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So many spoilers for Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

Butch:

Played, and gave myself the worst case of “Holy shit I just KNOW I missed something” I’ve ever had. Like ever. I know I missed something.

I played until I got Wendy’s “end” and candlelight walk, then got “Frank,” did the two dudes by the tractor, did the first little save scene in Frank.

But back to Wendy.

So I picked up right after we see Wendy telling someone to go have a drink with a married guy. I walk down a hill, there’s a radio on a bench near a suitcase and a map and bloody kleenex. Ok. Good. Radio. Fireball is there. Good.

Fireball will NOT MOVE.

I become convinced that there is a save scene here. I wave my controller at fireball for AGES and AGES, get nothing. Nothing. So I go away. He doesn’t follow. I go the other way. Nope. There he sits. So I gave up. I decided to just plunge forward with the story. Found the wrecked train, found a guy talking about his shoes (they took my shoes), found Wendy in a house with a telescope (what’s with that?), eventually got to Wendy’s end, all without a glimpse of fireball. Fireball did not show itself until after Wendy’s end scene.

So I know I missed something. I KNOW it. Whether there was a save scene there I didn’t get, or I wandered by something because fireball let me down….I missed something.

But I still got a lot.

So Wendy…..what to say about Wendy?

Well, we certainly get an interesting dovetail to Jeremy’s end. That scene, with her thinking the jets are there to save her, when they really, really are not, was pretty damn perfect. The fact you could see the jets streaking across the sky, coming towards her, then passing her by, was great.

We have Jeremy, in his church, not (presumably) getting saved, and now Wendy, gazing up at the machines of man, not (presumably) getting saved.

But saved from what?

That last house there….that was odd, wasn’t it? That was Steven’s house, yes? And you’re wandering through it and she’s outside saying “Steven?” And she says “Oh Steven, what did you do?” What was she talking about? Should I know? And she says, in her end scene, “Steven you can come out now…” from where? Should I know? SHOULD I KNOW?????

And who were the people there on the bridge near the crashed tow truck? Should I know???????????

I missed something.

Feminina:

Hm. That’s weird. I honestly don’t remember if that happened to me. As you may recall, I had a rather cavalier attitude toward the fireball at first, so I didn’t pay that much attention to it early on, meaning I missed out on some Jeremy stuff and could easily have missed some Wendy stuff as well. I don’t specifically remember if it was there when I got to the end of Wendy’s chapter or not. There was a part later on where a fireball did that same kind of thing with me, just kind of hovering around the same place, and I got confused and went away…but the fireball came after me and kept trying to get me to go back to that spot. I finally determined that there WAS a ‘focus on the light’ thing there, but it was small and hard to see, hanging in the air. This also wasn’t the same as yours, because the fireball didn’t just sit there, it moved around and kind of followed me when I went away, and then went back to that spot as if to encourage me to follow, until I finally got it.

Maybe Wendy just got tired and didn’t feel like showing you anything else? She is a bit cantankerous, after all. It sounds as if you saw everything I saw, although we could certainly BOTH have missed stuff.

At any rate, that’s certainly the same ending I got for Wendy, and the same big stuff I remember from that region (wrecked train, Stephen’s house) and then the lights that led me on to Frank, so we got the same story.

And your questions…I don’t THINK you should necessarily know anything you don’t know yet. I didn’t know anything specific about the people on the bridge at this point, or anything about where Stephen should come out from, although I assumed that when she said “what did you do?” she was referring to the weirdness that’s been going on and making the guess/realization that Stephen (and/or the observatory) was somehow involved.

“What have you done? What’s happened here, I know you have something to do with it,” kind of thing.

But I didn’t at that point know anything more specific about exactly what she thought he might have done. Basically, I think you know everything I knew, whether or not that’s everything there was to know at this point.

Comparing these two endings, I agree that it’s telling that Jeremy was counting on religion, and Wendy was counting on technology, and they both seem to have been disappointed. Neither of them got what they wanted, from the sound of it.

