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Spoilers and SO MUCH wild speculation for Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

Butch:

All right, I played a ton! Why? Because this game seems stingy on save points. More on that later.

So what did I do….I toodled a little ways away from the fireball. I kicked a soccer ball in the playground and was rewarded with faint children’s laughter. Decided not to do that again. Found a couple sitting on a porch swing discussing what seemed to be an affair. Found the surgery, and the cassette tape outside with the guy diagnosing a tumor and mentioning his blood had liquid light. More on that later. Found the rec center, watched the meeting in it. Found the basement UNDER the rec center. Watched the priest break his ankle and a dude….apparently….go into the light. Found a tractor and NOTHING HAPPENED. More on that later. Found the church. Poked around. Found the garage where they were complaining that “Crazy Sam Anderson” stole stuff. Found the bit where the guy is pointing out that “They’ll send planes all right….we’re on the front line….” finally got a save point. Stopped.

Phew.

So on save points…..

I think it saves after a “aim your controller at the light” bit. So when I do not get save points, I panic that I am missing same. Two things have contributed to this.

First, there are times that fireball, as I call it, hovers near something, swirls around me, and seems to leave a light behind for a few seconds. I spend these few seconds waving my controller around like an idiot, and then spend the next many seconds trying to get fireball to come back and sit still, and then the next lots and lots of seconds worried I missed something.

Second, you. I found a tractor. It was there, in a field, near the rugby field/rec center. It had a radio next to it, it did, talking about the magnetic pulses. But that was it. I sat there, toodling around the field, trying to get fireball’s attention, scared as hell that THIS was the tractor that had the THING that you told me not to miss. Like, fireball, you SURE you don’t want to hover here a while?

But nothing happened, so I worry I missed something.

That’s my gameplay note.

Story time!

This seems very sinister, yes? I mean, liquid light in your blood? That….could be a metaphor…but….it seems to be hurting people. And the dude who went into the light there, who “saw everybody,” etc., did not seem pleased. That was not a “I’mma goin’ to JEEEZUZ!” thing. He actually said “No…..no…..”

Setting time!

When the hell are we? It hit me last night that there is a feeling of “past” here, and not just because we’re in a small English town. The quarantine notices say “By order of the such and such act of 1982.” 1982. Now, that could be an old law, but there’s some old tech laying around. The computers. The TVs. All seem very 80s. And, as mentioned above, some of the audiologs are cassettes. Cassettes! A couple have been phone booths.

This is an interesting choice, as I’m pretty sure the world didn’t end in the 80s.

And not that we need more but….this game feels long. Not witcher long, true, but I was expecting a Gone Home sort of thing. Three, four hours or so. Now, maybe it is, but I played a good hour last night, and, even discounting the time I spent in a field fretting about a tractor, I do not feel like I did 20% of the game, or even close. Maybe 10%. I don’t know. I certainly feel like there’s more than a three hour game here.

Feminina:

So much to discuss! Love it! I’ve been longing for discussion!

Yes on save points. It does only save at the “tilt to focus on the light” parts, which I agree sometimes seems a little tough since you can wander around finding quite a bit of stuff from radios and non-focus-y light without prompting a save. I do find myself playing longer than I meant to because I need to reach a save point, or else stopping before I entirely wanted to because I’m afraid of not finding a timely save point and losing some ground. It’s a bit old-fashioned that way, isn’t it? (Which could be an intentional reference to the time period…will discuss below.)

I mean, I guess it doesn’t matter that much unless you’re worried about literally losing ground and having to walk over it again, because it’s not as if you UNlearn the information you learned by listening to a radio, even if it doesn’t save and when you reload the radio is doing its counting thing again. In theory, you could just wander around, quit whenever, and then ignore that area next time you play. But in practice, you hate to have radios making noise, or light-figures talking about stuff, acting all un-listened to, so you have to go around and listen to them all again, even if they are just repeating the same information. I did that once, and it was enough.

