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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Some spoilers about a plot point in Uncharted 3, and about Drake’s name

Butch:

Well, if you ever get Lyme disease, you’ll feel better in the mornings. This might (well, it wouldn’t, cuz you’re you, but go with the prose) lead you to think that you can do something big you’ve been meaning to do, like, say, clean your garage. You might do that. But you shouldn’t do that, because you are NOT fine, and your joints will swell up, and while the knees and hips that have been bugging you for days don’t cramp your video gaming, swollen wrists do.

So I didn’t play all that much. Some. But I now have a very clean garage to go with my sparkling grout.

But play I did.

Fought dudes in the smoke bombs, which mostly was me saying “Sully! Elena! Fight that shotgun guy while I run!” Got drugged (didn’t see that coming), talked with evil Helen Mirren (nice backstory! That’s gonna come up later, I take it, maybe in the fourth game), then did the chase.

You know what’s really fucking hard when your wrists are killing you? Chase scenes. Especially very long chase scenes.

So I did that….and then turned it off. But that’s something!

I sorta saw the “turn them against each other” thing coming. Classic evil British Lady thing to do. But here’s an interesting twist that I DIDN’T see coming: Drake isn’t his real name???? I mean, isn’t the whole THING that Drake’s his ancestor? I mean, ok, you don’t share the names of every one of your ancestors, but that was a neat thing. It adds to the “Why IS he (we) doing this anyway?” Now I want answers.

Though really, evil Helen Mirren, don’t show Elena. I would’ve been all “Oh, her? Whatever.” Then I would’ve called Chloe.

Feminina:

You know me well. I would never attempt to clean the garage. I might–MIGHT–try to vacuum.

I’m glad you feel better sometimes, even if the improvement is deceptive.

And the game, yes, I would definitely be doing that instead of cleaning the garage. And the drugging! Did not really see that coming, although it follows well narratively from Charlie’s drugging earlier: we know they have this drug that makes people act really weird, and so Nathan wandering around in a blurry haze for hours (and props on how that was presented, I thought: it had the feel of being a long time without making me as a player feel I’d been doing it forever, and was getting bored) and then waking up to find he’s told the bad guys everything is internally plausible.

I did wonder about his real name if it’s not Drake, and whether it means that in fact he was just some random orphan who decided to make up a connection to someone he admired. There’s always been some question as to whether his relationship to Francis Drake is real…as has been pointed out, Sir Francis didn’t have any children (‘that we know of,’ Nathan says with a roguish grin in the first game, which could mean either that he’s acknowledging an ancestor’s illegitimate status, or that he knows he made the whole thing up).

Also, her saying that implies that Evil Helen Mirren knows a lot more about him than he thought. I guess she probably looked him up in the Secret Order files…which, since this order is as old as Sir Francis Drake, may mean that she’s telling the truth, since presumably any secret children he had would have been in there. I mean, it’s likely to be that kind of order, isn’t it?

So maybe the game is kind of saying it’s about self-invention: you are an awesome explorer descendant of an awesome explorer if you say you are! Because really, it doesn’t matter if he’s descended from Francis Drake or not: he’s still done all the stuff he’s done. That he claims this connection is more about him feeling a personal need for some kind of validation than it is anything that actually has meaning today. (Although it’s a good hook from a sales standpoint: sure, I’ll hire this guy. He’s descended from this other guy!)

Butch:

HA! Right.

Though I did do a lot of vacuuming in the garage. Hooray for Shop Vacs! See? You COULD do it!

It’s a little better every day. At least it seems so. Wish it was over, though. Still have four days of pills, so there’s that.

The hallucinating was well done. “You’re drugged” sequences in games can go lots of ways. Either they feel cheap, or they feel all sorts of weird (see the giant chickens in the phallic forests in TW2) (I’m not making that up). This worked. I think it helped that he was in an alien (to him/us as Americans) place, with people speaking a language he (we) didn’t understand. I’m also VERY glad that they didn’t do the stupid trick of making you fight in a daze. That’s always struck me as a cheap way to do the “and now you’re wimpy” part that games seem to do.

I was rather shocked he’s not really a Drake, I gotta say.

And yeah, it’s not that important…Except it DOES have meaning. I thought Drake’s look, when confronted with the truth, the look of shock that she knew and SHAME that she knew was perfect. It DOES have meaning in the present day. It’s who he IS. It’s part of his charm with the ladies, with Sully, and….wait for it…with the player. We sucked it right up. “Wow! We get to play as THIS GUY,” and here we learn that this guy is…well…just a guy.