And if you can’t count on science or religion, what can you count on? Nothing, perhaps. Or, if this is in fact the Rapture, it turns out God is too distant and inscrutable to be contained by Jeremy’s religion, or described by Wendy’s (Stephen’s) science. (Did you get the relationship between Wendy and Stephen? I can’t remember if it was clear to me at this point.)

So…now you’re in Frank’s section. That’s the tractor I was talking about! And this is the point where I turned it off for the night and said “OK, my working theory is that everyone is dead.”

With no spoilery commentary on whether or not any part of this turned out to be correct, my theory at this point was that the light somehow recorded these moments and that we’re wandering through suspended ‘bubbles’ of remembered time, but that everyone is actually dead. Some of them because they were consumed by the light (which I guessed is an alien entity that came in through the observatory telescopes), but some of them because they were just straight up dead.

I thought that the world outside the valley freaked out over the Event (people getting mysteriously sick and then disappearing, birds dying), and that the planes that came (Jeremy also mentioned planes, right?) bombed the heck out of the valley and reduced the whole place to ashes, killing everyone. That, rather than the light, is what ended Jeremy’s and Wendy’s stories: we just don’t see the details. Maybe the people whose names/stories we see, I thought, are the ones who survived until the bombing, while the people who disappeared were consumed by the light and we don’t actually focus on their information. Maybe.

I figured we don’t see any evidence of the destruction of bombs because we’re not in the real world, we’re in a recorded simulation/memory of it that the light has somehow captured (for some reason). As evidence that this is not real, there’s the way that it was broad daylight, and then night, and then daylight, and then night again, when we got to the ends and beginnings of stories–time isn’t passing normally. To be fair this could also be narrative compression, and time usually passes faster in games than in reality, but how to explain that here we’re walking along in the night, and then over the course of a few steps it’s broad day again? In an immersive, ‘realistic’ scene, this doesn’t make sense as the way time flows (usually games try for a BIT more subtlety), so I say it’s intentional, and this isn’t the real world.

There were clearly some holes in my theory, like what the light intended, what it actually did to people, and who ‘I’ as the observer am in the story, but I thought it hung together reasonably well.

Alternate theories?

Butch:

This thing just sat. Just sat. I was worried that it was going to stop following me altogether, but no, it was ready to get back to work as soon as “Frank” started. I was also worried it was a game breaking glitch that wouldn’t let me see scenes, but no. Everything worked.

Wait…..you think fireball is the person in question?

Probably it was that she suspected he was involved. And it was creepy that you heard her asking that without seeing her. At least I didn’t see her. I looked. And she stops when you get the recording of Collins saying “It’s alive…..”

By the way…..did you get Wendy referencing that Collins is not white? Interesting they threw that in. Wonder why.

Nope, Wendy did not get what she wanted any more than Jeremy did. Indeed, you could just make out the sparkly Wendy turning after the planes, silently. Looking after them, as it dawned that they are not here to help her.

It’s really kind of amazing how much they can convey with sparkles. They really come to life.

On that…..when I was without the fireball, glitch or not, I found myself missing it. Not just “I want a hint,” but “That thing was kind of my friend.” Now THAT’S weird. But it is the only companion I’ve found so far….

I thought Wendy and Stephen are mother/son. Am I wrong?

Or is that a spoiler?

And wait….why did you form your big theory there?

I certainly have come to the conclusion some people are straight up dead. We see people saying they’re “Lying down” next to where there are tissues. The train crashed because it crashed into people, a sure sign people died, and yet, no bodies. That to truck crashed, and there was a sparkly person in it: no body.

I’m not sure if Jeremy himself mentioned planes, but we did hear people talking, in scenes and on radios, about “calling in a strike” and “They’ll send planes” and all. Certainly sounded like “bomb the place to ashes.” That and the planes we see at the end of Wendy sure as hell sounded like fighter jets, and were flying in some formation. It certainly suggested bombs.

Hm…and as to it not being the real world, there’s the effect I noticed last night: when you come out of a save scene, during which the light goes away, the light doesn’t just fade back in. The sun/shadows race across the sky/ground, like they were filmed in time lapse. Not “ok, out of a dream,” but like “And now we’re going to fast forward out of night into day.”

So…..but what is the light? Aliens? My best guess is aliens, but aliens seems so hokey in a game about themes.

