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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Happy New Year! This year is going to have to go some to be more horrifying than the last one, but I’m totally betting on it. Prove me wrong, 2018! Prove me wrong. 

Spoilers for Horizon Zero Dawn Frozen Wilds DLC. No real spoilers for Stardew Valley.

Butch:

Aaaaaaaaaand we’re back.

I did play a little over the break! Not much, though. I went back to Bergurand and got my bluegleam that I likely won’t use. Then, the reason I didn’t play much: I did the bandit camp.

That fucking thing was ENDLESS. I was expecting a nice, simple, experience, and it was wave after wave. And that last dude…..I could NOT kill the last dude. I don’t know if I was tired, or out of practice, or just not mentally into it, but that shit took FOREVER. And for what? A merchant. Sigh. Didn’t even get to hang out with Nil.

But then I went and met the dude with the figurines, which was amusing…did you see any themes there? Or was it the requisite “post apocalyptic dude misreads the past” bit that every post apocalyptic story seems to have? I found it particularly interesting that the only thing he vaguely got right was evolution, and then he was all “Nah..too far fetched.”

And now I’m on my way to check out the hunters on the glacier.

So, you know, better than nothing.

I also started fidgeting with Stardew Valley, a game the internet loves, that my kids have been loving for months. It’s a farming simulator/dating simulator/fantasy dungeon crawler (seriously), and it looked relaxing. Sometimes, you just gotta grow parsnips. I didn’t play long. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Feminina:

All right, a new thing to review! You keep us updated on that.

I spent a lot of time moving things around in the new house. But not so much time that I didn’t finish the DLC, which is actually good because now I won’t be tempted to sit and play it instead of unpacking.

So it’s gonna be great.

Also, the ending is good. Lots of information suggesting how they can continue to make several more games, which I certainly hope they do. I really like this game.

Butch:

I’m taking the fucking DAY OFF. I am out of gas. And Meatball is going to little gym with Nana, so I have a good four and a half hours here.

I’m gonna play.

Feminina:

DO IT.

Butch:

Ok I did!

Found the last figurine and gave it to the dude. Found a pigment. And wrapped up the glacier folks.

I did not expect it to be so ambiguous. They disagreed! That was cool. Very cool. Annoying fight, but very cool. I felt bad for Irkie. But then I went and did the thing where I said Mallen completed the trials, and she joined the werak, and when she said that she would keep Irkie in her songs, I felt bad for her, too. I think she did really care for Irkie, but was overly bound by tradition.

I also did something I’ve been meaning to do but keep forgetting to do: I went and read the text of all the audio data points. Did you do that? I’ll wait for you to say if you did that.

So now I’m off to challenge the dude. But first I’m off to grow some parsnips.

Feminina:

I did read the data point text. Interesting additional stuff there. You first, if you have something specific to bring up.

And yes, I thought that lost hunter quest was interestingly complicated by the disagreement of the two people involved. And in light of our previous discussion about cultural relativism and Aloy’s lack of concern with respecting ancient traditions if people’s lives were in danger, it interesting that one of them basically agreed with Aloy and was all “screw the ritual!” and the other was really set on honoring those traditions even if she died for it. (Even though in fact she did KIND OF cheat in that we came along to kill those machines for her…I guess she couldn’t force us not to kill them, so maybe technically we could be considered a lucky act of fate rather than help she intentionally sought out?)

Which, again going back to the original discussion, seems like her right if that’s what she wants to do. If you choose to refuse help and continue with this ritual, knowing it may kill you, that’s your call. I feel that fits more or less with what we know about Aloy and her attitude towards peoples’ beliefs.

“I don’t care about your traditions, so if you’re in trouble I’m going to offer to help you, but if you do care about your traditions and tell me you don’t want help, I’m not going to drag you to a fire to warm up or anything.”

I did feel that the two women genuinely cared about each other, but as you say, one was more dedicated to the werak and its customs than to love, and the other was the opposite. Classic doomed love.

As for the figurines and the guy collecting them…I agree, it was hard to tell if there was a deeper theme there, or if it’s the standard funny misinterpretation of ancient artifacts (like the guy who collected mugs in the main story). Although, in this game, misinterpreting ancient artifacts IS a theme, given that so many of the customs and rituals of the various tribes are based around old stuff. Maybe it’s just to say that misinterpretation takes many forms, both serious (entire religions) and less serious…at the moment. Because that guy was pretty dedicated, and it’s easy to imagine, a few generations from now, another religion focused on the animal holograms brought to us by MONTANA RECREATIONS! (Awesome, cheesy voiceover there.)

Enjoy those parsnips.

Butch:

See, you mock, but this game, sure, there’s farming (I think, soon, I get cauliflower!), but there’s also upgrading swords, wizards, that sort of thing, and the chance to romance 20 NPCs. Yes, parsnips, fantasy role playing, and sex.

Yup.

I do have things to say about the data point! Of course I do! Two things:

It certainly added depth to the last girls on earth. Knowing that this was the manifestation of an underlying, suffering relationship, that, despite repairing itself was still doomed made everything else make deeper sense. It also reinforced that this DLC is, very much, about busted relationships. We’ve seen a bunch of relationships that have ended/fallen apart despite the fact that the people involved WANTED them to continue. The Last Girls wanted to stay together, and didn’t because of other circumstances. Gildun obviously wanted a longer relationship with his mother, and couldn’t. He couldn’t even find the thing that he wanted as a connection to her. Irkie and Mallen wanted to stay friends/lovers (?) but didn’t because of external pulls that were too strong. And here’s the thing: none of these relationships ended because someone died. Games are chock full of widows and whatnot. It’s how they do. They also, occasionally, have the lover who doesn’t want to be found, or the kid who wants to get away from a parent or whatever. But the theme of relationships being doomed because of just life is one we rarely see, and it’s cool.