Remember way back when when Nathan found Sir Francis? We felt bad for him, because the story he had in his head about his ancestor, this mythic figure he followed for so long, wasn’t the real thing. The story Nathan had of Francis finding treasure and all that wasn’t. He died. He was just another schmuck who died looking for El Dorado. Now we’re here doing the same thing. OUR Drake is ALSO just another guy…not a Drake at all. That look of shame on Nathan could have been meant for himself, or Helen, or the player. And that was some cool Naughty Dog shit right there.

The name of the game is, after all, Drake’s Deception. And here I was waiting for him to deceive Elena, or Chloe, or Sully. Was the target of the deception you and me all along?

Feminina:

That’s interesting…I guess I never completely believed that Nathan was descended from Sir Francis, and/or never felt it was that critical to the story. I mean, I felt it was critical to Nathan’s story about himself, but not particularly to the game plot.

To me, the accusation/revelation that Drake wasn’t originally his name felt like a very personal but–in practical terms–irrelevant dig at him, like she was just going out of her way to be nasty.

Unlike you, I guess, it didn’t really hit ME on a personal level, because I was never totally invested in Nathan’s claim about his ancestry, so it was more “ooh, way to make him feel bad, mean lady,” than “everything I believed about him/myself was a lie?!” Or whatever.

I wonder how the writers meant us to take it. Or if it was always intended to be open to interpretation.

Butch:

Really? You didn’t buy it? Because if you DON’T buy it, then he’s…well…crazy. Like, utterly, absolutely batshit. Because then the progression is a) lonely, probably messed up kid takes on a rather serious fake backstory to feel better, b) kid grows up, c) despite the fact the ADULT knows the story is fake, adult goes on three murderous adventures for the SOLE REASON of following the story.

Cuz he ISN’T in it to get rich. He ISN’T in it for archeology. He’s in it to connect with his ancestor, to complete what his ancestor couldn’t. Which is kind of nuts even if it IS his ancestor, and completely nuts if he knows Drake isn’t.

I mean, it’s one thing to know, when you play a video game, that if you tug at the strings your character is nuts. But there’s heroic nuts and there’s completely delusional nuts, and the game, in making you face Drake’s nuttiness, is indicting you. It’s making you face the fact that you enjoy pretending to be people that are nuts.

Unless the reason Drake is the way he is is because Helen is right: It’s Sully pushing him down that road. Sully took a kid who was a bit touched in the head, and molded him into a treasure hunting murder machine for his own gains. If THAT’S true, though, Drake ISN’T a super duper action hero: he’s a fairly mentally weak, vulnerable guy under the spell of a crook.

Either way, it makes you (or at least me) take a step back and say “Wait….I’ve thought this was so cool…and I’m THIS guy?”

Feminina:

Hmm…I think Francis Drake is his hero, and that he was following in his footsteps as an adventurer/explorer because he wanted to be that kind of person. And that he claimed him as an ancestor because it sounded good/would be way cool. (Although, not to spoil, his older brother in 4–about whom you already know–is also called Drake, so it must have been a joint decision, which somewhat complicates the whole thing…I mean, did they both aspire to be like Sir Francis? Did Nathan’s brother just go along with it because they were changing their name at some point and he couldn’t think of a better one? The backstory there is not made clear.)

I guess in my reading, he admired Drake and was into adventure/treasure hunting, so claiming to be related just made a good story. I see him as obsessed with these secrets and puzzles because he gets into that kind of thing, not necessarily because he thinks it’s what Francis Drake would do.

And no denying he’s kind of a sociopath, what with the casual murdering he does on an hourly basis, but that’s pretty much standard in game heroes…I think he’s no more totally nuts than the next one.

Butch:

He IS just as nuts as the next one. Which is why it’s pointing the finger at us. Our hobby is, basically, pretending to be crazy people. Usually, we can gloss over that fact, but it was pretty much impossible to ignore it during that scene.

The brother, huh? Did the get all off canon? I mean, there was a new writer for 4….

Feminina:

It could be off canon. I haven’t seen anything that directly contradicts anything we’ve learned before, but the whole adding a brother we’ve never heard of certainly indicates striking off in a new direction. And as I said, the fact that the brother is also Drake makes the idea of a kid picking his own name out of hero worship a little less straightforward.

Maybe it will be explained later.

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