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Spoilers for the opening scenes of Heavy Rain

Butch:

Well, friend came over, dinner had to be made, etc. That’s what I’m going with.

Cuz “You know, I just couldn’t bring myself to start a game filled with QTEs and soul crushing depression” sounds like I’m not dedicated to the blogging cause.

Is it really that bad?

Feminina:

It’s not that bad. Grim, but not as thoroughly soul-crushing as TLOU.

It also has some quite fun bits. Sometimes QTEs to do random stuff are entertaining! I laughed! And there’s romance!

You’ll do fine with the QTEs considering how you managed them in Beyond. I still sucked at them, but you’ll do great. You’re gonna love it.

And I think based on my recently acquired David Cage experience, I will certainly play Detroit: Become Human, whatever the hell it is. Because dude can make an engaging game.

Butch:

Well, that’s not saying much. That’s like “Well, not quite as wet as water….”

Ok. Romance. Done. And scantily clad I’ll take.

Oh now you’ve gone jinxed it.

And I wasn’t very good at them! I got my ass kicked all the time! I just succeeded at the right times.

Timing is everything.

I’d say T SHIRT but I’m sure it’s been done about a hundred times. We strive for creativity.

It’s kind of amazing how, just recently, we were on the fence about Beyond AND Detroit.

Which gets me to thinking: We’ve been on the fence before. And yet, I can’t think of a single time where we were on the fence, then got off the fence and didn’t really like what we were on the fence about. “I dunno….robot dinosaurs seem a little weird, but there’s nothing else to play…..” “Well…we got this weird game about the rapture for free…and SOME people like it…” “I dunno…I’ve heard mixed things about David Cage…”

Maybe we’re just too eager to sit on the fence. Maybe we should just charge blindly on!

That’s a better T SHIRT!!!!

Ok, got my two miles in (look at this dedication! Four days in a row! And I ate SALAD for dinner last night!), and I have to stain the front steps cuz house but that won’t take that long, and Nana’s getting Meatball at camp so I should have some time. I’m gonna play later. Which is totally not a plan.

Think positive!

Feminina:

It’s true, we usually like stuff more than we’re afraid we will. I mean, not Day of the Tentacle, in my case. But a lot of stuff. Maybe we just love everything! Maybe we should give Madden a try!

Hahahahahahaha.

I like your approach to the day. Stain the steps, idly muse about playing, no plans…it’s gonna be great.

Butch:

Ok! I got some fancy steps! I showered and everything! I really need some free time to get stuff done when it isn’t 92 degrees!

Ah well. QTEs ahoy!

[later]

Ok! Played through the opening credits! I now have so much more gamer cred cuz I have officially “pushed X to Jason.”

I’m so proud.

Thoughts!

Cool tutorial. Good way to make us get into things in a way that made sense. I’m gonna have real issues a) remembering to think (HA!) and b) doing that slow thing. The slow thing is weird. I have a feeling there’s gonna be bits where it’s “Hit that fast! Now something slow NOW FAST now slow, and HIT THAT AND FAST now slow” and I’m gonna suck.

Why’d the bird die? I don’t get why the bird died. Why’d it die? I just went up and Shawn was all “It was my fault” and I was like “Wha?”

The mall scene:

Now….here’s one of those instances where you FINALLY see a famous scene of something (Press X to Jason!) so you’re not really judging it as a scene like you would had you known nothing. You’re like “Oh! THIS scene! This famous scene!” The press X to Jason scene is like…known. Anyone who is all “HOLY SHIT” when it goes into color film when they get to Oz needs help, but when that movie came out, and went full color, the audience must’ve been “HOLY SHIT!” (or 23 skiddoo or whatever the fuck they said back then). So….

It annoyed me. One reason, I think, legitimately, one…I dunno.

Thinking AND actions at the same time are confusing. There’s X to Jason, but you think, and there’s more shit, and you stop and there’s X to Jason, and WHAT was I thinking and SHIT! That’s one reason.

And the second was this made the same mistake Beyond did a couple of times: It went on too long. Building tension is good, but you get to the point, or I got to the point, where I was like “Yeah, yeah, I get it, I lost him, these crowds are just ANNOYING can we have a cutscene now? Please?” Which isn’t tension.