Second thing: And if you know anything here, don’t spoil. It’s interesting that Blevins keeps referring to terrorist attacks. Now, he may just be paranoid and annoying, but one of the many icky things we’ve learned from real life in the past few years is that, to the powers that be, any organized anything that challenges the powers that be is usually labeled a terrorist organization. Blevins/Faro are in power. Could it be there was a form of resistance to Faro? An organized one? We heard some mention of rebels, but there’s nothing in the main game (that I remember) that suggested there was any type of organized resistance, like, say, the Fireflies in TLOU. That would be an interesting twist in a sequel.

And now, back to today’s bloggage.

Help/fate…Well, Aloy did say “according to your rules, she passed the trial.” I thought that she had been out there more than four days, and “survive four days” was the ritual. It didn’t say anything about being rescued on the seventh day or whatever.

I’ve been agreeing with you about cultural relativism for weeks, but there were two lines that jarred in that regard: Irkie says “I’ve never challenged the rules before” (or something) and Aloy says “You get used to it.” “Challenging” is an active word. But the REAL one that made me go “hmm” was Aloy saying she liked doing things that people forbade her to do. That’s more of a “screw the man” more than “Meh, whatever, the man doesn’t concern me.” Which made me go “hmm.”

Feminina:

WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME THERE WAS ROMANCE?????

Let me at those parsnips! Maybe later. Once I’m done with unpacking and stuff. Trying to schedule Mass Saves to come do an energy assessment and give us a bunch of light bulbs. Good times.

I think Aloy’s attitude is definitely more “screw the man” than “meh, I can take or leave the man,” at least in regards to herself. She is ALL ABOUT not being bossed around by authority figures. But I feel like she’s more “meh, you go ahead and take or leave the man” than she is “hey everybody join my revolution, the man is going down!”

So I think we more or less still agree.

And we also agree that the text additions to the vocal datapoints add a lot of information and complexity to those stories. I almost wondered why they bothered with the voiceovers at all, given that you miss so much of the story if you don’t read the text, but I know you like voiceovers and appreciate the nuance that a good reading can give to a snippet of information, and I’m not opposed to voice actors getting work, so I’ll allow it.

Also…it’s true, there are a lot of relationships being broken up by external circumstances. Many doomed loves, as it were. “We wanted to be together in whatever context, but the world tore us apart.” Circumstances beyond our control intervened. But not even intentionally, like people trying to seperate the friends/lovers or the parents and children…just STUFF happens, and we’re tugged away by demands that have nothing to do with that other person.

Something about how essentially powerless we are against the indifferent forces of nature and society? Maybe these kinds of sad outcomes are part of why Aloy has so little patience for the rules of society, and is so willing to march headlong into danger in the faces of nature (storms, cliffs) and mechanical nature (machines)?

Butch:

And, a mechanic in said romance….GIFTS! Remember when were lamenting the end of the “figure out what they like and give it to them” mechanic from DAO? IT’S BACK! WITH PARSNIPS!

Light bulbs. Man, you and your free stuff. Watch it, though. They’ll be all “Really, you should spend, like, fifty grand to make this house anything close to efficient. Welp, enjoy the light bulbs!”

Fair point about Aloy not recruiting. She is a one woman revolution. Who flirts with kings. Hmm.

On voiceovers and text additions…it was interesting that if you only listened, and didn’t open the codex up to read, you got a very different impression. Wonder if that was intentional.

And I think what’s really driving Aloy is both loyalty to the memory of a person (Rost) and the desire to have a connection to someone she can’t ever have a connection with (Sobeck). We may BE powerless, but damned if Aloy is gonna accept that. We could say “Dude, look. Sobeck died 1000 years ago. Rost is dead. Let it go, man. Go back and romance Petra and forget all this,” but she wouldn’t. She’s looking for Gildun’s mirror, too, in her way.

Feminina:

That is true, one could draw a nice parallel between her overall personal quest and Gildun’s. Trying to connect with something, an idea of someone who may or may not ever have been exactly the way they appear in your mind, and who certainly isn’t now (being all dead and what-not).

Saving the world IS just her side gig.

Butch:

What? Sorry, I was showing Robin my parsnips.

Nudge, nudge.

Feminina:

ROMANCE!!!!!!!

Why has it taken me this long to realize there was a way to achieve romance via parsnips!

Later. I have boxes to deal with.

Butch:

I’m not sure it’s parsnips that’ll get me there. This game is…complicated.

I’m only on day six of year one. YEAR! So I got time. To grow…stuff. Playing as a woman. Here we go again.

But next Wednesday is the egg festival. Good flirting there, I think. If you can’t find love at the egg festival, what hope is there?

Feminina:

Man, this DOES sound exciting.

Later. I need to get moved in and get my free light bulbs.

I bet light bulbs wind up being romantic.

Butch:

It’s a very fascinating little game. And it’s like, ten bucks. It’s very story heavy, too. Weird, soothing, cheap, story driven. Kinda right up our alley, and one you can play in bursts. I mean, when do I ever play two games at once? I can devote most of my brain to Horizon and CHLOE, and still do this one.

And you don’t have that much to play. Pick it up.

Later.

Feminina:

Yeah, stop trying to distract me! But, you know, keep me updated as to how it goes with Robin.

Butch:

Pick it up when you’re all moved in. It’s cheap. You’d like it. Not like other games I’ve suggested. This one is all you. And cheap.

AFTER you’re unpacked. Go unpack.

Feminina:

OK, but tell me this: can you sprint?

Butch:

Not only can you sprint, there is an “always run” option.

Feminina:

Be still my heart!

Butch:

I’m telling ya, good game.