Also…dude. You (and I) are right to be concerned about missing things, because I missed about half of what you described. Damn. Now I’m thinking “maybe I should backtrack and check out that whole area again!” Remember I already wandered out of it early without meaning to, and went back once when I realized I hadn’t seen the end of Jeremy’s section…now I find I apparently also missed half the middle of Jeremy’s section.

So, uh…keep looking around a lot, I guess? Don’t miss what I missed! Also don’t miss what I didn’t miss because you’re so busy finding what I did miss…there’s obviously a lot there.

Story time: yes, it’s increasingly sinister. I missed the bit with the guy going into the light, but I’ve gotten other hints that it’s maybe not quite as awesome as “going into the light” might suggest. The creepiness level is high. You said you’d seen some kid’s drawings, right? Keep an eye on the kids’ drawings. I’m not sure what’s going on there, but something.

As to the time period–I also wondered about the timing. I initially assumed it was present day just because it seems modern, and it’s so immersive and I’M in the present day, so duh! But then, like you, I noticed the lack of current technology (no cell phones or tablets or laptops, everything looks decades old), and then later on there’s a note that seems to definitely place it in 1984. (Not much of a spoiler since you already saw the references to 1982, which is very close.)

As you say, we’re pretty sure the world didn’t actually end in 1984, so…is this an alternate timeline where the world DID end in 1984? Or did the world not end, but this Event happened in 1984 in our world/timeline, and then the information was successfully suppressed (the valley is quarantined, after all) so that we never heard about it? I think maybe the second one, but I’m just speculating, I don’t have any solid evidence.

Also: is placing it in 1984 a small reference to the renowned dystopian novel of that name? Like, maybe the world didn’t end, but this was a step towards that grim future, or something? Again, this is wild speculation, I have seen no specific references to a 1984-type world. But wild speculation is what we do! And if it DOES turn out that this happened in 1984 in our timeline, then the successful suppression of the truth about this Event is a BIT like the control of information and history exercised in the novel, so as I said, it could be a sly nod towards the idea that we’re moving in that direction.

And I’m sorry for the confusion, I gave the wrong impression about the tractor. I didn’t mean the tractor marked a critical point in the story, like something important actually happened there. It’s just that by the time I got to the tractor I had reached a certain point in the story and knew certain things, and I figured when you got there you would also know those things, so I could talk about my theory without spoiling.

But it sounds like you got to a different tractor entirely (the one I was talking about had a couple of light-people talking, not a radio, although, again, they were not talking about an especially mind-blowing plot point), so I apologize for not only picking a misleading landmark, but making it sound like it was a more important landmark than it was.

My bad. So, uh…remind me when you get to ANOTHER tractor, but don’t wait around for the tractor to do anything exciting?

Finally, I agree that this is longer than I kind of expected. I’ve played I think 5 evenings now, about an hour or so each (and could obviously have put in more time given that I missed stuff), and I feel as if I’m getting close to the end, but not as if it’s necessarily going to be the next time I play.

You’ve no doubt noticed the maps everywhere with the “you are here” notes…as you’d expect, the story seems to lead you around the map from the Observatory to the other side of the water, and I’m currently over on the other side, so I think I’m near the end of the map, but I don’t know how much more story is over here, or whether it ends here or moves on to finish up back at the Observatory–making that full circle would be narratively tidy, and if it does that, I could have another few hours to go.

Which is fine, I’m pretty into this game, but it is more content than I was anticipating. Not bad entertainment value for a free download!

Butch:

I’m not gonna risk not having progress saved, though. After all, the fireball seems to be an important guide, and if it thinks I didn’t hear something, it’s going to lead me back there and I don’t want to go. I want that thing to keep on trucking without hovering over things I’ve already done, because, sometimes, it seems it does the hover thing over non-save point plot items. Can’t be bothered, fireball. Sorry.

I believe one of our first posts was me bitching that games today have no quick save button. I’m still miffed that they don’t.

What did you miss? Sorry, dude! Didn’t mean to spoil.

I’m just rather dutifully following the fireball when I can see it, clicking on every door, going through the 12% that actually open, and checking out backyards.

I guess we have to….gulp….resign ourselves to missing things in this one. MAN I hate typing that.

