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Story spoilers for Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

Butch:

Dude, no. No. That was not “Brace yourself, there’s some stuff,” that was “Dude, have a bottle of scotch close by because there’s some fucking devastating shit involving kids and a BABY and you’re going to be fucking devastated.”

So I finished up with Lizzie.

And I wanted to stop there and stare into space and have a drink because that was fucking devastating, but no, the game didn’t give me a save point until about a half hour of Stephen later.

But first Lizzie.

Just…..just……

I’m going with “she just put them to sleep,” because “She poisoned them” is too awful to contemplate. But the whole set up, the last scene you see being “I told them we could run the show, then I promised them a cup of tea,” sounding so innocent, I thought it was innocent, turning out to be “I’ll let them do their thing just one more time and then poison them all with tea,” was awful. And having it there, where you, or at least I, had been, and explored….I had SEEN those cups. And then, there, standing amongst them as it dawns on you what the hell happened….man…

And for a whole lot of the game, not the chapter, the whole GAME I kept wondering why Peter Pan. Cuz you see the posters right away. They’re all over. And it was AS THE FUCKING PLANES went over that it dawned on me that it was because of the “I won’t grow up” imagery, and twisting that, and just fuck. This is their Neverland, a “paradise” they’ll never leave. Telling it was at a rather cheesy resort, a sad copy of “paradise.”

Which is also pessimistically awful. If they’re here, in cheesy land, singing like they are in Neverland….where are they now? If THIS is paradise, then that wasn’t Jesus taking them anywhere, now was it?

Fuck.

“Brace yourself,” indeed.

I didn’t really WANT to start Stephen, but had to cuz save points.

I now know that the whole “You can come out now” thing with Wendy was cuz Stephen was in a bunker. Which sort of makes him, you know, kinda evil. If your mother is out there, and you have a bunker, and you know she is about to die, let her into the damn bunker.

And the whole Stephen/Lizzie/Kate dynamic is interesting, and I’m not sure how I feel about it yet.

And, did we ever learn what happened to Lizzie’s leg?

And, lastly, I am now totally convinced that the fireball IS the person in the chapter. The voices change. I was paying attention, and I’m certain. AND the mannerisms change. “Jeremy” was slow, guiding, but still went everywhere, cared for the whole town. “Wendy” was slow, and, for me anyway, refused to help. “Frank” hovered over a few things, but forgot others, like an old man. “Lizzie” slowly, carefully, always made sure I was with her, like a doting maternal figure. “Stephen” is buzzing around me, agitated, annoying. I don’t LIKE “Stephen.” I want to tell Stephen to sit down and calm down. I liked Lizzie.

So they’re different.

But that means….who is baby fireball?

Ok, I’ll stop. That’s a lot.

Feminina:

Sorry, man. It was rough, I know. But if she poisoned them, Lizzie was trying to spare them, right? Because she knew something bad was happening and/or about to happen, because Stephen called her and told her to escape the quarantine using the railroad tracks (meaning she was the one who died on the tracks and caused the train wreck). She wanted to spare everyone from the badness he warned her was coming.

But yeah, man…the baby…the parents disappearing and the “why would they leave Baby Dylan?” And that song Rachel sings to the baby at the end, about starlight…significant?

“When starlight calls us, we must go.” She knows they’re all going to die, but also…starlight. This Event is about light that came from the stars. Starlight has possessed them, and it’s calling them (to something) and they have to go. Even though they don’t want to–they’re not being called to anything they’re really looking forward to.

And then their sparkles flicker and kind of sputter, and you look around and all the sparkles where people are sitting in the room are flickering, and then…man.

In the end, it’s not clear to me if they died from poisoned tea, or if the light took them after all, but I suppose it doesn’t really matter.

About the baby fireball, I wondered if Lizzie was pregnant (we know she was sleeping with Stephen). And yeah, once I got to Stephen and his fireball was so different, I also decided that yes, the fireball IS in some sense the person whose story we’re focusing on. Whether they’re truly conscious of us or not, I’m still not sure, but you’re right, they seem to have individual characteristics that relate to the specific person, so I think it’s a safe conclusion.

We never did learn (or at least I never did–I could have missed something) what happened to Lizzie’s leg. It gets referred to a few times as an accident, and when she mentioned it to Stephen he didn’t sound guilty or anything, so I think it wasn’t a plot point like “he couldn’t handle his wife being broken so he ran off to get another one” (which would have made him even less likable than he is). It seems to be just something that happened but is not that important now, and it left a certain mark on her but doesn’t define her life or anything (like we don’t know exactly what battle gave Geralt that scar on his face: it’s just something that happened at some point).

