Major spoilers for Day of the Tentacle
The kids have school today. THEY HAVE SCHOOOOOOOOL!
And Horizon Zero Dawn will be here!
So I have come to the conclusion that Sony knew exactly what it was doing making Tentacle free last month.
Figured out how to get the contract out of the safe, that you have to go back in time to sign, so you have the money to buy the diamond, that will get everything back to normal. Which all sounds really silly, right? Silly. And it was….once. In a simpler time.
But….seriously….bear with me here…..
The contract is for a reality show that the mad scientist was going to do. He’s broke because he forgot to sign the contract, which would have been a sure hit. When you get the contract out of the safe, the IRS shows up. (Again, so silly! Silly, silly IRS!) They kidnap him, wrap him up in red tape like a mummy (remember the mummy? You have to paint him red and hoist him and you don’t remember any of this do you moving on), and hide him.
Why do they do this?
Because agents of the government worry that his reality show ratings would be too good, and distract people from “Important workings of the government.”
Can you believe that? The government caring about a reality show? The government worried about a reality show’s ratings? How ABSURD! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That could NEVER happen! Oh, the hilarity!
Sony knew what it was doing, here.
I remember encountering the mummy, but I never progressed to the point that I had to do anything with it.
But thanks, I guess, Sony, for this highly topical free game I couldn’t bring myself to play.
I didn’t do nothin.’ Mr. O’s turn at the console. He’s tearing through RoTR. He commented on the difficult nature of that fight where you’re under the ice and have to come up to fight people. Everyone finds that fight challenging! So, I guess, nicely done if they meant to make a really challenging fight. I still think they just wanted to use the rebreather for something big.
Holy crap he’s THERE?
Now there’s a dude who likes to sprint.
Tentacle’s very topical. Disturbingly so. I sort of don’t like how well games predicted the future here. After all, so many games we play take place in terrible nightmare worlds.
I suppose I’ll just leave it at that.
Except, dude….Meatball was just in the kitchen going “One…One…Two….Four…..One….one…”
I said “The hell are you doing?”
He said “Just saying numbers.”
Air strike! NOW!
Off to yell at the dudes who somehow failed to complete yesterday’s air strike. I suppose they were too busy eating ice cream in this unseasonably warm weather.
I’ll probably look good as a collection of sparkles.
Better that than a fireball. Too tired to be a fireball. I’d just sit there, waiting for someone to bring me fire coffee.
Seriously. Fireballs, always zooming around, whisking hither and yon, up hill and down dale…no thanks.
Sparkles have got it made.
Hang out. Replay conversation. That I can do.
I just hope I get recorded drinking scotch, watching hockey, something like that.
With my luck, I’ll get recorded on the can.
You can increase your odds by spending a lot more time drinking scotch and watching hockey.
This is important! It’s your preparation for eternity!
Meanwhile, I should be eating ice cream pretty much nonstop.
You don’t already?
Well, I’m not eating it right now, for example. This must be remedied! What if the Pattern gets me before I can make it to the store?!
That’s why I took care of it.
And got wine.
OK: Finished Tentacle, and I hold that it was political commentary. The thing ends with you saving the day (surprise surprise), but you don’t do this by beating tentacle. You do this by getting tentacle to shoot his shrink ray at the Doctor, which causes the shrink ray to reflect back onto him, making him tiny. You then squish him.
In other words, the fact that Tentacle couldn’t resist making his enemies small so he could be powerful is what does him in.
So you save the day. But…..
At one point in the game, you have to change the American flag into a tentacle shaped wind sock, all red white and blue, because reasons. In one of those humorous “Oh, snap, they forgot to put something back” moments that we get in time travel stories, the last thing you see in the game, and, indeed what is over the whole credits, is the tentacle flag waving away. A big red, white and blue tentacle. Which, at the time, was supposed to be all “Ah, ha, so silly, now the flag is silly, so silly,” but now….
To end the story I have recounted with a messed up flag that looks like a tyrant, that can’t ever really be changed back because we can’t go back in time again….
No way this being free was a mistake.
Tentacle sounds very…telling. Ha ha, very silly…hm.
It’s all fun and games until somebody loses a democracy!
Sigh. I will totally not play it, even for the timely political implications, but it’s good that you did. Some interesting, off-our-usual-track material, and all the better to showcase our commie pinko liberal leanings and clarify our support for the homosexual agenda and what not.
[READERS ADVISORY: we are pinko liberal weirdos who support the homosexual agenda and what not. Seriously, it’s a great agenda, a lot of people are saying amazing things about it, you will not even believe how fabulous everything is going to be.]
Also, I played a little. Opened a couple of yellow boxes. (Interesting that the one I called the greenhouse is termed “the bunker” by the trophy. That’s a bunker? Huh. I guess…if you want to live on your own produce while bunkered up…OK. Practical, to be sure.)
Couldn’t remember what you told me to notice, so tried counting E’s? Was that it? It didn’t help.
All fun and games…T SHIRT!
Yeah, we did well there with a game only one of us played. Hooray, us! Now we have to find some other commie pinko liberal gay game to play. Shouldn’t be hard. HZD could be a commie plot. We’ll soon find out!
Yeah that WAS odd. But yes: Bunker.
That was some good puzzlin’. What was the other one you got?
Circles that look like….aw, never mind.
I did actually find a couple of those circles in the landscape, and made sparks go light up some lines on the nearby obelisks. So that was…hm.