But dude. I’m still a little confused as to which one of these ghosty things is Jeremy. The priest?

Oh, shit. More kids’ drawings? I HATE drawings!

But yeah, this guy didn’t seem pleased about going. And it happened after he did something bad. He and the priest are on some stairs, and he (not priest) is yelling and fighting with the priest about something they aren’t specific about. He pushes the priest down the stairs, and the priest breaks his ankle. He’s begging the dude for help, which the dude does not seem willing to provide, and THEN boom, goes into the light. Right after he did something most would consider sinful: assaulting a priest.

AND, when he’s going, his ghostly image becomes more defined. Not in terms of features, but the collection of sparkles much more clearly resembles the form of a person as he goes.

The other drawing I came across last night was a sort of figure 8 butterfly thing that was drawn on the map by the playground and seems to be on some doors. No idea what’s with that, but every time I see it I hear Marlene from TLOU saying “Believe in the fireflies.”

There’s no doubt that 1984 is fraught with literary symbolism. I have a hard time believing that a game that is up to its eyeballs in metaphor picked that by accident.

I suppose the Event could have been suppressed. I shall keep an eye on shit.

Well, at least I didn’t miss something at the tractor. Lord knows I spent enough time there. Lovely field, but no, this one had no light people.

See, next time you’ll give me a vitally important landmark and I’ll just truck by it because of this. Sheesh. It’s a country FARM town! There’s tractors every three feet!

As for the length, well, that sounds like a good amount of time. I do want to do Day of the Tentacle before Horizon. And I learned last night that this is NOT one to play with the kids. They got scared. I felt bad. Violence? They’re cool. Churches with odd flames (what was WITH that)? Not so much. So I must rely on after bedtime time. Slows me down.

PS+ is one of the better values in entertainment, it is. Those folks who are all “It’s a gyp because it’s all indies” need to step off.

Feminina:

Nah, don’t worry about it–mention anything you see that seems noteworthy and we can talk about it even if I didn’t see it. I probably won’t go back to it, so you’ll just be filling me in on details.

Your kids are right, though. This is way scarier than violence. Running around climbing things and jumping over cliffs and murdering dudes, even when I frequently get murdered myself? All in a day’s work. Exploring creepy-ass abandoned villages in 1984? SPOOKY.

And those non-flames in the church? So creepy. Beautiful, but creepy. Because they’re the light, right? The same swirly pattern. And yet they don’t move around or tell us anything. So does the light somehow inhabit fire the way it inhabits people? (Though not burning cigarettes, apparently, because they seem normal.) And did you note that when you FIRST go into the church, the candles are dark, but then you go in further and I looked away at something else, and when I looked back at them they had those swirls. Practically made my hair stand up.

Yeah, Jeremy is the priest. That becomes clear at some point, but just in case it was a point that you missed and aren’t going to stumble across (because as you say, it looks like we’re going to have to resign ourselves to missing some things), I’ll confirm it now. Priest = Jeremy.

And you’re right, sorry, farm country…tractors everywhere. Fine: just remind me when you get to “Frank.”

The fireball DOES seem to be a rather whimsical guide at times. It’s basically leading you to information, but then sometimes it wanders off, or just hangs out in some apparently unimportant spot. And when it stops I try desperately to tilt the controller, thinking it’s a save point, but then it zooms off again. Silly taunting fireball! Be more helpful! I’m wondering if the fireball IS Jeremy? In light/spirit form? Trying to show us these important things from his life, or what he remembers of this event?

I don’t know…do you have the sense that the fireball is aware of us, and intentionally guiding us, or is it just wandering and we happen to come along and follow it? I feel like sometimes it comes really close in a way that feels intentional, as if it wants to get our attention, but that might be just because we’re standing in the path where it was going to be going anyway.

I’m thinking I should have followed it more carefully to begin with, but at the very beginning I saw it zip away and then sort of come back and zip away again, so I figured “oh, you’ll be around, I’ll catch up to you later: right now I need to check out this random house!” and then I wandered a bit and ran into it later at a different point, so if it had a predefined path it followed, that might be how I missed half the middle of that story. I could have basically skipped ahead to Jeremy Part 9 or something. And if that IS Jeremy, he was probably so peeved that he intentionally didn’t show me the part where he broke his ankle because “you obviously don’t care anyway, jerk.”