Now….here’s the thing. I knew, cuz famous scene, I wasn’t going to catch up to Jason. But had that NOT been famous scene, I might have THOUGHT I could, which may well have heightened the tension. So did my annoyance come unfairly soon because I knew that I was chasing him through the mall for nothing? Or was it just too damn long? I can’t tell.

But “How does one judge a famous scene when one is seeing/reading/playing something for the first time” is a question as old as narrative art. I’m sure the 20th audience to see Romeo and Juliet were all “Ooo! This is the scene where one of them thinks the other is dead! I TOTALLY know how this ends!” and it colored their judgment of the piece as a whole.

Though….must say….I somehow managed to avoid a HUGE spoiler in famous scene. I knew something happened to Jason. That I knew. But I thought for sure he’d be kidnapped. Disappear. When I found the first kid, I was like “Ah. Ok. NOW Jason’s gone and we can get on with it.” Didn’t expect him to die before the credits.

I AVOIDED A SPOILER! HUZZAH!

Credits thoughts! (Yes, I have them.)

Cool credits. I liked the random close ups. Maybe it’s just moody Frenchness and whatever, but I liked it. But in the more general sense:

I like credits in the beginning. I don’t know why. Horizon did this. They had all the “Directed by, produced by” stuff as Rost was there talking about stuff, and it was cool. I’m not sure WHY I like this kind of opening, but I do. I’ve noticed in movies, they’ve kinda gone to the game way of doing it, like “Disney Logo…movie, credits at the end.”

Maybe nostalgia, but there’s something to be said for credits at the beginning.

Feminina:

I noticed that too–the opening credits. I also kind of liked it. It reminded me of a movie, although as you say even movies are doing that less these days. Maybe we do just like it because of nostalgia. It makes us think of settling in for the escapism of the movies, back in the day…

I avoided ALL spoilers on the famous scene! I didn’t know anything about anything! Press X to Jason means nothing to me!

I had a bad feeling about it, as I was looking for him the second time, but I didn’t actually know what was going to happen. I only remembered later that I’d heard it was about a guy searching for his missing son, so I figured Shaun was also in for it, but that was after Jason was dead.

I thought the tension was good at first, the whole fumbling-for-money-while-the-kid-wanders-away thing, and then not seeing him, and having lost him and then found him once before there was this sense of doom, like “OK, this time it’s bad.”

And then you spot him across the street, and there’s a moment of relief before you realize nope, he’s totally going to run across the street directly into the path of a car. But yeah, the chasing-him-through-the-crowd part did run a bit long. It was effective at first, creating a sense of struggling to hurry while the world refuses to cooperate, but after a while it became just annoying.

I didn’t get what was going on with the bird either. I thought maybe it was actually MY fault, even though Shaun blamed himself? Maybe I should have fed it or something? If not that, the only thing I can figure is that it’s meant as a general sort of bad omen, foreshadowing the darker tone of the rest of the story even in a moment of light and happiness. But it was hard to tell.

I’m with you on having a hard time remembering to think, though. I tried, but I’m pretty sure there were times the character was having helpful, relevant thoughts and I just didn’t even check. Ah well. One blunders onward.

Butch:

It does remind us of the movies! And there’s something mood setting about a good credits sequence. Certainly this one did that.

Dude….really? “Press X to Jason” is one of the biggest memes in the history of games. It has been parodied countless times.

Ah, well. You’ve done it. You can be proud.

Yeah, I’m getting the sense that absolutely nothing good is gonna happen in this game. Sometimes you can just tell.

At first, yes, there was an effective sense of doom. The money thing WAS good. I kept thinking there was a right answer, but I think it was gonna be in whatever you picked fourth anyway. But I did get a “Where’s the money where is it kid over there” tension, as one does when one is a parent.

It started just fine. There was just too much of it.

Especially as it wasn’t an exciting chase scene or something. It was pushing through dudes in a mall, going slow. Too much.

But yeah, that dead bird came out of nowhere, that did. I’m glad it wasn’t just me.

