works independently at False Vacuum and co-creates stories at Sudden Oak.
Russell left the United Kingdom in 2005 and has lived in Denmark, Switzerland, and rural California. Russell now lives in Los Angeles, where he worked on “Linda & Joan.” Based on a true story, it is a self-proclaimed “video game about the worst year of [Russell’s] life.”
“Linda & Joan” is a narrative game about a British family. Players switch between Russell, Linda, and Joan — son, mother, and grandmother, all interacting with each other.
In the prologue, Russell and Linda take a hike up Griffith Park. Through small talk, the two hit on a variety of topics including James Dean’s “Rebel Without a Cause,” American breakfast, and Linda’s cancer diagnosis.
In the 2022 full game, Russell loses both his mother and grandmother within a month of each other. No player can avoid that inevitable ending, but it is the behavior and choices that shape how they “deal with the impossible.”
Canyon News spoke to Russell Quinn, who explained that “Linda & Joan” was a way of processing his grief and trauma. In the era of COVID-19, “what began as a personal story… suddenly felt more relevant for people who were just living around here… People being unable to visit their family for the fear of infecting them or making them sick… It became more universal.”
When asked why he chose to title the game “Linda & Joan,” he said: “It’s really about the women in my life, the women in my family. My father died a few months before I was born… My mother raised me by herself… It was really just my maternal grandmother, my mother, and me… A generational triangle is really interesting to me, it is also only Linda and Joan who will die in the game. This is a way of honoring them and centering the game on them.”
Quinn also added that these “are things all of us go through. They’re such universal things that have affected everyone in different ways… I was dealing with it by myself, I was feeling even more isolated. Everyone should be talking about them more but they are not… I want for sure not only the emotional side of it, but what actually happens between a family member being given a terminal diagnosis to the day you finally sell their house and move on.”
“Linda & Joan Prologue: Four Months Earlier” is now available for Windows, macOS, and iOS. For further information, visit: www.lindajoan.com