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Video Game / Twin Mirror

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Twin Mirror is an interactive game created by DONTNOD Entertainment released on December 1, 2020. It's available worldwide via PSN and physical copies except for Japan. The game was supposed to have an episodic format, but this was later discarded during development.

The story follows the adventure of Sam, a journalist returning to his hometown of Basswood to attend the funeral of his friend, Nick Waldron. Nick's daughter, Joan, pleads with Sam to find the truth behind her father's death during his stay in the town. Sam quickly gets involved in the sinister truth behind Nick's death, and the sleepy West Virginia town he inhabits.

Twin Mirror contains the following tropes:

  • Affectionate Nickname: Nick's daughter, Joan, is given the nickname "Bug". Sam in return is called "Muley."
  • Anachronism Stew: The coal mine closed in 2015 after an accident followed by an article in the local newspaper revealing they were not following safety regulations. In reality, all coal mines in West Virginia closed in 2006 after a series of accidents.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Not used directly but referenced in the colour-coding of the choices where you have to decide whether to go with Sam's gut or listen to Him. Likely done so that the colour-coding wouldn't easily track onto familiar Light Is Good/Dark Is Evil tropes, which might colour the player's opinion of one path or the other, since in Twin Mirror there aren't really many clear-cut "good or bad" choices.
  • Choice-and-Consequence System: The game keeps tracks of your choices during the game which can affect Sam's relationship with other characters. Specifically, there are choices about being nice to other people versus relentlessly following the investigation, labeled orange or blue, i.e. whether you listen to Him or yourself.
  • Cold Open: The game begins with Sam arriving at the lookout outside the town and revisiting some memories, followed by the intro.
  • Company Town: Basswood was established in this manner as it was known in West Virginia for the mining industry. Nowadays, the mine is dead.
  • A Dick in Name: Nick's informant is a drug dealer nicknamed Dickie.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Sam does this during Nick's wake. This leads to him blacking out the next morning and him not remembering how he got blood on his shirt.
  • Dying Town: Basswood has been this since the mine closed down. Without decent job opportunities, it is being slowly depopulated and it's rare that anyone would come here except for an eccentric pharmacist and the like. As one character puts it, the ones still living here are "too poor to stay, too poor to leave".
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Nick's car caught fire when crashing into a tree. It strikes Sam as odd, who starts investigating and reveals that Nick was murdered.
  • Everytown, America: Basswood is a classic example. Walkable main street with patriotic bunting and statues to local mining heroes? Check. Not a chain business in sight, only local independents? Check. Everybody knows everybody else's name, history, and shameful past they'd rather forget? Hard check.
  • Game Within a Game: While you're investigating how Sam got the blood on his shirt, you can play Pac-Man in the bar and get an achievement for it.
  • Gossipy Hens: Tara Petersdorf is this while working in town hall. Sam thinks she'd be a terrible spy or serial killer because of it... or a good one.
  • Imaginary Friend: Sam has one, who he just calls "Him". He tries to give Sam advice to be nicer to people.
  • Inner Monologue: Sam's inner monologue and conflicts are represented in "Him", a stylish, confident version of Sam only he can see.
  • Memory Palace: Sam has one he calls the Mind Palace. He loses himself in memories, often losing track of time, but it really helps him figure things out. He can lose it in order to be with "Him" forever.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The coal mine's negligence of safety regulations led to an accident that eventually caused the mine to be closed down for good.
  • No Social Skills: Sam is really bad with people, concerned more about the hard facts. While it makes him a good journalist, it also makes him lonely. The only one he gets along with is his goddaughter Joan, who has similar problems.
  • Oh, Crap!: Sam gets this when he finds his shirt in the hotel bathroom covered in blood.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: Sam wrote an expose about Basswood's coal production that caused many people to remind him that he shut down their economy and how he ran away for two years. As a memory of Anna puts it, "People have short tempers and long memories."
  • Painting the Medium: Sam's inner voice has his subtitles tinted with orange and with a ripple effect.
  • Parental Neglect: Joan's mother doesn't really pay attention to her kid. She's a drug addict on opiates.
  • Playable Epilogue: After the climax, there is a scene where Sam meets up with the other important characters and concludes the story.
  • Police Are Useless: After investigating the real cause of Nick's accident, one wonders how the police managed to overlook so many important clues.
  • Replacement Goldfish: After Anna and Sam broke up and he left town, she hooked up with his colleague and friend Nick. By the time Nick died, their relationship was in the path of being ruined in the same way as it had been with Sam.
  • Shirtless Scene: Sam wakes up the next morning following the wake not knowing where his shirt is. It's in the bathtub. Covered in Dennis's blood.
  • Tap on the Head: Subverted. Sam gets hit on the head, but he does not fall unconscious, but is stunned for just long enough that the attacker can run away, taking the evidence Sam was investigating with him
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Sam and Dennis, the IT guy at his former employer, do not get along. So much they fight in the bar. But they were willing to work together regarding...something that Nick had found out while researching an article. It was so dangerous, Dennis was killed over it.
  • Theme Naming: Many establishments in Basswood are named after coal mining.
  • Tomboy: Joan has a rather boyish look. In fact, he looks rather similar to how Sam looked at her age.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Sam wakes up to find himself hungover and shirtless in a hotel room, with his shirt being bloody. After sneaking into the bar, he finds out he got into a fight with Dennis.