Dude, I’m still dealing with WHAT DID I MISS? I got nothing. I’m still at “aliens” which is what one thinks when there’s nothing to think.

I do like your work around on why we see no destruction. I mean, when I heard about planes back in Jeremy, my reaction was “Well, we know THAT didn’t happen, because here we are,” and then, when I saw the planes at the end of Wendy, I was confused. Sure looks like some planes came and did SOMETHING. So your theory about how to reconcile that makes sense.

Feminina:

I got no answer for the fireball that just sits. I didn’t see it do that, but I could have been not paying attention…or maybe it was a weird, non-game-breaking glitch on your side.

I did notice when they threw in “oh, not because of the color of her skin…” Interesting. Obviously if someone in a game says “not because of the color of her skin” you know that they’re at least very AWARE of the color of her skin, and whether or not we take Wendy’s word for it that she personally doesn’t care about this, it does emphasize that Collins is Different.

I think they’re really highlighting that she is the Outsider here, maybe trying to remind us that the downside of lovely little villages where everyone knows everyone is that sometimes everyone is not all that nice to people they DON’T know…the insularity and small-mindedness that can apply when you think of the entire important part of the world as this little place where you live. We’ve seen everything looking really beautiful, and people MOSTLY being nice to and caring for each other (though there was also that gossipy bit and the woman who told Jeremy “I know what you did,” so as usual it’s not all sweetness and light and there’s trouble in paradise), and that presents this little village as being a pretty nice place. I certainly felt that I liked it. Maybe they wanted to remind us, gently, that this kind of place is not necessarily nice to or for everyone.

Yeah, Wendy is Stephen’s mother–that’s not a spoiler, I just couldn’t remember exactly when I learned it.

Yes, right, the time-lapse/fast-forward on the shadows, like “now we’re going to day.” It looked cool, but it felt eerie, and made me really doubt the reality of the world I was in. I mean…the reality of the fake world I was playing a game in…you know what I mean.

There’s no specific reason that Frank and the tractor inspired me to form that theory–that’s just the point where I got so obsessed with it that I bothered to put it together. I got super into it (and remember, I saw Wendy’s end bit first and then realized Jeremy had one and went back to get it, so I had them very close together) and was like “I must figure this out!”

And the idea of the planes really just spooked me: even with Wendy’s apparent enthusiasm for them as rescuers, I couldn’t help expecting them to be there to wreck stuff, so I just thought “I bet they bombed the whole valley and everyone is dead.” But there’s nothing significant about that tractor that made me put it together or anything.

And honestly, my best guess was also aliens. Because of the observatory, you know. Staring at the sky, and then something coming from the sky, something that Kate says is alive. I mean…aliens, right?

Or God, who is also popularly conceived to dwell in the heavens and be made of light, but if this is God, it’s not the one people were expecting.

Butch:

Mentioning Collins’ skin IS very aware, and that in a game where we haven’t seen…you know…skin. They already emphasized her “outsiderness” by making her American. THAT they can convey, accentwise. It seemed interesting.

Or are they challenging us? I must admit, my reaction was “really? She’s black?” cuz I was picturing her as white. Why? What do they call that? Something something bias. Then, being the good liberal I am, felt bad that I assumed she was white. Challenging the player over over assuming things?

There’s always trouble in paradise. But yeah! I forgot the “I know what you did….” What did he DO?

That’s what I thought, that she was his mother. She was all looking for her son, and, at first I thought it was Howard, he of “They took my shoes,” but then she says “I’m going to find my son Steven” or something that makes it crystal clear.

The light changing so fast does make one wonder. Especially as, so often, light fades in, light fades out. This was no fade. It was intentionally artificial.

Those planes certainly suggested doom, they did.

But here’s a question: We say we didn’t see destruction, and, in terms of bombs and rubble, we didn’t. But we sure as hell saw a wrecked train, and a wrecked tow truck, and all that. Shit, walking by that train could’ve been out of TLOU. So if it’s totally remembered/artificial/simulation of a bucolic town, why leave all that?

When in doubt, aliens.

T SHIRT!

When is it ever the god you were expecting?

