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Spoilers for Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

Butch:

Ok, finished up with Frank. Could’ve done more, but had another fireball issue. It kept going up to the windmill, which was obviously very important, but then, nothing….

I tried to go down a path there, and noticed….this is something….the little “this is the end of this story” candles on the ground. I then said “Whoops….this will be the end of story path. Turn back.” But they’re there.

I got so frustrated I went on the internet, and you have to do all five save scenes before the end scene happens, and fireball just let me down on one. But find it I did, and I’m glad it was the last one I found, because it was the one where he’s on the radio and intercepts the call to drop the bombs. Then the air raid sirens went off, I went towards the windmill, on the way I got the scene with him and Jeremy all “why do you still believe, after all he’s done to you?” that ended with “See you Sunday?” which was pretty perfectly timed, saw Frank’s end, which was very moving, chilling, and generally perfect, got to Lizzie, stopped.

Some thoughts:

1) Given that the voice actors are on strike, and many on the internet are all “who cares? Who needs voice actors? Anyone can do it,” I humbly, to those people on the internet, show them this game, then tell them to fuck right off. This game needed perfect voice acting and DAMN did they get it. To sell that kind of emotion with one character who’s a collection of damn sparkles is HARD to do. Frank’s guilt, fear, anger and resignation all came through so, so well. I mean, any slip up in voice acting that whole scene goes to shit. Bravo.

2) Dude, how’d you miss all the dead cows? There they are, under blue tarps, flies all around them. Indeed, there’s even a scene in which Frank and a farmhand are talking about all the dead cows. Very dead cows. Under tarps. Feeding flies. Eww.

3) It seems every time we play a game with heavy religious imagery, we always end up asking, at some point, “is this game anti-religion?” Allow me to do that now. It sure seems the person who is most into the blind faith that the unknown is good is Dr. Collins. She is seeing truth, enlightenment, expansion of feeling and mind in this thing. She wants to communicate, which could be seen as a form of prayer. She thinks it has a message for her, and she wants to hear it. She’s, in that sense, the most religious of the lot. Now, I don’t know everything. But if she did make it stronger trying to “pray” to it (and how do any religions/Gods/creeds/whatever get stronger but for people praying to them) and it was the thing that destroyed/killed people, what does that say about religion in general? It’s a plague?

Or, conversely, maybe she’s right. Maybe it IS good, and people and their machines rushed to judgment. Our downfall was rushing in to bomb the unknown, to use our jets to stop truth in its tracks.

We shall see.

4) The Lizzie bit starts with a woman who I am guessing is Lizzie (right?) talking to a ghost…..that’s a kid. Dude. DUDE. We’re not doing THAT, are we? Cuz I don’t want to do that.

Ok, that’s a good start.

Feminina:

Oh man, Frank’s ending…yeah. The siren going off…shiver. SUCH a sense of impending doom. And still against this backdrop of perfect calm and stillness. So eerie. But you can’t help the picture of frightened people running out of their houses, stopping their cars beside the road, etc., wondering what’s going on as the planes–which we now know are NOT going to rescue anyone (although they may perhaps be doing what has to be done to save the world)–come over…

Then I followed the fireball up to the windmill and got the last scene…”I’m with you this time…”

(As for what Jeremy did, that that woman was threateningly mentioning a while back there…I THINK Jeremy gave Mary, Frank’s wife, an overdose of morphine when she was terminally ill. All the stories wind up being connected in little ways like this.)

You are SO RIGHT. The voice acting in this was amazing, and absolutely critical to the success of the game. Can you imagine if the voices sucked? it would completely ruin it. They did an incredible job–really all the voice actors did. Some have more dramatic moments than others, but I never noticed one that didn’t seem to fit or that struck a false note. Bravo there, people. Excellent casting and performances.

Also, I didn’t MISS the dead cows, I just didn’t mention them yesterday because I knew you hadn’t seen them yet. (Heaven forbid I spoil the discovery of some dead cows…)

But yeah, the cows are obviously another puzzling data point in the question of what the light is and what it does. So we can now say that it possesses people, but kills cows and birds, and we’re not sure what it does to dogs–or cats, or sheep, or whatever other animals there might normally be around that we don’t see any sign of, either alive or dead.

I speculated that maybe it was kind of practicing, trying to see what it could possess, and it turned out that cows and birds couldn’t contain it, but people could? And once it figured out people could, it didn’t bother trying sheep or pigs or whatever? My best guess.

And when you get to Lizzie…OK, look, Rachel (the girl Lizzie is talking to, if I remember correctly) is 16. She’s not a “kid.” So don’t be getting all worked up about kids just because…

Actually, I can’t even be very funny about this. This section is hard that way, I won’t lie. Rachel is in fact 16, but there are also actual kids, and there are some tough moments. Brace yourself.