Oh well.

The butterflies on the maps! I don’t know what those mean, but they’re everywhere! Well…not everywhere. That’s part of the weirdness. They’re on some of the maps, but not all of them, and they’re in different places on different maps. I thought maybe they represent the locations of the save points (or, in game terms, the locations where these particularly significant conversations happened), but I couldn’t be bothered to actually try to follow the map and prove or disprove this. If true, it might be useful information to know, so that we could be sure of hitting all those points, but again…couldn’t be bothered. Too immersed in the creepiness.

And why butterflies? There’s something about butterflies (three butterflies along with the people holding hands on the logo), but I don’t know what it is. Did butterflies also go to the Rapture? Do we see any butterflies while we’re walking around?

I feel like I’ve seen some, but I could be making that up.

Butch:

Dude, Jr. lost it in the church. I felt so bad! I thought this would be fine. No monsters, no nothing. But no. Bad parenting, me.

Appearance of the weird light in the church–SHIT no! I totally didn’t notice that! I was dealing with my kids freaking out. But yes, swirly. I didn’t connect it with fire, BUT did you notice the first time you see that is in the spilled paint that the ghost spills at the general store? It’s still on the ground. In that pattern.

Thank you for the confirmation that Jeremy is the priest. I thought so, but it’s hard. I’m bad with names and faces on a good day, but names without faces I’m hopeless.

As for your “helpful” “landmarks,” Ok. Frank I get. Frank.

But then, does the fireball leave when you get to Frank? Don’t answer that. I’m glad I’m not the only one trying to tilt my controller at nothing while yelling “Stand still! Get back here!”

I get the sense it is aware of us. If you wander too far too long, it comes back, over at the end of your vision, trying to get your attention. Like, “C’mon! Over here!” And it never returns to what you have already seen, so it cares about what you’ve already seen.

It’s interesting we’ve been talking on kids, because that’s how it acts. Excited, slightly random, running off saying “Come see! Come see!” without really heeding whether you are right behind it. Wait until your kids are a few years older and take them to the science museum. They’ll do what the fireball is doing. Running off, all excited, then noticing you haven’t followed, only to wave at you to follow before charging off towards the interesting thing. Or things.

I dunno….we sure do see a lot of ghost Jeremy. I’m starting to like my kid idea. After all, we haven’t seen ghost kid, though I DID hear kid laughter. Is it the fireball?

Also note: A kid in 1984 would be, oh, about our age now. Hmm.

I found a couple of butterfly drawings on houses! I didn’t check to see if they matched the map, but there they were, painted, in a rather hasty manner, on some houses, like someone was marking them. Like someone slopped paint on quickly.

The fireball did not seem interested, no ghosts, no save, nothing. Just there.

Feminina:

Yeah, the can of spilled paint in the swirly pattern!–somehow the light also got into paint…for some reason…weird, creepy stuff going on here, man.

And dude, I totally did not notice the butterflies drawn on houses! I’ll keep an eye out and see if I see any where I am. Interesting that the fireball doesn’t care about them. It also doesn’t seem to care about the maps. So there’s someone or something other than the light marking stuff, taking notes…? The light is trying to tell us one thing, and someone else is…also trying to figure it out? Maybe the butterflies are a previous version of us, like someone else who also came through here? Absolutely just throwing thoughts around here, I have seen no evidence that there’s anyone else in the valley besides the light, but…it’s got to be something.

Or maybe someone before the Event was making these notes, trying to keep track of where people had disappeared. That could also work in the story. People were definitely starting to freak out before whatever happened, happened, so someone could have started roaming the valley and marking spots at that point.

It’s a good thing we can discuss this. Maybe we’ll actually make some sense out of it. I really hope it ends well. I mean, not “ends well” in a “they all lived happily ever after” way, but in a “all the pieces come together satisfyingly” way. I’m so into this, it’ll be really disappointing if it falls apart at the end.