Does all of this get even remotely well explained, or is it a controller throwingly frustrating nothing tied up ending?

Feminina:

Hm. It’s true that we see the wrecked train and the wrecked truck. I think I figured the train had wrecked prior to the bombs falling (because it ran into someone on the track, right? according to the conversation we hear), and therefore was included in the ‘snapshot’ of the valley that the light had preserved.

I hadn’t thought of the tow truck. I guess it could have wrecked when its driver was consumed by the light, which could have also happened before the bombs. I mean, assuming my theory were correct.

Alternatively, depending on when exactly the light took its ‘save’ of the valley, the truck could have wrecked because someone was watching in horror as the bombs dropped, and hit a tree. We do also see a lot of not wrecked but ‘abandoned’ looking cars…just stopped by or in the road, doors open. Maybe people saw the planes, stopped their cars to get out and look at them because they were doing things that seemed really weird for planes over a small English valley…and then the light ‘saved’ the scene, but not the people, who would have been killed.

One thing I couldn’t work out was why all the birds were dead, but not the butterflies. You saw the kid’s drawing, right, with the dead birds but the three butterflies still flying? Remember that, because I swear you see it again. Kids are making the SAME drawing. Which is creepy and not really explained by my theory, although I guess there’s that trope of kids being especially sensitive to supernatural what-not, so maybe when they were possessed by the light they started to tap into the same consciousness or something?

Anyway, the point is, the birds are definitely dead, and butterflies definitely survive, as shown by children.

And we DO see the bodies of birds (again, this could have happened before the ‘save’ and therefore be included as part of the landscape). Why do birds just die, but people disappear? (Also, did you notice how much birdsong you hear right when people are talking about birds being dead? I was puzzled by that. The birds are both there, and not-there, and the game made a point of putting the two together. And then, I thought maybe I SAW birds, making me think that they came back…? But then I think maybe actually I was just seeing butterflies. Watch the sky for flying things and tell me if they’re birds or butterflies.)

It could be some function of the level of intelligence or brainwave activity or something. Maybe the light can possess people and they can walk around for a while, but when it tries to possess birds, they just die because their minds can’t contain it, or something. But…it liked the sound of them, so included their songs in its saved version of the valley? As we’ve discussed, sound is very important in this game, and maybe the light feels very strongly about the background sounds of the world.

As for the butterflies not dying, maybe it doesn’t even try to possess butterflies because they don’t have a proper brain, or something? They’re close enough to plants that they’re included in the saved landscape, when the other living things we see are plants.

And on that, what ABOUT other animals? You got the conversations with the people looking for their dog, right? So…what happened with that? I don’t know. I can’t remember, had they found the dog when we last heard them, or not? If not, maybe the light possesses dogs too, and makes them disappear, and that’s why they couldn’t find him.

Or maybe the dog turned up, but died in the bombing along with all the other animals we don’t see. Because no dogs, no cats, no cows in the fields. This is farm country and there should be plenty of animals, but there aren’t.

Hm.

Butch:

We do know that the train wrecked before the planes came. I’ll take that as a good guess.

Ee saw the sparkly body of said truck driver in the cab of said truck during that scene, though. Or sparkly living driver, or something.

Hell, I saw a car last night that had its flashers still flashing, which was creepy as fuck. That creeped me out. Sort of like the burning cigarette. Another indicator that it “just happened,” or, as you say, the snapshot just happened.

I did see that drawing with the dead birds, and saw a drawing with the church and the fireball in it, which makes no sense. That indicates that the fireball, or dreams or ideas of the fireball, were there BEFORE everyone went away. Kids knew about the fireball. Or one did.

I’ll look and see if there are still birds in the air. I do have better graphics, so I’ll notice.

Butterflies certainly mean something. Logo, etc. And you’re right, now that I think on it. LOTS of birdsong. I guess I didn’t notice how out of place that was, what it NOT being out of place in a bucolic English village. Plus, the birds died LONG before bombs or anything. Wendy noticed they were gone.

But Ok……how do you still have so many questions even though you finished the damn game? This makes me very nervous that everything is going to be left open and nothing will be resolved.

