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Video Game / Known Unknowns

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Known Unknowns is a work of Interactive Fiction by Brendan Patrick Hennessy. It is set in the same universe as his previous game, Birdland, but apart from a couple of crossover characters is completely unrelated.

The game follows Nadia Nazari, the Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper at Middle Canada College, as she tries to get to the bottom of a mystery concerning ghost raccoons at the school, and deals with the fact that her former best friend (and secret crush) Summer has transferred back to her school.

It can be played here.


Known Unknowns provides examples of:

  • Blunt "Yes": When Allen asks if Nadia hates him, she can respond with this.
  • Black and Nerdy: Miles is described in the character sheet as: "Intellect: Annoyingly Large; People Skills: Nearly Adequate."
  • Canada, Eh?: The story is set in Canada, and Olivia Kwon is the one standout stereotypical Canadian. Lampshaded in her character sheet entry:
    Nationality: Canadian (Extremely)
  • Character Overlap: Bridget and Bell from Birdland have a couple of minor appearances.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Among the main characters, Nadia is bisexual, Kaz is nonbinary, Summer and Anja are lesbians, and Annette is aromantic.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Nadia and Allen have known each other forever, and have been dating for a few years.
  • Cute Witch: Annette is a member of the Reformed Coven of Canada and even wears a witch hat to school.
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  • The Dark Arts: Annette tells Nadia that practicing bone magic is highly frowned upon, because it's both disrespectful and dangerous.
    Annette: Look, Reformed Coven doesn't do it, Wiccans don't do it, Urban Forest Witches don't do it, regular Forest Witches don't do it. No one does it!
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Anja, over the course of the story, which is reflected by her character page Demeanor stat going from "Icy" to "Thawing?" to "...Nice, Actually?" to "Extremely Warm" over time.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Jayden is very persistent in his pursuit of Nadia despite her obvious disinterest.
  • Episodic Game: The game is divided into four episodes.
  • First-Name Basis: Mr. Sherbourne really wants his students to call him Marc.
  • Flashback: Each episode starts with a flashback about Nadia and Summer in the past.
  • Forced Out of the Closet: After Nadia breaks up with Allen, he outs her to the whole school.
  • Full-Name Basis: Nadia always refers to and addresses Olivia Kwon by her full name.
  • Gay Best Friend: Discussed jokingly by Kaz and Nadia after Nadia comes out to Kaz.
    Kaz: You realize you're my stereotypical gay best friend now, right?
    Nadia: I thought you were my gay best friend.
  • Half-Identical Twins: Justified with Kaz and Anja, since Kaz is trans.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: Anja is nearly 6'.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Both Nadia and Summer thought this was the situation with their respective crushes on each other, due to Allen's interference.
  • Insistent Terminology: Docteure Rouillé insists on being called Docteure not Madame.
  • Last Girl Wins: Nadia met Anja later than both Summer and Allen, and she ultimately ends up with her.
  • Love Triangle: Between Nadia, Allen, and Summer, in the past. Nadia liked Summer, who liked Nadia back, but both of them thought their feelings were unrequited, and Allen made sure it stayed that way because he liked Nadia.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Inverted; It turns out that the reason Anja doesn't like Nadia is because she thought that Nadia stopped being friends with Summer due to being homophobic, thanks to Allen's interference. As a result, Nadia ended up thinking Anja was homophobic, because from her perspective she thought Summer stopped being friends with her because Nadia had feelings for her.
  • Old Flame Fizzle: Although Nadia and Summer did both have feelings for each other in the past, they still don't end up together even once all the past misunderstandings have been cleared up, because they've both moved on by that point.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Nadia and Kaz love each other to death, but there's no romantic interest involved. Lampshaded by the drama kids when they get caught sneaking into a closed wing to investigate ghostly activity and someone suggests they might be there to hook up:
    Corset Drama: Okay if you had observed these two for more than a second you would know that their dynamic, while playful and lightly flirty at times, is entirely platonic.
  • Prophet Eyes: The ghosts Nadia sees always have completely white eyes.
  • Relationship Sabotage: When Allen found out that Summer had a crush on Nadia, he made her think that Nadia didn't reciprocate and didn't want to be friends anymore, and then made Nadia think that Summer didn't want to be friends anymore, because he liked Nadia.
  • Relationship Values: The cast page lists each character's relationship to Nadia, which can change as the story moves along.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: If not for his interference, Allen would've been this to Summer. When the truth comes out about what happened, Nadia even bluntly tells him that she liked Summer more than she liked him.
  • Speaking Like Totally Teen: Mr. Sherbourne tries to be hip with the kids, but isn't particularly successful.
  • The Stoner: Kaz.
  • Tomboy: Olivia Kwon is described as "like the textbook definition of 'rough and tumble'" and is what would happen if a high school girl developed the personality of a stereotypical hockey lad.
  • Wall of Text: During the period of the story when Nadia and Anja are watching an episode of Passiondale together on Anja's bed, the body of Anja's character page entry turns into Nadia's stream-of-consciousness internal freaking out.