One Chance is an Adobe Flash game that was originally released in December, 2010. It uses a Second Generation style graphics scheme and the gameplay consists of walking forward and making a few simple choices.
The player is a scientist, whose team found a supposed cure for cancer; unfortunately, it happens to be a pathogen that travels through air. Now, he, and everyone else, has only six days to live unless he manages to reverse his error within that time. Moreover, the game cannot be replayed, so the title is very much literal.
To crib the author's notes:
"One Chance is a game about choices and dealing with them."
"Scientist John Pilgrim and his team have accidentally created a pathogen that is killing all living cells on Earth."
"In the last 6 remaining in-game days on Earth, the player must make choices about how to spend his last moments. Will he spend time with his family, work on a cure or go nuts?"
"You only have ONE CHANCE to save the world. One. Uno. 1. And you bastards will have to pry this game out of my cold dead hands before I put a replay feature in."
The game is not related to One Shot, but the concept behind the game is very similar. Also not to be confused with the film of the same name, a biopic of Britain's Got Talent winner Paul Potts starring James Corden.
This game provides examples of:
- Ambiguous Situation: In the Golden Ending John manages to develop a cure shortly before he would succumb to the pathogen. He also gives it to his daughter, but she is never seen conscious at any point after this, making it vague if she actually recovered as well or if she was already dead by that point.
- Anyone Can Die: Since this is about the apocalypse, this is a given. This includes all your coworkers and your wife. Your daughter and John Pilgrim himself can also die due to a few choices.
- Apocalypse How: Planetary total extinction.
- Artistic License Biology: A cure for cancer that is also apparently a virus that kills approximately everything ever, despite being engineered only for humans? Okay, maybe. It's deployed by the government before they figure out if it's safe? Uh huh. It somehow replaces the entirety of Earth's atmosphere inside six days? Yeah, seems legit.
- Ax-Crazy: Jim, Johns co-worker, becomes so mad from the pandemic that he stabs all his co-workers to death at one instance, and then tries to do the same to John. If John defends himself, Jim goes to Johns home and kills his entire family before hanging himself.
- Beard of Sorrow: While John had a beard before the effects of the pathogen occurred, it's evolved into one of these by the end.
- Betty and Veronica: There's your wife Penny, and your co-worker Annie that keeps trying to skip work with you.
- Children Are Innocent: Molly the whole game. Her asking of "Where's mummy, daddy?" after Penny's suicide is heartbreaking.
- Chekhov's Gun: The bathroom seems purely decorative and uninteresting all up until your wife commits suicide in it.
- Cure for Cancer: The problem arises when the cure starts unexpectedly destroying not just cancer cells, but all living cells.
- Downer Ending: As with all multiple-ending games, there is always one bad ending. No matter which choices you make, every ending is a downer in one way or another.
- Driven to Suicide: Several people, mostly your coworkers. And your wife, if someone else doesn't kill her first.
- Epic Fail: The scientists somehow managed to turn a cure for cancer into a virus that basically kills every living thing on the planet.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Barring some convoluted hacking, the game keeps track of your progress and only lets you play through one time: as in, no replays or restarts permitted.
- Failure Is the Only Option: Even if you succeed in making a cure in time, billions of people have died, including your wife and all your co-workers, and potentially your daughter and yourself as well.
- Final Death: You really only have one chance. Once you complete the game, even if you died, the game does everything in its power to stop you from being able to play again.
- Foreshadowing: On the first day, while the rest of the team congratulate you on your success, Jim just stands outside smoking and insults you as you walk by. This indicates hes not a very nice person. Sure enough, hes the one who murders the remainder of the team and possibly even you or your family, depending on which path you take.
- Golden Ending: Or, as close as you can get in a game like this anyway. If John works every day, he and his daughter survive, at least for the immediate future. If you try to start the game again after this, you see the park where the game ended restored to life... but no sign of them, leaving it ambiguous whether or not they starved before the virus was stopped.
- Heroic Mime: Pilgrim never talks back, even when he is directly addressed.
- Multiple Endings:
- If you manage to go to to work for all six days, you will eventually find the cure and save yourself, your daughter, and (hopefully) the entire world. Regardless, millions of people will still perish from the virus, and your wife and coworkers, no matter what you do, will have committed suicide or otherwise died at this point.
- If you miss at least one day of work and attempt to find the cure on the sixth day, you will fail to find it in time, and will subsequently die from the virus within the laboratory.
- If you miss more than one day of work to spend time with your family or with Annie, a vengeful Jim will confront you on Day Five and attack you with a knife. If you don't react in time, he'll kill you, abruptly ending the game. Likewise, if you manage to defend yourself, he'll go to your house to kill your family, and then himself.
- If you choose to go to the park on Day Six rather than go to work, you will die peacefully on a park bench.
- If you do go to work on day 6 after Jim has killed your wife and daughter you can jump off the top of the building.
- Next Sunday A.D.: The cars and environments all invoke a perfectly contemporary setting in the game, including Barack Obama making an appearance on day 2.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: John Pilgrim, the protagonist, is responsible for creating the pathogen that's wiping out all life.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Barack Obama makes a handful of appearances, informing the world of the effects of the virus.
- Permanently Missable Content: The last sentence of the author's description is not kidding around. While it's obviously possible to get around this, the save file does everything in its power to make it hard. The easiest way to circumvent it is to disallow the save file from existing in the first place by either playing the game in Private Browsing, or by opening the Flash settings with right-click, and set Local Storage in the Permissions window to 0kb.
- The Pollyanna: Molly. Despite the terrible circumstances, she never appears terribly distraught by what's going on. Though it's implied that she doesn't really understand what's happening either, due to her youth.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Spend time with your family rather than trying to find a cure, and one of your co-workers, furious that you aren't trying to fix what you caused, murders your family and commits suicide.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The whole game. Even if you make a cure everyone except you and your daughter are dead, making it unlikely you two will last much longer.
- Sleep Cute: The context definitely isn't cute, however.
- Sole Surviving Scientist: The game is all about this - you play a scientist trying to fix an accidentally lethal cure for cancer as it slowly infects everyone in the world.
- Too Dumb to Live: Your fellow scientists. They basically made a virus to get rid of cancer and apparently didn't bother testing it to make sure it was safe to use, they also kill themselves instead of, you know, helping you find a cure for the virus.
- Unending End Card: An extreme example. Not even exiting and reentering the game after reaching one of the endings will allow you to replay it again and will instead put you on the screen of where the game ended.
- Wham Episode: The first episode starts out on a pretty grim note, but it gets worse when one of your coworkers commits suicide by jumping off the building.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Jim, if you follow the route where he kills your family, makes it very clear that you engineered the virus that is killing everything, and berates you on how you did nothing to stop it.
- Wham Line: Today, every living cell on Earth will be dead. You had one chance.
- Your Days Are Numbered: The premise, though you can choose to try to fix it.