As for the people looking for the dog, we know the dog disappeared/ran off/something. Then, as they’re in the woods, they say “Wait….is that Harvey? HARVEY?” and they run after what they think is Harvey. We never get to know (or I MISSED SOMETHING) whether it IS Harvey, or his sparkly dog ghost, or they were wrong, or the dog went sparkly and came back or what. Just that they lost him, then thought they saw him.

Or I MISSED SOMETHING!

And that’s true! Where are the cows? We even see feed troughs!

Again………..you finished and so many questions.

Dude, the Witness is going to mess your mind UP.

In a good way.

Feminina:

It actually wrapped up pretty well, not with a bullet-pointed “here’s the solid answer to every single question you might have asked” kind of finality (which arguably wouldn’t really have matched the mood), but with enough detail that I felt satisfied I understood basically what was going on.

I’m asking a lot of questions partly because I’m trying to see if things fit into my mid-game theory of what’s happening, which remember may or may not be entirely accurate. Because I still like my theory even if it’s not the final truth!

But don’t worry, I was not angry about the ending: I thought it was pretty good. There are a few loose ends, which I look forward to discussing at great length, but overall it gave you an explanation that worked with the narrative.

I’d forgotten about that other drawing that showed the fireball at the church! Yes–another bit of evidence suggesting that kids, or at least one kid, can SEE something about what’s going on that grown-ups can’t. Which, again, is a hallowed trope, and could totally work with pretty much any explanation for what’s going on: no matter what it is, kids sense it. Spooky.

I do remember the car with its hazards still flashing. Yeah, also very spooky. As you say, this, and the burning cigarettes, and the teacups and beer bottles you see here and there in houses, suggest that people were just going about their business and then…SOMETHING happened very suddenly. And THAT, combined with the lack of bodies, is suggestive of the Rapture, which by all accounts will come upon us without warning. My theory basically throws out the idea that it’s the literal Rapture as foretold by Christian eschatology, but this shows us why it still could be.

Do watch for flying things. I tried, but it was hard to tell if they were birds or butterflies. Your awesomely powerful graphics and display will reveal the truth.

Butch:

Ok, that I’ll take. I was worried it was going to go all “Well, life is a mystery, and so’s all this,” which would’ve been icky.

No, you’re still asking questions cuz it’s IN YOUR HEAD.

I’m starting to think that I shouldn’t have suggested the Witness. Please, when you play that, remember to eat, and that you have children.

We shall discuss at great length. It’s how we do.

As for the drawing, I wonder….when the kid drew that, was it going on in the kid’s present or the kid’s future? Cuz if it was the kid’s present, then we can conclude that fireball was around when people were. At this point in where I’m at, I have no other evidence that that was the case. No one has said “Hey….you seen a fireball zooming around Yarmouth Road?” So was that kid’s drawing a vision from the future? Or was fireball something only kids could see? And, if so, why can WE see it?

Feminina:

Yeah, that would have been annoying. And easy to imagine, because it’s so much easier to start something vague and creepy than it is to come up with a satisfying explanation for the vague creepiness. Payoff on vague creepy is difficult! I recognize that, which is why I salute this game for managing it pretty well.

It is in my head. I fear the Witness.

It’s a good question about whether the kid who drew that picture had a vision of the future, or actually saw the fireball in his/her present, before being Raptured or dying in a bombing or whatever. Because you’re right, there’s no indication in any of the conversations we hear that anyone sees a fireball prior to the Event.

Except that at the very beginning Kate says that the answer is “in the light–follow the light,” implying that SHE has seen it. Maybe a kid did too. I’m not sure. I think…probably I’ll go with ‘vision of the future,’ but it’s not clear to me even having finished.

Let’s discuss this at length once you’re done.

Butch:

Usually the payoff in vague/creepy sucks. I am wary.

The Witness is So. Very. Good. But it does get in one’s head.

Well……we know SOMETHING came out of that paint can by the general store. And we know people are seeing light in their blood. So we have other light that isn’t fireball.

Feminina:

That’s true, there were manifestations of the light that people could see, so maybe the kid did see the fireball. Kids are sensitive to creepy stuff. Like this game.

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