I grew up in a white Christian community with a family that were not passionate Christians. My mother would occasionally decide that yes, this week we’ll be going to church. Every Sunday. For real. She’d pick a church that looked interesting (as long as it wasn’t Catholic) and we’d attend for a few weeks until she worked on a Sunday or was too tired, and the ideal would fall apart. I had the building blocks. I had the cultural osmosis. But I did not have the real experience.
I have a degree in religious studies (sort of) which has led me into a very atypical relationship with it. I love religion, the same way that someone loves science fiction movies. Every day I am a happily non-denominational agnostic, educating people on comparative religious views and why we should say “happy holidays” instead of “merry christmas”. A former roommate has politely asked me on at least one occasion to stop talking about religion. It wasn’t until much later that I understood why. From top to bottom, We Know The Devil made me think of her.
We Know The Devil is a game released on Date Nighto by Aevee Bee, Mia Schwartz, and Alec Lambert. It’s a small visual novel game with four routes for $6.66 USD, and to talk about it too much might ruin many things so I’ll try to keep it brief. In We Know The Devil, the Devil is real and summer campers are magical girls-in-training using magic radios.
Sounds cute? It isn’t, really.
To me, this game is about what you believe, especially when you’re young. If your parents have trained you – indoctrinated you – to believe the devil is real, how could you deny it? If Evil is real and you want to be good, how do you reconcile your feelings of envy or of anger? The cast is made of kids still deep under the scrutiny of their parents, not quite with the age and the freedom to decide these things for themselves.
The game is structured with the idea that knowing that in a group of three, two of you will be closer than the other. Each of the primary routes ends with one of the characters being isolated and left out, alone to think and let the dark one in. Each one is terrible and knows precisely how. As teenagers they are obsessed with themselves and covering up the right things to censor the ways they are seen. But the Devil sees it all, don’t they? God sees it all.
We Know The Devil helped me to understand where my roommate was coming from. She grew up under a devout Catholic mother in a home where Evil and the Devil were very real. Where my sympathy toward religion was based on theory and storytelling, her horror came from the same roots as Venus, Jupiter and Neptune’s fears. I can only imagine what their experiences were actually like.
Please play We Know The Devil. I am very happy with this game and it makes me excited about the direction of works made by Date Nighto. Although please, please get a proofreader. I’ll do it if I have to.
Finally I need to point out that Nagito Komaeda is in the special thanks credits. Me too, Aevee Bee. Me, too.