The main thing it made me think right off is, OK, we definitely have a super power. It’s a weird, low-key super power, but we were talking about how we’re walking around solving puzzles which could be very realistic and the kind of thing we, as people, could actually do. We talked about how we never see our own hands or anything, so it’s not at all clear HOW we draw this line to solve puzzles, but we do, and it’s on the edge of physical realism.
And that’s all well and good, but what’s NOT on the edge of physical realism is being able to mentally create (I guess?) a dot that makes sparks fly off a disk set on top of a wall we couldn’t reach and aren’t even standing close to anyway. That’s right out in the world of “things that are not physically possible outside of a game.”
And I don’t know if we’re meant to make anything of this, really: if it’s INTENTIONAL and MEANINGFUL that this is our superpower, or if it’s meant to sort of blend in the way solving puzzles with no hands does, or the way leaping effortlessly from ledge to ledge as Lara Croft does, which is pretty equally impossible but presents itself as possible.
And, regardless, what does this superpower mean about us and who we are in this game? I’m beginning to seriously wonder if we actually have a body.
I mean, we have a shadow, we’ve talked about that, but we’ve also talked about how this game uses reflections, and shadows. I just last night noticed that spot near the keep where the branches and a piece of metal make a shadow that looks like a woman sitting in a window.
Maybe my shadow is an equally false representation of who or what I am, you know?
Also keep in mind the common term “shade” meaning “ghost.” Maybe I’m just a wandering spirit.
YES! YES! YES! FINALLY!
See….once again, you read things differently than I do.
You found this and started to be all “what does this mean about me?” Whereas I went “Wait…..these puzzles, which are EVERYWHERE [note how many appear on each obelisk…each one of these is OUT THERE] have to be looked at in just the right way…..” That means the design of this world had to be fucking PERFECT. Can you imagine how tough this was to design? To model? To make?
You can see where I’m going here.
It means we’re walking around in a game world so perfectly constructed that every detail about what you saw when you stood at a place was considered. It means we’re walking around in a game world where there are puzzles to be solved everywhere, and whoever MADE it put them just so.
And here’s the really cool thing: we both were toodling through, doing the technical line puzzles, LEARNING what we thought we OUGHT TO BE DOING, all the while running by all this stuff that was so painstakingly put there by who made the world. Stuff that was all around us that we failed to notice until (and we have this in common) someone else pointed it out (cuz Jr. saw the first one for me).
This isn’t OUR superpower. This is a marvel of game design, of WORLD design…. that in and of itself is metaphor.
And you talk on the sparkles: these puzzles, these non technical, world puzzles, are inherently different in the way that a) they sparkle and BOOM and have some beauty to them that isn’t just a black line, b) they are rarely, if ever, STRAIGHT lines, and c) they celebrate when you reach the answer (with a big whoosh and sparkles) instead of scolding you when you don’t (with a buzz and flashing red dots).
There’s a lot to unpack, there.
It’s true, these are much ‘friendlier.’ They give off a sort of cheery “yay you!” if you get them, and even if you don’t they just kind of keep sparkling at you as if to say “this isn’t it, but enjoy these twinkles while you work on it!”
Although the noise they make…that sort of raging inferno buzzing sound…I don’t know if that’s friendly. But energetic, it’s that.
Meanwhile, the other puzzles, as you say, give you annoyed noises and red lines if you get them wrong, as if to say “NO YOU ARE WRONG.”
The encouraging approach vs. the scolding approach. Are you more motivated by “nice, you can do it, it’s so pretty!” or by “NO YOU ARE WRONG.” (Or, if you’re not wrong, by a sort of “well, that’s no more than you should have done”…it doesn’t PRAISE you, certainly.)
Maybe two different people/factions were working on this island?
And yeah, I was thinking more about what it says about ME, but you’re right, it certainly says a lot about the island as well–whether or not it says that two different people/factions worked on it. (If they did, they must have worked pretty well together, since as you say, the whole thing is planned out to the minutest degree.)
That and the whole science/religion thing.
It’s an interesting take on that dynamic (if it really is that) in that religion is usually the “tougher” one. “Get it wrong and HELLFIRE” and stuff. School is where we want you to do your best, and that’s ok. Here, the “sciencey” puzzles buzz, the other ones sparkle.
And it’s all worked out to a stunning degree. All metaphor aside, once you start noticing how subtle so many of the environmental puzzles are, and how complex, it is just jaw dropping technical game design.
You’re right, it is a very interesting take on science and religion (if that’s what it is).
I suppose devotees of the material world might point out that it does actually scold you for being wrong, in the sense that a lot of times you get eaten by a lion when you don’t remember the rules of living in lion country, or whatever. Maybe they see science as being no laughing matter and are trying to convey an idea of “look, there aren’t any lions HERE, but off this island it’s life and death and you’d better get it right.”
Meanwhile, the more religious side is like “yay, sparkles! Who cares if it’s life or death when you’ve got a nice heaven lined up!”
Definitely one of your friendlier religions, not the hellfire type.
And yet one that seems to have turned everyone to stone…or something….I mean, the sparklies are very sparkly for an island so steeped in creepy.
Maybe it was the science that turned them all to stone.
They were messing around with…something…and the lasers going up to the arch, plus the yellow boxes they come out of, all speak more of science than religion.
Oh, and you asked many messages ago what the other yellow box was that I opened: it was the Shady Trees. I spent probably 15 minutes struggling fruitlessly with that the first time I saw it, and then last night went over, thought “what if–?” and boom, first try.
Going away and coming back later works wonders sometimes.
So much to unpack! In a game about lines!
Dude, that going away and coming back happened to me so very often. If only it worked on the news.