Very good questions about religion. I think you’re right, it’s hard to say at this point whether the game is opposed to religion (formal religion was powerless to help or comfort Jeremy or his parishioners, and Kate’s religious-style passion may have blinded her to danger and doomed us all), or whether it’s just saying that religion is too hard for most people to handle (maybe Truth came from the stars and Kate tried to share it and the world rushed to destroy it instead–hm, that rings a bell).

The “enlightenment tried to come but the world couldn’t handle it” story is an old classic, as is “alien invaders came to destroy us!” and no doubt they’re using our familiarity with both to keep us uncertain here.

Butch:

The planes are very much NOT going to save anyone. And Frank knew, because of the radio. He was likely the only one that knew. So here’s Wendy, seeing them, expecting rescue, and Frank, seeing them, knowing full well he’s going to….well…wait…die? Because he watches the bombs fall. We don’t see him blow up. The bombs fall far away….. Maybe that was stylized? Don’t spoil.

Man, that monologue….. That was a hell of a monologue. Video game monologues are not often…what’s the word…good. That was good.

AAAAAAAAAAAA. Yes. That’s what Jeremy did. That scene there, and Jeremy saying “It’s been so long….”

Voice acting is a seriously underestimated part of games in general. Even action games. Bad voice acting is bad.

I just looked up who did Frank, and he’s rather blah actor. Lots of parts like “Mechanic” and “Doctor’s assistant.” No real roles.

Except, of course, this:

Dragon Age: Inquisition (Video Game)
Corypheus (voice)

No. Fucking. Way.

Hmm…the light sure leaves bugs alone. Butterflies, flies, even bees. I found some beehives. They were fine.

This game is in your head, man.

There ARE kids? Ah, shit. Just shit. We’ve talked on this at length, and the video game world does not hear our pleas.

But yes. Classic stories abound here. Probably why we keep asking this particular question in every game that actor is in….I mean, every game where we deal with religion.

So totally didn’t get that he was in DAI.

Ok, played a wee bit. One save point worth.

So Lizzie is Stephen’s ex, Stephen is now married to Kate.

Why a kids camp? Why oh why?

Got to the first (I think) scene between Kate and Lizzie (the “We’ll do our best” one). Kate is getting less likeable. Maybe perspective.

So…..

Fireball seems to have a little fire kid, doesn’t it? A sub ball that is following it around. This is going to be about kids, right? Great.

And the weather….I was noticing the weather was getting worse and worse. Thoughts on why?

Feminina:

Seriously? Frank was Corypheus? Interesting. I would not have guessed that.

Better work here than there. Or, I guess, a much better role here. I didn’t think Corypheus was badly voiced, he was just not that interesting. Until right at the end, when he was questioning everything…yeah, that bit could be Frank-ish. Interesting.

Oh yeah, I remember the beehives. Right, the bees were still buzzing busily about. And, as you say, the flies around the dead cows. So the light ignores insects…yet butterflies are somehow important.

I also noticed that the weather seemed to get worse. Also, is it getting later in the day? I thought maybe the weather is symbolic of our growing awareness of how not-fine things are, and the advancing daylight shows how we’re getting closer to the end. It’s highly artificial, though (more evidence against this being the ‘real world’) because Frank says “it’s a beautiful morning” there at the end as the planes go over–but the end of every story is under this glorious night sky. So if the actual end came in the morning, why the night sky? Because night is a symbolic end, even if not the literal end for these stories?

Or because the light came from the sky, and the light is what created this whole scene?

And yeah, I noticed that the fireball now has a smaller fireball that hovers near it. This is when I thought maybe there’s a different fireball for each person, and maybe the fireball IS the person. Like, is this Lizzie? Was the fireball before this Frank? I think maybe they were, although I’d have to replay it to see if the ones before looked different in any recognizable way, the way this one does. I didn’t NOTICE that there were any differences between the fireball in, say, Jeremy’s story compared to Wendy’s, but I wasn’t looking for any.

Now…I think maybe the fireball is the person, or at least the most cohesive part of the recording the light made of the person. Maybe it leads us to the save points because the fireball/person is drawn to these moments in his or her own life/memory. Anyway, I started to call this fireball Lizzie in my head, whether or not that actually makes sense.

I do also agree that Kate is pretty unsympathetic here. She’s just not very nice to Lizzie, who seems to be trying to be friendly. On the other hand, we do have some reason to think that Kate feels out of place and somewhat unwelcome, so her failure to make nice with her husband’s ex is perhaps understandable.

Butch:

Same actor. And yes, better script here. At least better role. I thought “seriously?” as well when I saw that.