Which is kind of cool, actually, because I feel like in a lot of stories it would have been a major plot point, but in fact, these things sometimes happen to people and then people go on about their lives dealing with the result (she can’t walk as well), but not spending every minute thinking about it. Especially not in the face of the possible–but probably not–Rapture when people are possibly getting transported bodily to heaven–but probably not.

Speaking of which, did you get the two references in this section to ash and ‘dirt’ found in the area where someone who disappeared was last seen? That made me think that the light is actually just literally burning people up, which is…well, not nearly as appealing as being transported bodily to heaven.

And as you say, the Peter Pan/Neverland/paradise connections here don’t make a very good case for religion being much help to people, or a very comforting answer to what’s happening. Thanks for nothing, Jesus!

Of course, maybe these people are all sinners (even baby Dylan: we are all born sinful, after all) and in this version of the Rapture some people are transported to heaven and others are reduced to ash/transported to hell. Again, not a very comforting answer. At least not to a sinner like me.

Butch:

Ahhhh…..that was Rachel. See, I thought it was Lizzie who died on the train track, too, so I was wondering who the hell that was with the baby. Makes sense. Rachel.

The whole “escape on the tracks” then getting her killed was pretty good. Irony. No one is guiding anyone very well. Even fireball.

Man, indeed. And then you hear the planes. And the bodies are all around you, then they aren’t.

Man.

And, well, there was an open thermos by where Rachel was singing, and there were tea cups all over the place. And if Lizzie gave them the tea, then we can assume she gave them the tea, then ran/died herself.

Man.

Pregnant? Oh, man I hope not. But it is true, she was sleeping with Stephen.

We know Lizzie’s leg wasn’t why he left. I saw them last night, having a drink in a pub, probably their first, and he says something like “You look just the same” and she says “Well, except my leg,” suggesting she hurt herself after Stephen left. And we know Frank was telling her not to use her leg as an excuse for staying/being stuck where she is, so it doesn’t sound like she’s guilting anyone.

There is a lot of that in this. Little life details. This game is good at letting us get to know people as people, and not “The sick one,” “The intense one,” etc.

I did get the ash and dirt mentions, and it suggests the opposite of heaven. Burning? Which makes some sense. All the people I’ve met thus far have a pretty significant sin, except maybe Wendy. Jeremy, if he overdosed Mary, is a killer. Frank abandoned his wife and is consumed by guilt. Lizzie and Stephen are adulterers. Wendy doesn’t fit that mold, though, or does she?

Here we go again with the “is this game against religion” thing. I sure hope (and I assuming I will) get a chance to see Kate/the Observatory. I want to see how this game treats true believers. Which I figure it will.

Not nice people, these. Or flawed people. But who ain’t?

Not a happy game. A very, very good game, yes, but not happy.

We’re due for robot dinosaurs.

Feminina:

We do need robot dinosaurs. But just wait–it’ll turn out that HZD is actually a deep, melancholy meditation on the dangers of human ambition and the catastrophic impact of climate change, or something. We’re going to be so gloomy…

Speaking of gloomy, I’m 3/4 done with Dear Esther. It’s…moody. Very pretty, you can totally see the same environment design work as Rapture, and similar sound design as well. And similar “I’m wandering around looking at stuff without knowing who I am” game design. So, yeah, as you said, it’s sort of a practice Rapture.

Not nearly as complex or interesting, I don’t think (unless the last chapter is utterly mind-blowing), but then, almost anything would suffer by the direct comparison. It’s all right, in short. I’ll finish it soon.

Butch:

Well, Horizon is rated T for Teen so I suppose any hope of rampant nudity are out the window. Sigh. I’ll make up for it when my heroic lesbian space marine goes full out Asari in MEA.

3/4?????????????? ALREADY????? Dude. DUDE. If you finish a whole damn game in less time than it takes me to do a chapter of Rapture, I’m gonna hurl.

I did hear that it was pretty much practice. Good when it came out, as it was one of the first, if not THE first “wander” stories, a la Gone Home. But everyone agreed that Rapture was what they were warming up to.

Well, finish, and then prepare to have your mind messed up by the Witness. In a good way. Mostly. Except when you wake up in the night because you SEE THE SOLUTION.

It will happen.

Feminina:

Well, Esther is a game with 4 chapters that each take about 20-30 minutes to wander through, so don’t feel bad. If anything, I should be done already.

“T for Teen”? Cancelling pre-order.

Ha, fine, I’ll still order. I suppose.

Butch:

I know. I had hopes. They said large world, like the Witcher in gameplay, and I thought “gameplay” meant “hot sorceress sex.”

Life is disappointment.