One particular facet of video games that has always fascinated me is games where you attempt to make someone happy. I don’t just mean rescuing the princess at the end of a campaign of violence, I’m talking specifically about games where the crux is to solve people’s problems to complete the game. Since the dawn of video games, combat has been central. If it wasn’t conflict, it was the competition of sports. Not a whole lot has changed since then, but gradually, games where you’re not shooting or kicking stuff have crept in.
There’s games like Moon: Remix RPG, Chulip, Chibi-Robo. Facets of the spread-love-not-violence philosophy even crept into games like The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask and Yakuza; games where you assist people by saving their cows from alien abduction and helping them come to terms with their kinks. Sure, violence is still front and center with those games, but at least you don’t spend all your time being a murderous jerk.
One game that belongs to this mindset flew directly into my radar while I was browsing through Steam sales, and that is Smile For Me. With a tantalizing art style and the promise of lots of joy spreading, I was willing to dive into something I had never previously even heard of. And I don’t regret it.