Butch:

The butterflies on houses are there. And not always obvious. Like, they’re not on doors, or anything like that. Just “hey, random side of random house.”

This game is prone to throwing out random thought.

Someone could have put them there before vanishing. Also, it seems that whatever happened happened over some period of time. This wasn’t a sudden event. People had time to stock up on supplies, took people a while to die, etc. Happened to people in some sort of order. People would have had plenty of time to go out and paint random cryptic graffiti, as one does in such situations.

You ARE into this, aren’t you? This is getting wedged in your head. And I do like it. It would be more wedged into my head if the Witness wasn’t taking up so much damn room.

And HEY! THAT game is about God and faith and, I think, an event…maybe….I can’t tell….. play them back to back! We’ll talk. Later.

Feminina:

It is wedged in my head! Its creepy mysteries haunt me.

When everything starts to go directly to hell any minute now, I’m totally going to be out spray painting stylized butterflies on the sides of random houses. First priority. Second is stocking up on food and batteries and of course ammunition. (SOMEONE has to think about the looters of the future!)

But yeah, it does seem to have taken some time. A couple of days, at least. I mean, the authorities had a chance to hear about it and impose a quarantine that included putting signs on everyone’s doors, and spread a whole cover story about the flu, and people had time to notice that other people were disappearing…plenty of time, then, to start wandering around leaving butterfly markings. For some reason.

Since the title is about the Rapture, we could speculate that they’re meant to be angel wings, but…the butterflies in the logo and …elsewhere…make me think this is unlikely.

On another matter, have you seen the bloodstained tissues? I keep running into bloodstained tissues everywhere. It’s almost more horrifying than blood would be in an action game, because in an action game everyone would be dead from bullets and explosions, again, all in a day’s work…but because we know this was ‘just’ nosebleeds, and yet everyone has mysteriously disappeared, it’s way more disturbing.

Butch:

Oh you’re gonna LOVE the Witness.

But Dude, we’re doing ESCAPISM here. I’m stubbornly refusing to pay attention to anything except video games and booze.

The gnome will take care of the ammo.

You think the flu was intentional cover? Or did they actually think it was some sort of flu?

Angels–Ooo! Good thought. I agree it’s likely wrong, but good thought.

I have seen the bloody tissues. And it’s extra disturbing that they seem to be where people died. Like where sick ghosties say “I’ll just lie down a little more….” So I think it’s more than nosebleeds……did you find the cassette near the doctor’s office where he says it appears to be a tumor?

Feminina:

Tumor? No! Damn it, I found nothing! Jeremy, if that fireball is you, you let me down!

Sigh. OK. I found some things. Like a tractor! I found one tractor.

Good question…for some reason I immediately assumed that they were lying about it being the flu, that they knew it was something else but didn’t want to panic people, but that might have been because I personally knew it was something else.

It’s possible that when a bunch of people presented with vague, unexplained symptoms of headache, fatigue, nosebleed, etc., it might have been honestly guessed to be flu, and the quarantine imposed in good faith. Although, really, how often have we seen quarantines imposed because of flu, if people aren’t dropping dead in the streets?

This seems to have been a “no one panic, it’s just the flu, but STAY IN YOUR HOUSE AND DO NOT ATTEMPT TO LEAVE just in case, OK?” which struck me as suspicious. Though, again, that might be because we’re playing a game and we KNOW it’s not the flu, and assume that key characters would as well.

Agreed that the placement of bloody tissues is especially alarming. It really basically says “someone was right here on this exact spot…bleeding and weary…and now they’re not.”

So much creepiness.

And dude, I could get the Witness, but I thought you wanted to do the Tentacle. I don’t want to pay for a game I might not get around to playing.

Butch:

Hmm. I sorta need to talk about the Witness or I’ll explode.

But then….funny.

Tough call.

OK: Tentacle. I bet the Witness will be free at some point.

Feminina:

Done!

If we finish Tentacle in a timely fashion, I could get the Witness later.

Butch:

Dude you better play it someday.

Don’t want to explode.

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