Yes! He did say morning! He did!

As for the fireball…. this may be in my head, but when it gets close and you sorta hear talking, I swear the voice is different. Or o e if the many voices is louder. Maybe that’s it. But I’m not 100% sure. That would support the theory it is the person.

Feminina:

Yeah! I started noticing the voices in the fireball more here too, and thought maybe they were different.

Which supports the fireball being the person, but also raises the question: are we meant to only start noticing this now, or were we just not paying attention earlier?

There is a strong sense that the revelations of the story are carefully placed, and it’s possible that they didn’t specifically want us to connect the individual person with the individual fireball until now (although of course we could always have speculated). If true, why now? What are we to take from the fact that we understand at this point, and not before, that this fireball IS in some sense Lizzie?

I’m honestly not sure.

Butch:

I’m not sure either, but then, we couldn’t have noticed it earlier because we didn’t really have anything to compare it to.

But Frank to Lizzie is a pretty big voice shift, so maybe that was it. Wendy had a pretty deep voice.

I have a feeling this is a game we’ll be turning over in our heads long after I finish with it.

Feminina:

Yeah, I feel like all the fireballs (assuming there are more than one) look basically the same except for Lizzie’s with the little one swirling around her. Which…I had to wonder, does she have a kid?

I’m certainly still turning it over! I think it might be interesting to replay and try to catch things I might not have noticed the first time…but I probably won’t.

Other things to do. Other games to play. This one was damn good, though.

Butch:

Three kinds of art: The stuff you experience and say “that was fun,” then forget. The stuff you turn over in your head over and over and keep finding flaws and, the best kind, the stuff you turn over and over in your head and see something new and interesting every time you do.

This is certainly the best kind.

Feminina:

Yeah. This is good stuff. Makes me think I should check out The Chinese Room’s other stuff…I feel like I’ve heard of Dear Esther, maybe mixed things? I have the sense that I read a review of the story that was not happy with some of how it turned out. But I don’t remember how it turned out, meaning I could approach it a blank slate and decide for myself. And I think it said that it was interesting…AND now out on PS4!

Amnesia: a Machine for Pigs was supposed to be intense and vivid horror (of which I could well believe this group capable), but it’s not on PS. Perhaps just as well.

I should add: Dear Esther is now on PS4 for only $9.99!

Dude, I want to play The Witness and join you in discussion about it, I do, but it’s $40.

I MIGHT have to play this thing for $10 first. It’s bound to be fairly short!

Butch:

I’ve heard it was a rough version of Rapture. Not as good.

Play the Witness. Trust me. More than worth 40.

Feminina:

That would make some sense, since it came first. Maybe they were still hashing out their technique. I dunno, though…I’m tempted. A mere $10! Support this youthful studio!

I could always get them both.

This is how the Steam-like backlog begins.

Butch:

Yup.

And you’d be out fifty.

Witness will take you up to Horizon easy.

Feminina:

Hm. Internet says it’s only a couple of hours long. Which is maybe not even worth $10 because we’re so economically minded, but now I’m curious.

Dude, I’m doin’ it. I can spare the $50 (hey, that’s less than one big game), and I’ll have plenty of time to get to the Witness. Like, next week.

Butch:

The Witness is significantly longer than that.

Significantly.

But you can put it down and come back to it! Have I mentioned that? I have, haven’t I?

Feminina:

You have!

Which is why I can do this thing for two hours, then pick up the Witness until Feb. 28, then put it down until July or whenever we finish Andromeda, and then pick it up again!

Whereas if I don’t do Dear Esther now, I never will. I am determined. Don’t try to talk me out of it. I want to encourage The Chinese Room to do more things.

Oh, and on the subject of picking up things and putting them down, I guess it’s become clear based on me blatantly checking out other games that Day of the Tentacle didn’t do it for me. I tried it again, twice, and it’s moderately entertaining, but…meh. I find myself casting around for other things to do rather than wanting to get into it.

Sorry, Tentacle.

Butch:

You and Double Fine games just don’t click.

At least it was free.

July. YOU’LL finish in July. I’ll finish in December.

Feminina:

I tried! I did! And I can see what’s it’s doing, and that it could in theory be fun to work out how to get the dime out of the piece of gum and so forth, but…enh…

But yeah, I can’t feel very upset about it since it was free. I wish it well with others who will enjoy it more. Maybe YOU will enjoy it more! Play it and tell me about it!

Oh–one amusing bit was that there’s a computer in the game where you can apparently play the original game that this is a sequel to (I think). I didn’t try it, I have little patience for in-game games most of the time, but it was a fun touch, if I’d cared.

Butch:

If I cared.

Cold.

You’ll like the Witness more.

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