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Making up for the last post with extensive spoilers on the ‘search for Shaun’ storyline

Butch:

Ok, I’m sick and haven’t played, but I slept a lot and had toast which gave me enough drive to re-read the blog and find this post. You said when we were writing, pre Institute:

Certainly another character telling me “you’re free! Turns out Shaun’s dead, no need to look for him!” wouldn’t give my character any sense of closure.
Maybe in some ways we CAN’T be free of the past. Holding too tightly to it is futile, but trying to escape it is also futile? You can’t live in the past because it’s gone, but you also can’t be free of it because it lives in you?
Maybe the whole thing is about trying to find some elusive balance, some ‘healthy’ way to live with the past. What do we do with our history?

Which is interesting on a number of levels knowing what we know now.

And that first sentence reminds me of a problem I am now having with the game as a whole: I kinda DO have closure. I know where Shaun is now. I may not like it, but I know……so why am I playing? I was invested in this to find Shaun. I kept telling everything “I’m trying to find my son.” I was all “Yeah, sure, Knight, whatever. Agent, whatever. General, you say so. Where’s Shaun?” and now I know. But for the game to end, there has to be some impetus for me to CARE about something. There’s no “get Shaun out of the Institute and talk sense into him” quest. There should be. Cuz why do I care? Indeed I said in that post:

We’re left, at the end of this quest, thinking “Why did we do that?” and sitting there with an NPC thinking “why did we do that?” Cuz it was there. And there’s no good ending. That could apply to twelve billion video game quests.

And I kinda feel like I’m there right now.

It’s sorta like Bioshock. The game had this great build up to this big “OMYGOD” moment then realized “Wait, shit, that’s not the end! What do we do?” And that’s kind of a bummer.

Feminina:

Sorry you’re sick! I didn’t play either.

I agree, we do currently have a sense of closure with regard to the search for Shaun. He’s an old man, he’s committed to the Institute, the story is told. The big story that’s left, as I see it, is that we’re now trying to figure out our own relationship to the organization to which he committed his life, and hence to the Wasteland in which we find ourselves. He makes us consider an alliance with the organization that everyone in the game until now has utterly demonized. And he offers us a nice comfortable life: a temptation perhaps worthy of the demons everyone sees in the Institute.

I think what I was saying there was that just being TOLD that we didn’t need to find him because xyz (he’s dead, he moved to Canada, he became the leader of the Institute) wouldn’t be good closure. Meeting him and talking to him wraps it up in a way that some character saying “oh yeah, your son…he did thus and such, the end” wouldn’t necessarily have.

But now, yeah, we did that. We found him. So…

How do we deal with the past when it’s spent more time in the future than we have? Do we care deeply enough about past-Shaun, whom we barely knew, to give weight to the opinions of present-Shaun, a total stranger? Is there any meaning to ‘family’ and the obligations of family, in this situation? What do we owe Shaun, and what does he owe us–if anything?

Butch:

Nice point about not really knowing Shaun. I mean, you’re right. He was just a blob. We’ve gone through so much more with the NPCs we’ve met. Learned more about them, spent more time with them (remember, game time passes fast) etc. Yes, we, as parents, are hardwired to think “My child. Period.” But, at this point, we’ve spent a tiny fraction of his life with him, and shared so much more with others. So maybe it’s not weird that I feel like “Why should I care?” when I’ve gone through hell with Cait and Nick etc.

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