Released earlier this year, A Normal Lost Phone subverted typical methods of narration, only giving players the content of a found smartphone to learn more about its owner, their identity and their life. Players could rifle through messages, take a peek at what they’d been doing on their installed apps, and find out how they live their life through the rectangular bit of technology.
*spoilers for A Normal Lost Phone follow*
But although the game was praised for being a modern take on the narrative game genre that raised the bar on video game storytelling, A Normal Lost Phone was also criticized for being far too ‘invasive’ in how players could interact and even interfere with the owner’s life. The owner of the phone, Sam, is a transgender woman, and it raised many questions about the wrong and right way to include LGBTQ characters in video games, about the agency of NPCs, and how the player themselves can relate to that.
Last month, Accidental Queens released Another Lost Phone: Laura’s Story. A spiritual successor to the first game, it focuses on another young woman, exploring her disappearance and the struggles of her life. Once again, the game pits the player as some sort of determined detective with all of the clues being held by her smartphone.
In an email, I spoke to the developer to find out what it learned from the first game and the criticism it received, as well as how the new game addresses social issues.