This game is the best example of interactive story-telling yet. Despite that superlative assessment, though, Bad Day is not for everyone.
In Bad Day you enter a dark, decrepit amusement park. As you encounter its bizarre inhabitants, a tragic tale begins to unfold. Your goal is to discover all the macabre details behind what turns out to be a complex story involving taxes, deceit, a serial killer, and red rat plague. Unfortunately, once you unravel this mystery, you probably will not come away feeling good about your accomplishment. Your goal in Bad Day is like your motivation for reading an engaging novel: to experience it, not solve it.
You begin your Bad Day as Timmy, an innocent young lad drawn to the run down amusement park near his home. As the wide-eyed youth wanders the dreary midway, he greets and gets to know its denizens. By assuming their personas, he crawls even deeper into this cesspool of life. Each character has a fascinating and tragic life story that they reveal to you as you move farther into the day. The more you learn, the more you empathize, and the more you understand why they interact the way they do.
There are virtually no adventure or role-playing game elements to Bad Day. You do need to discover a few "secret" locations and complete some tasks before more events will unfold, but playing Bad Day is basically like picking up a superbly illustrated book and flipping through the chapters. To complete the game means experiencing several Bad Days. It is impossible to learn the entire story in only one play-through: a built-in random element guarantees that as you begin each day anew, all actions and encounters change, as well as the ending.
Bad Day is a product of the fertile imaginations of The Residents, the anonymous performance artists whose first twisted CD-ROM offering, Freak Show, demonstrated an enticing potential for the medium. With Bad Day, they've come even closer to what may be the next genre of entertainment: interactive graphic novels. With graphics that perfectly match the story's mood, hauntingly upbeat music, and superbly crafted characters, the twisted design team has forged a story that is engrossing and entertaining throughout.