Little Nightmares and Bad Assumptions

Puerto Ricans have a saying, two words that they like to repeat when they come across anyone that seems powerless, weak, vulnerable, or perhaps even unsightly: “Ay, bendito”. Said in the lilting accent of the island, it is an expression with a thousand different meanings covering the full spectrum between true pity and sarcastic hilarity. “Ay, bendito.” Poor soul. It’s what I thought when I first saw Six from Little Nightmares. Look at her, the appearance of absolute innocence and powerlessness, what a poor soul. Surely she must be a terribly long way from home. However, as the game progresses, Six is shown to be more than that. She escapes the clutches of all of her enemies with wit and agility and at some point during my playthrough I started to wonder, “What is she after? What on earth is making her delve into the depths of this terrible wretched place?”

At one point Six manages to make it out of the Maw and is greeted with the warmth of the sun and pleasant waves. I imagined she would try to sneak out of the boat and make an escape back to land. At which point Six turned right back into the  Maw, back into the jagged teeth of this dark and terrible nightmare. That was the biggest clue to what she is. Six is no lost child. She has plans, maybe not fully fledged works of wonder but some sketch of a plan. A plan held together by nothing but determination and a thin rain coat.

In the beginning I thought I had it all figured out. I was going to control Six as she escaped the Maw. Now I was a little scared of the character I controlled. Looking back things started to look even more suspicious. Why eat the rat? Didn’t we just pass a kitchen full of food? Surely she could have munched on a carrot instead.

All of this is leading up to that one moment at the end. After the mirror battle with the Lady, Six consumes her (or at least part of her) and is able to exit the Maw through the front door by using her new found magic to kill all of the monstrous guests in the hall. That’s when my eyes were fully opened to Six’s true nature. If she was a real person, this is the part when I wouldn’t  trust her anymore. Suddenly, she was the grandma from Little Red Riding Hood, a defenseless old lady turned wolf.

This is what Little Nightmares does really well, and it’s a great lesson. It is easy to be swayed by outward appearance, but if you really want to know someone ask yourself, “What does their character really say about them? What are the living proofs of who they are?” This is not a call to paranoia and a fear of everyone, just a call to keep a discerning eye out for the actual behavior of the people you are getting to know. It is good to keep an eye out for how people react to major events in their life.

At the beginning of Little Nightmares, you are ready to help Six surmount every challenge that surrounds her, but by the end it turns out we are really the ones that need protection from one little nightmare. Don’t let this happen to you with the next stranger you meet.

Until next time,

-Evin

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