I did look at the bird when I came out of the room there, before the backal nudity. It was fine. I couldn’t figure out anything I should have done.

It’s a weird mechanic, pushing to think. We’re so used to characters just spouting helpful (or at least relevant) things unprompted, sometimes to a fault (A stitch in time, eh my friends?). Maybe they thought that sort of thing breaks immersion, like, here’s you doing something without YOU prompting it. I’m not sure I agree with them, if that really was their reasoning. But it sure seems they’re taking the road of “EVERYTHING your character does has to be because of player action.” Which….I dunno. That might be cool if I wasn’t so used to unprompted thinking/banter. But unprompted is so much a part of games that this just jars. It’s interesting that they abandoned that mechanic in later games, like Beyond (we must remember Heavy Rain was Quantic Dream’s first game. Beyond came after). Maybe they thought it was too weird, too.

Feminina:

I’m not terribly well-versed in the game-related memes genre. Missed that one, I’m afraid.

The internet says there’s no explanation for the bird dying, it just happened because things die (ominous music). So either we didn’t miss anything, or everyone missed something.

I assume it was the canary in the coal mine of Ethan’s perfect life, giving warning with its death of the tragedy and horror that was to come. Very symbolic.

Butch:

Well, at least we could tell that the scene was long even if you didn’t know the end.

Though….you could pretty much tell nothing good was gonna happen there, right? Even if you didn’t KNOW know.

I’m going with everyone missed something about the bird, cuz that would amuse me.

Very symbolic. And yet another reason not to get a bird.

Feminina:

Oh yeah, there was a pervasive sense of doom hanging over that whole scene, even though I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen. Nothing good was going to come of losing the kid for the second time in 10 minutes.

And seriously, if he’s this prone to wandering off, they should have known better than to bring him to the mall without one of those backpack-leashes. Kid’s as bad as a two-year-old.

Butch:

Yeah, I kinda felt that way. Like, dude, you HEARD your dad, right?

Not that that ever matters in real life.

Feminina:

Totally!

I kept feeling like “OK, I know this is going to be tragic and so I don’t want to pile on the tragedy by making sanctimonious parenting comments, but how did you not teach your kid not to stroll ALL THE WAY OUT OF THE MALL by himself by the time he’s ten?” I mean, yeah, go off around the corner or something that’s a minor annoyance, but he went down the escalator and outside the mall and across the street, apparently without ever noticing or caring that he’d left his dad half a mile back.

This is the kind of thing that would have deserved a very serious scolding, if he hadn’t wound up dead instead.

But it was all terrifyingly plausible, because kids have flea-like attentions and might well do that, and usually it all turns out OK! But sometimes everything is horrible, and this is why we flip out a little whenever we turn around and the kid isn’t right there.

Butch:

And if you know he’s gonna wander, don’t stop to buy a balloon.

Especially a two dollar balloon. I mean, shit. That’s some balloon.

Feminina:

Yeah!

So, I mean…it’s not really his fault the kid is dead, it was a horrible accident that could have happened to anyone, but also, you understand why he blames himself. And you kind of also blame him. Because he should have known better than to take his eyes off a kid this prone to disappearing.

Even though we’ve all taken our eyes off kids, and, indeed, we MUST take our eyes off our kids sometimes or risk turning them into paranoid, helpless creatures that either don’t dare to move a foot without clinging to us, or adopt desperate measures to escape our suffocating attention.

It wasn’t his fault! And yet it was his fault.

Parenting issues. Games can address them!

Butch:

We’ll see how this goes going forward. Cuz I have a feeling that things will get very much metaphorical more than “Ah yes, malls” very soon.

And grim. It did get grim.

Feminina:

It is grim. I mean, wow. The contrast between the sunny, cheerful home and the brightly lit mall in the opening scenes, and the dark, rain-soaked atmosphere of the “after” is extremely pronounced.

In case you missed it: THIS DUDE’S LIFE HAS GOTTEN SAD.

It is probably going to stay sad.

Butch:

One thing that Detroit (the game, not the city) got knocked for was rather blunt metaphors, and the use of them to bludgeon the player. So I’m kinda expecting a few bonks to the head from blunt metaphor bludgeons.